Tag Archives: sushi

Homemade Sushi

24 Feb

Thank goodness for the warm(er) weather this weekend. I dodged puddles Saturday and Sunday, going for long walks around the neighborhood. It felt so good to be outside again. I was also inspired to put together a few food projects this weekend, including sushi.

My mom taught me how to make sushi when I was in middle school. My mom, sister, and I loved making it together – we made all types of veggie rolls, Philadelphia rolls (smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber), and others. Yes, it takes a while, and no, it’s not the same as having a trained-for-years sushi chef carefully carve sashimi, but it’s still a healthy, delicious, and fun-to-make treat.

When I was an RA in college, I hosted a sushi party for my residents. I prepared all of the ingredients, set them out buffet-style, and then everyone made sushi. It was a lot of fun and I have since done the same thing with some friends in Boston. I wrote a quick post about it years ago with one blurry picture, so when I made sushi again this weekend, I thought I’d post an update with a little more information.

homemade sushi

Making Sushi: Ingredients

  • sushi rice (see instructions below)
  • nori
  • blanched asparagus
  • julienned carrots, cucumber, red pepper
  • thinly sliced avocado
  • wasabi (I buy the all-natural powdered kind and add water)
  • pickled ginger (I should make this sometime, I’ve never tried though!)
  • other items: cutting board, bamboo sushi roller, plastic wrap to cover sushi roller, sharp knife

ingredients for sushi

Sushi Rice

  • 2 cup sushi rice (short grain)
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch salt
  • sugar (about a tablespoon)
  • rice wine vinegar (about 2 tablespoons)

I love to use a rice cooker to make sushi rice. Simply rinse the rice in water until the water runs clear, put in the rice maker with the water (1 cup of water for every cup of rice) and salt, and turn on. When the rice is cooked (i.e. when the rice cooker lets you know it’s done – so easy), transfer to a large bowl, and carefully fold over the rice with a rice paddle or large spoon so it begins to cool. As you are turning the rice, add about half a tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. Keep turning over the rice, and then add the same amount of sugar and vinegar again. If you’re making a larger batch of rice, just use a bit more. I never measure them out and the rice always tastes great.

Put everything together!

1. With a sheet of nori on the plastic wrap, sushi roller, and cutting board (see image above), add about a 1/4 cup of rice to the lower third of the nori. Lightly press the rice down – I like to use the paddle and my fingers with a little water on them. Add a few pieces of vegetables (5-8 slices, depending on what fits) on top of the rice. Then, roll it up! Start at the bottom, rolling tightly. Wet the top edge of the nori with a little water. When you have a tightly wrapped roll, use a sharp knife to cut the roll into pieces.

To go with the sushi, I made miso soup with seaweed, tofu, and shiitake mushrooms (my go-to cold weather soup lately), and green tea.


Unwanted at Osushi

27 Nov

I have a collection of bad restaurant experiences. Every place is entitled to a bad day and I’ll usually try the location again, but other times a visit is so disastrous that I want to forget I ever consumed the food. I rarely write about either of those on EatingPlaces. But sometimes my dining experience is in a different category. Sometimes the level of ridiculousness makes me laugh. So this I’ll share.

I met up with a friend for lunch at Osushi in Copley Place earlier this month for lunch. The interior is trendy, but comfortable, and the Japanese/sushi restaurant seats about 35 including a small bar. The menu is limited, there are no lunch specials (there’s a lunch menu on their website, but that was nowhere to be found during my visit), and prices are on the high end, particularly considering my experience.

Arriving before my friend, I stepped inside and looked at the menu. There were staff people behind the sushi bar, but no host or server in sight. A few minutes later a man comes in from out in the mall and says to me:

(Smiling, very enthusiastic) Oh hi! Are you Brandy?
No, I’m not Brandy.
Well are you meeting someone?
Yes…but she’s not here yet.
You’re not Brandy?
No. I’m not.

And then he walks past me, picking up an order at the sushi bar, and serves a table inside. Do I not get seated if my name isn’t Brandy? The man doesn’t come back to the entrance, where I’m still standing, for a few minutes. When he finally returns, I say “I’m waiting for a friend, but I would like to sit down while I wait.” And that’s when the host offers to check my coat and I’m seated. Interesting start.

My friend arrives and we’re offered menus from who I think will be our server. He’s friendly and seems attentive. He brings water with the menus and we ask for tea. Nothing for 10 minutes. Our server comes back with the tea and takes our order. I ask for the ‘Mini Combo’, which comes with miso soup, salad, four pieces of sushi (saba, whitefish, tuna, and salmon), and a California roll or Spicy Tuna roll ($15).

30 minutes go by without soup or salad. When we first sat down about half the tables were full, but at this point (we had been there for 45 minutes) the lunch hour was passing and there were 8 or 10 people in the entire restaurant. Maybe they’re making the miso?…

Miso Soup with Mushrooms at Osushi

The miso soup arrives, which was the best part of the meal. Unfortunately.

Tiny salad in a huge bowl at Osushi

A tiny salad follows, brought over by someone else. I was still ready to devour 5 rolls of sushi at this point and a huge white bowl with tiny anemic end pieces of lettuce was not what I had in mind. For reference, that’s a cherry tomato in the photo.

The waiting continues for about 15 minutes, until we receive the sushi from a third person. And there is no soy sauce. So we wait another few minutes until we could get anyone’s attention (our server(s) had disappeared, I think I asked the runner from the restaurant to the hotel for soy sauce).

Sushi and Spicy Tuna Roll at Osushi

I start with the spicy tuna roll and it’s not spicy, nor is it flavorful or constructed with any skill. I could put together a better-looking pile of rice and tuna. Then I move on to the sushi – the salmon is great, the saba was a strange texture and seemed off, and I literally do not know which is the tuna and which is whitefish because neither look like tuna and both were the fishy smell you never want associated with raw fish. So, as you may have guessed by now, our server didn’t come back once to check on us. I ate the salmon and some of the Spicy Tuna roll, leaving the rest.

My friend ordered the Makimono Combo (one tekka maki, one California roll, and one una-avo roll with soup and salad), which was a slightly better choice because there was less raw fish, but we were both very unsatisfied by the end (because of the food; our visit together was great – how often do you get to sit in a Boston restaurant, completely uninterrupted, for nearly 2 hours?).

Our bill arrives from the original server who gave us the menus, we paid, and the Are-You-Brandy-Host/Server is still gone, so I picked up my coat and returned the coat tag myself. First time for everything! I’m not sure why they would offer to check my coat if they weren’t planning to return it. We left with significantly less money (especially for lunch) and I was still hungry. Thank goodness for fun company.

This place is only surviving on Groupon deals and unaware conference attendees. Don’t go to Osushi (it’s difficult to find in the mall, so maybe if you tried to go, you gave up and went somewhere else, anyway). There are plenty of less expensive sushi places in Boston that have fresh fish and good service.

Not that you need it, but:

Osushi, Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA

Sushi at Oishii

23 Mar

After making reservations through OpenTable, my boyfriend and I went to Oishii for lunch on Friday.  The atmosphere at noon was relaxed but still romantic and sophisticated.  Our waiter was also knowledgeable and attentive.  And…it was Restaurant Week!

The miso soup was the best I’ve had anywhere in a restaurant.  It was served in tall teacup-like bowls with a tiny soup spoon that forced us to enjoy the soup very slowly!  It was delicate but hearty, which is a theme that carried throughout my entire meal.  My favorite part of the soup were the nameko mushrooms.  They were like little juicy, unexpected presents.

Then my Kaiseki Lunch arrived (left to right in image below).  There was hot somen noodle soup, grilled miso black cod, steamed broccolini with sesame dressing, seaweed salad, salmon avocado maki, spicy tuna tempura maki, fried tofu, and shrimp and asparagus tempura with dipping sauce.  My boyfriend ordered the grilled chicken donburi with teriyaki sauce.  I tried some vegetables and rice and thought it was too sweet, he said the chicken was a bit dry.  He enjoyed it, but I was glad to have the variety of my choice…

my delicious (mini) eight-plate lunch

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Sushi Making Party

25 Jan

I hosted a sushi making party last night!  Using a 10-cup rice cooker (borrowed from a friend), I started cooking three cups of sushi rice and blanched asparagus about fifteen minutes before everyone arrived.  I wasn’t sure how many people would attend, so I had everyone do the prep work together (cutting lots of vegetables, opening fish and cream cheese, making wasabi, etc), which was fun, allowed us to have correct amount of ingredients, and was much less work for me!

Everyone made one roll of sushi (if I were to do this again, I would have made four cups of rice instead of three).  We used cucumber, green onions, salmon, avocado, cream cheese, carrots, and asparagus.  It was fun and also very low-budget compared to a Japanese restaurant.  Our masterpiece:

Homemade sushi on table with soy sauce and vegetables

Homemade Sushi

It was a relaxed, casual, and very yummy dinner.  Afterward we ate Trader Joe’s mochi ice cream (green tea and mango) and frozen pineapple pieces.

What you’re favorite kind of sushi to make at home?

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