That being said, it's really a bit of a sin that I've never tried to make sushi myself at home. You'd think that as much as I love it, I'd have given it a whirl by now, but alas, I have only laziness to blame.
A couple weeks ago, I realized that they carried sushi-grade fish at Hmart (awesome Korean grocery store chain) and I bought a little bit to try out. I bought a package of chunks listed as "sushi with vegetable" that oddly included no vegetables whatsoever. It mainly consisted of chunks of fish that I assume were scraps from trimming the nicer, larger pieces for sale. I ate it as sashimi, and it was surprisingly good, not to mention dirt cheap. So last weekend, I dragged the family out to the Hmart again and we bought about $35 worth of ingredients. As it turned out, this was enough to make quite the sushi feast...twice!
As a rule, I generally prefer sashimi, but I do also like some of the more fancy rolls that you can get nowadays. Just to make it interesting though, I decided to stick mostly with rolls the first time around. Oh, and I also used this funny little maki sushi roll maker that my grandma got me like, 10 years ago. It was a bit involved, but fun to use, and it made nice, even, square-shaped rolls. I also made a couple with the more traditional rolling mat (makisu).
The first few rolls were, well, let's just say wonky. I didn't take a lot of pictures of those. In fact, I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I would have liked overall, partly because Troy and I were starving and we were eating these as fast as I could make them, but also, it just got to be too labor-intensive, so I gave up on the pictures. All told, I probably made 4 large rolls, 4-5 small rolls, and a couple of nigiri pieces on the first night, and I still ended up with a TON of fish left over.
Here's one that I made toward the end though with the makisu. In fact, I decided to get really fancy and attempt an inside out roll: eel, cucumber and asparagus, with sesame seeds on the outside.
The second night, I had a better system worked out. I also decided to force Troy to wait until I had finished making everything so we could sit down and eat together like civilized people.
Clockwise, from the top left: salmon, cucumber & asparagus roll, tilapia roll, tilapia and cucumber roll, spicy salmon & avocado roll, tuna nigiri (maguro), salmon nigiri (sake), and spicy tuna roll
Overall, everything was very very good. The only disappointment was the package of eel that I bought. It was rubbery (especially the skin, which I ended up having to take off) and kind of flavorless. Unagi is normally one of my favorites, so I was pretty bummed that none of the rolls I made with it were very good. I'll likely skip that the next time.
The biggest surprise was how well the package of chunks that I bought worked out. It was $6 for 3/4 lb. of tuna, salmon and tilapia. I ended up chopping the individual varieties up into smaller bits and mixing them with sauce (mayo and sriracha) to make spicy rolls and they worked out beautifully. Major bargain score.
We will definitely be doing this again. I've already told Troy that we may need to invest in one of the big flat wooden bowls (hangiri) so that I can mix the rice properly. I don't think he realizes that I'm not really kidding.