Sushi For Dummies book cover

Sushi For Dummies

By: Judi Strada and Mineko Takane Moreno Published: 04-02-2004

Demystify the sushi bar experience

Stuffed with tips and tricks - you'll roll, press, and mold sushi like a pro!

From rolling sushi properly to presenting it with pizzazz, this book has everything you need to know to impress your friends with homemade maki-sushi (rolls) and nigiri-sushi (individual pieces). You'll find over 55 recipes from Tuna Sushi Rice Balls to Rainbow Rolls, plus handy techniques to demystify the art of sushi making - and make it fun!

Discover how to:
* Find the right equipment and ingredients
* Understand the special language of sushi
* Make fragrant sushi rice
* Prepare vegetarian and fish-free recipes
* Dish up sushi-friendly drinks and side dishes

Articles From Sushi For Dummies

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26 results
26 results
Sushi For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 03-25-2022

Maybe you love sushi, but you’re not sure you’re completely familiar with all the different types of sushi or the items available. Fortunately, you can find that information here, as well as key phrases that can have you talking to your Japanese sushi chef like a native.

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Miso Soup with Manila Clams

Article / Updated 04-26-2016

Miso soup with Manila clams is a big hit in Japan, and for good reason. The nutty flavor of miso finds a perfect partner in the sweet flavor of clams. If you can’t find Manila clams, choose another type of clam, preferably small ones. A rich and diversified world of miso is waiting to be enjoyed. You can use any salty (not sweet) miso, red or white, for this soup; this recipe recommends shinshu miso, which is a pale salty miso. Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Yield: 4 servings 1 pound (20 to 24) Manila clams or other very small clams 4 cups water 1/4 cup shinshu miso 4 tablespoon sliced scallions Submerge the clams in cold, lightly salted water for several hours in the refrigerator. This soak allows them to release any sand. Drain and then scrub the clams well under running water. Discard any clams that don’t shut when touched. Not closing indicates that they’re dead. Place the clams and the 4 cups water in a pot, bringing them to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam forming on the surface of the stock. Reduce the heat to low and then simmer the clams for 4 to 5 minutes, until open. Discard those that don’t open. Dissolve the miso in 1/4 cup of the hot clam stock in a small bowl. Pour the dissolved miso into the pot of clam stock, stirring gently for a moment or two. Be careful not to knock the clams out of their shells. Thinly slice the scallions. Add 4 tablespoons scallions to the soup and remove the soup from the heat. Ladle the soup into 4 bowls, dividing the clams equally. Serve immediately. Per serving: Calories 71 (From Fat 14); Fat 2g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 23mg; Sodium 781mg; Carbohydrate 4g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 11g. Miso soup with clams is best served right away; however, you can gently reheat it if you’re careful not to knock the clams out of their shells.

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Cucumber and Wakame Salad

Article / Updated 04-26-2016

This light, refreshing cucumber and wakame salad possesses just the right amount of thin, crunchy cucumber in proportion to delightfully chewy wakame seaweed, to tease your palate into wanting more. Tip: Make the dressing, and soak and drain the wakame and cucumbers well in advance, refrigerating them until needed. Assembling and serving the salad then takes only moments. Special sushi tools: Japanese mandoline or sharp knife Preparation time: 20 minutes Yield: 4 servings 1/2 cup high-quality rice wine vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1/4 ounce (10 grams) dried, ready-to-use wakame 2 Japanese cucumbers 1 cup water 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon slivered fresh gingerroot (optional) Stir the vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce together until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate this dressing until needed, up to 3 or 4 days. Cover and soak the wakame in cold water until it softens, about 5 minutes. While the wakame is soaking, slice the cucumbers into very thin rounds, using a Japanese mandoline or a sharp knife. Drain the wakame and set it aside briefly. Soak the sliced cucumbers in the water seasoned with the salt for 5 minutes. Soaking the cucumbers softens them so that they absorb the rice vinegar dressing. Drain the cucumbers, gently squeezing out any excess moisture. Toss the softened wakame and cucumbers with one-fourth of the dressing. Place one-fourth of this salad in each of four small, shallow plates or bowls. Drizzle over a little more dressing and garnish with slivered gingerroot, if desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature. You can serve the cucumber and wakame salad cold with flaked crabmeat or boiled shrimp; place the shellfish in one side of the bowl or toss it with the wakame and cucumbers. Buy ready-to-use, already cut-up, dried wakame that needs just a few minutes to soften and come back to life. Use a good rice wine vinegar because it’s the dominant taste in this salad. Per serving: Calories 43 (From fat 1); Fat 0g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 270mg; Carbohydrate 10g (Dietary fiber 2g); Protein 2g.

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Crystallized-Ginger Crème Brûlée

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

This recipe takes the classic crème brûlée and bumps up the flavor with an Asian twist, crystallized ginger. Crème brûlée is a custard that’s baked in the oven, chilled until firm, and finally covered with a thin crackling crust of caramelized sugar. Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes Yield: 8 servings 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 1/2 cup whole milk 4 eggs 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 3 tablespoons (about 3/4 ounce) finely minced crystallized ginger Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pour the cream and milk into a heavy saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and bring almost to a boil. Separate the eggs, retaining the yolks and slightly beating them. Whip the egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until thickened, about 3 or 4 minutes. Trickle the hot cream mixture into the thickened yolks, stirring constantly. If you add too much hot cream and milk too fast in the beginning, the eggs will scramble! Stir in the vanilla. Pour this custard through a strainer into a baking dish. Use a 4-cup shallow gratin dish or other heatproof dish (such as a 9-inch nonmetallic pie pan). Sprinkle half of the minced crystallized ginger over the custard. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Put the custard dish in a baking pan in the oven. Fill the pan with hot water halfway up the side of the custard dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the custard is just set. Take the custard out of the water bath and cool to room temperature. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the custard until cold. Turn on the broiler and set the now-cold custard dish on a baking sheet. Stir the remaining ginger into the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Sprinkle this mixture as evenly as possible over the cold custard. Place the custard about 4 inches from the broiler burner until the sugar begins to caramelize, about 1 minute. Turn the dish, if necessary, to melt all the sugar. Let the custard sit for 3 or 4 minutes, allowing the sugar crust to cool and harden. You can caramelize the crème brûlée crust an hour or two ahead and refrigerate the dish, well wrapped in plastic wrap, without much loss in crispness to the sugar crust. But don’t push it any longer than 2 hours, or the crust softens. You don’t want the custard to get warm, so take care not to broil the sugar on top of crème brûlée very long. Some cooks put the custard dish in an ice bath (a larger pan of ice) under the broiler to keep the custard cold. Tip: Kitchenware stores sell small butane torches just for culinary uses such as melting sugar on top of crème brûlée. The torch gives you more control, so the sugar melts evenly and has less chance of burning. Plus, it’s fun to use! Per serving: Calories 259 (From fat 176); Fat 20g (Saturated 11g); Cholesterol 170mg; Sodium 29mg; Carbohydrate 19g (Dietary fiber 0g); Protein 3g.

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Sushi Dry Goods

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Keep sushi dry goods in a cool, dry, dark pantry or cupboard —as for all dry food ingredients. Sushi dry goods quickly deteriorate if exposed to heat, moisture, or light. Most of these sushi dry goods are best used within six months of opening, and should be refrigerated or frozen after opening: Dashi konbu (dried kelp): Resembles broad, leathery, wrinkly ribbon. The darker green the leaves, the better the quality. Dashi konbu is often coated with a natural, white powdery substance that blossoms out in the drying process. Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes): Looking like pale salmon-colored wood shavings, katsuobushi are in fact shaved flakes of cooked, dried bonito (a type of tuna). Matcha (powdered green tea): A special tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony. This powdered tea also makes a dynamite seasoning when combined with salt or sugar. Nori (sheets of dried seaweed): Seaweed that’s been processed into thin sheets. It’s aromatic and crisp, like a potato chip — the result of drying, not frying. The best-tasting nori is dark green verging on black. (Reddish brown nori is often old and not desirable.) Shiitake mushrooms, dried: Filled with fragrance and a highly desirable meaty flavor. Soaking dried shiitake mushrooms in cool water results in plumper, smoother, and softer reconstituted mushrooms than when done in hot water. The caps are eaten, and the stems can be discarded or saved for stock. Tempura mix: Tempura batter mix makes crispy-perfect tempura. Wakame (dried seaweed): Wakame is a subtly sweet, thin, deliciously smooth, and chewy seaweed that’s a dream to eat. Dried, it looks like black, curly shreds of confetti, but when soaked it multiplies many times in size into green wavy ribbons. Avoid dried reddish brown wakame because it may be old.

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Refrigerated Sushi Ingredients

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Some of the ingredients you use in sushi need to be refrigerated — and not only the fresh, raw fish that you can use to create sushi magic. Look for these refrigerated sushi ingredients in your local Asian market: Pickled ginger: Sweet and tart at the same time, sliced pickled ginger plays a major role in sushi. Look for naturally beige or pink pickled ginger, often called sweet pickled ginger, to eat as a condiment. Wasabi paste and powder: Wasabi paste (made with wasabi powder or purchased in tubes) has a fresh, hot taste that complements and highlights the taste of raw seafood and all kinds of sushi. Deep-fried tofu pouches: Puffy little squares or rectangles of golden fried tofu, usually sold two to four to a package in the refrigerated section of Japanese or Asian markets. Barbecued unagi (freshwater eel): Butterflied, precooked glazed eels are sold in cellophane packages in the freezer section or fresh fish section of Japanese and Asian markets. Kani kama (imitation cooked crabmeat): Usually made of cooked pollock (a white-fleshed, mild fish) and crab flavoring. Miso: Miso (fermented soybean paste) is deeply rooted in Japanese cuisine. Miso comes in light and dark colors, and its taste varies from nutty to complex, from slightly salty to very salty. Its fragrance is a bit like ale. Tofu: High-protein, lowfat soybean curd. Tofu is sold many different ways, including packed in water and vacuum-packed. Quail eggs: Dainty, one-bite-sized quail eggs are such a kick to serve and eat! Japanese markets stock fresh quail eggs, usually ten to a 5-inch-long plastic package.

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Types of Sushi Knives

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

What distinguishes Japanese sushi knives from Western-style knives is that many types of Japanese sushi knives are honed on only one side, the right side, to create the sharpest cutting edge possible. Sushi knives primarily fall into three categories: A heavy duty cleaver: Used for tough jobs, such as cutting through thick fish bones and filleting whole fish. A sashimi knife: Used to work with raw blocks of fish and fish fillets. Raw fish cut with this knife is used in almost all types of sushi, but most conspicuously on top of finger sushi. It’s also the knife you use to cut sashimi, which is precisely sliced, best-quality raw fish that’s accompanied by a dipping sauce. A vegetable knife: The Japanese vegetable knife is prized for cutting razor-thin pieces of food, as well as making quick work of chopping or mincing. It comes in single-edged and double-edged style.

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Chilled Seasoned Tofu

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Chilled seasoned tofu is a hot-weather favorite in Japan, but this tofu dish is a favorite year-round with sushi lovers worldwide. Custardlike tofu soaks up the flavor of the soy sauce it’s served with, so use the highest-quality, naturally brewed soy sauce you can get. This dish is yummy with sliced avocado, broiled eggplant, or steamed asparagus. Preparation time: 8 minutes Yield: 4 servings 14 ounces (1 package) soft or silken tofu Fresh gingerroot 4 teaspoons sliced scallions 4 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste Drain and rinse the tofu. Cut the tofu block into 4 pieces. Place each piece on a small plate. Finely grate the gingerroot. Thinly slice the scallions, then rinse and pat them dry. Top each piece with 1/4 teaspoon of the grated gingerroot and 1 teaspoon scallions. Serve with soy sauce on the side, 1 teaspoon per serving. Per serving: Calories 60 (From fat 17); Fat 2g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 370mg; Carbohydrate 3g (Dietary fiber 0g); Protein 8g. Tip: Try not to nick or mar any of the tofu edges so that each portion comes to the table with perfect lines. (This attention to detail is part of the Japanese culinary ethos of serving beautiful food!)

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Sweet Tuna and Snow Peas Pressed Sushi

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Sweet Tuna and Snow Peas Pressed Sushi offers contrasting texture: crunchy snow peas; soft, slightly sweet tuna; and chewy vinegared sushi rice. Make this appealing pressed sushi an hour or two ahead and keep it covered in a cool corner of the kitchen. Special sushi tools: Sushi mold that makes 5 pieces Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Yield: 20 pieces 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1 can (6 ounces) albacore tuna, packed in water 4 teaspoons sugar 4 teaspoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons sake 1/4 pound snow peas 2 teaspoons mirin 4 cups prepared sushi rice 1 tablespoon reroasted white sesame seeds Drain the tuna well. Pour the oil into a nonstick frying pan and place it over medium heat. After the pan is hot, add the tuna, sugar, and soy sauce. Cook for about 1 minute, breaking the tuna into smaller pieces. Add the sake and continue breaking the tuna into the smallest flakes possible, while cooking for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the tuna from the heat and let cool. Remove the strings from the snow peas and sliver them. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to a boil and plunge the snow peas into the water for 15 seconds or so. Drain and then plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set their color. Drain well, pat them dry, and season with the mirin. Wipe all three parts of the sushi mold with a damp towel. Using damp fingertips, pick up and spread about 1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) of the sushi rice evenly across the bottom of the mold. Press down with the lid. Remove the lid and wipe it off with a damp towel. Spread one-fourth of the cooked and flaked tuna evenly over the rice. Layer another 1/2 cup of sushi rice evenly over the tuna. Put small portions of the rice on top of the tuna and then spread it out. Press down with the lid. Pat the snow peas dry. Top the rice with one-fourth of the dried snow peas and then sprinkle with one-fourth of the sesame seeds. Press down with the lid a final time. Remove the lid. Using the knife guides on the mold, partially slice the sushi into 5 pieces, wiping your knife on a damp cloth before each slice. Unmold the sushi by pressing down with the lid while pulling up on its sides. Finish slicing the sushi pieces apart, wiping your knife before each cut. Make 3 more pressed sushi by following Steps 11 through 24. Don’t use wet ingredients in sushi, or the rice gets soggy. Be sure that the tuna and snow peas are fairly dry before putting them on the rice when making this pressed sushi. Per piece: Calories 72 (From fat 7); Fat 1g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 3mg; Sodium 129mg; Carbohydrate 12g (Dietary fiber 0g); Protein 3g.

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Cucumber Sliced Rolls

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Cucumber sliced rolls are a time-honored favorite on sushi bar menus around the world. They’re thin sliced rolls, consisting of a half sheet of nori and only one filling ingredient (cucumber, in this recipe), making the quality of that ingredient paramount. Special sushi tools: Bamboo mat, sashimi knife Preparation time: 25 minutes Yield: 4 thin rolls (24 pieces) 1 Japanese cucumber 2 sheets nori 2 cups prepared sushi rice 2 teaspoons wasabi paste, or to taste 2 teaspoons reroasted white sesame seeds Soy sauce Pickled ginger Trim the cucumber to 7 inches long. Cut it into quarters, lengthwise, or cut lengthwise into six slices if the cucumber is more than 1 inch wide. Cut each sheet of nori in half, making each one 4 x 7 inches. Lay a bamboo mat in front of you, with the bamboo slats parallel to the edge of the table or countertop. Place a half sheet of nori lengthwise, shiny-side down, on the closest edge of the mat. Dip your hands in a bowl of vinegared water and then tap your fingertips on a damp towel to remove excess water. Spread 1/2 cup of rice evenly on the nori, leaving a 1/2-inch strip of nori not covered with rice on the edge farthest away from you. Season the rice with one-fourth of the wasabi, sprinkle on one-fourth of the sesame seeds, and then lay a stick of cucumber in the center of the rice. Lift up the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping your fingertips on the cucumber, and roll the mat and its contents away from you until the edge of the mat touches straight down on the far edge of the rice. Tug on the mat to tighten the roll. Lay the mat down on the counter and move the partially done roll back to the edge of the mat closest to you. Lift the mat again and finish rolling up the cucumber roll. Tug on the mat to tighten the seal. Cut the roll into 6 equal pieces, wiping your knife with a damp towel before each slice. Make 3 more rolls, following Steps 4 through 14. Serve with soy sauce as a dipping sauce, and pickled ginger to cleanse your palate. Sliver the cucumber for your sliced rolls to give them a different look and texture. Or, fill the roll with a slender assortment of colorful slivered vegetables such as carrot, cucumber, and red bell pepper. Per piece: Calories 49 (From fat 2); Fat 0g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 1,285mg; Carbohydrate 8g (Dietary fiber 1g); Protein 3g.

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