Since I realised clumsy, but delicious maki sushi is very easy to make at home, I have been preparing it quite often. In the summer refreshing, light rolls become a staple. Even though I never put raw fish inside (I am not sure if the fish I buy and cook has the required freshness or/and quality for a raw use), I play with different ingredients and often add what I happen to find in my fridge.
A couple of days ago I craved maki sushi and, apart from the cucumber, I didn’t have any of my usual filling ingredients (I often use canned tuna, avocado and cucumber). I spotted however a tiny amount of ground beef, left over from the previous night’s hamburger dinner. This is how I had this risky idea to fry it and put into my rolls. The experiment was a big success and even the presence of cumin, dried coriander and chili didn’t spoil the surprising flavours’ harmony. I added lots of cucumber for a refreshing and crunchy touch (and also because I love cucumber). Now I know nori can resist even the weirdest pairings!
You might also like these maki sushi versions:
TIP: I always put much less rice than most people do (I tend to eat too much rice…), so if you prefer standard rolls with a normal amount of rice, cook 500g (about 17,5 oz) instead of 300g (about 10,5 oz).
When you buy nori sheets, pay attention to their transparency and colour. I was told in Japan that darker and less transparent nori means better quality (of course there are more sophisticated criteria to judge the quality once the nori is dark and opaque enough to be considered good quality, but I found the above tip a good way to discard low-quality products).
rice cooker (unless you know how to cook the rice in a “normal” pan)
maki rolling mat or a special futomaki roller
Preparation: 20 minutes (+ 1 hour for rice cooking and cooling)
Ingredients (serves 2 – 3):
5 nori seaweed sheets
300g (about 10,5 oz) sushi rice (or 500g/about 17,5 oz if you prefer “standard” rolls)
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
100 g ground beef
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 big cucumber
grilled white sesame seeds
a bowl of rice vinegar
Cook the rice in the rice cooker (or in a pan if you know how to do it!). Put the hot rice into a bowl and add the rice mixture ingredients. Stir well and leave to cool down.
In the meantime heat some oil in a frying pan, add the ground beef, the coriander, the cumin, the chili and some soy sauce. Fry until the beef is well cooked. Put aside and let it cool down.
Cut the cucumber into thin, long pieces.
When the rice has cooled down to the room temperature (it can’t be completely cold! otherwise it won’t be sticky enough), put a nori sheet vertically on the rolling mat, shiny side down.
With fingers dipped in a bowl of rice vinegar spread 1/5th of the rice evenly, leaving a 1 cm gap on the top, far edge.
Arrange the beef and the cucumber on the rice, in a horizontal line, close to the bottom edge.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Roll the maki starting from the bottom edge, gently pressing after each turn.
Moist with rice vinegar the upper edge before doing the last turn.
Press gently the roll and put it aside.
In order to obtain more or less similarly sized pieces, cut the roll first in two parts, then put them in a row and cut them in two parts, etc.
(It is easier to cut these rolls with a moist knife blade.)
Arrange them on a plate and serve with wasabi, soy sauce and marinated ginger.