Raise your hand if you’re over winter.
Everyone’s hand up? Okay, good, me too.
This time two years ago I was all warm and cozy in Galicia, the weirdest, most wonderful corner of Spain you’ve never heard of.
Ever wanted to visit Ireland but wish you could speak Spanish while you’re there? Come to Galicia. Prefer bagpipes to flamenco? Galicia’s the place for you. Can’t decide between mountains and beaches? Wish you accidentally stumble upon visit 6,000-year-old ruins while you’re out for a walk? Want to go to a pirate parade in the middle of February? Galicia, Galicia, and Galicia. Ai, que morriña.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it because last night, we had a bunch of fly chickadees over for Bad Lesbian Movie Night and made sushi. And sushi makes me think of Galicia. Not because it’s popular there or anything (as far as I can tell, the only thing Galicians eat is ham, ham, ham, octopus, and ham) but because I learned to make it there.
See, in Galicia it rains pretty much constantly.
After carnaval’s over and there are still weeks left of winter rain, ennui starts to creep in. It gets really easy to to stay in bed all day on a Saturday, looking at pictures of places in the world where 1,800 sad, sad millimeters of rain don’t fall each year. Luckily, the city of Pontevedra does some really lovely things – things like Ponte de tapas and Noites Abertas – to keep its residents from succumbing to the depths of depression during the winter months. Because really, you’ve got to stick around until the sun comes out. It’s gorgeous.
After going to the tapas contests and learning how to dance salsa and how to make Lebanese food at Noites Abertas, my friends and I still had gobs of time to kill. With Pontevedra’s access to some of the world’s best seafood (Vigo is second only to Tokyo in terms of the world’s leading seafood ports), we decided to make sushi.
It turns out its pretty easy to DIY.
For the rice
|Sushi rice||2 1/2 cups|
|Water||2 1/2 cups|
|Rice vinegar||5 tablespoons|
For the sushi
|Vegetables||Avocado, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, tofu|
|Fish||Ask your butcher for anything sushi quality. If you’re not going to be eating your sushi right away, stay away from fish and stick with for veg sushi; it’s just as good.|
|Sushi mats||1 teaspoon|
|Wasabi||Or magazine pages if you don’t have a sushi mat|
1. Cook the rice. You’ll need 2 1/2 cups of water and 2 1/2 cups of rice. Ideally you should rinse your rice and sing to it and take it out to dinner, but I am not a sushi chef (who, by the way, spend 3 out of 7 years of their training learning how to make rice the right way. Thanks Wikipedia!) so I just rinsed it a few times and cooked it. I let it come to a boil over high heat and then put on a lid and turned the heat down to very very low. After about 15 minutes, it was sticky but not mushy, so I turned the heat of and let it sit with the lid on for 10 more minutes while we finished…
2. …Chopping the vegetables. You want these puppies to be matchstick-sized.
3. Make your vinegar dressing by mixing the vinegar, sugar and salt together. If you couldn’t find rice vinegar, using the white wine and water mixture will work just fine. Rice vinegar is less acidic than white wine vinegar, so water cuts down on the acidity. It won’t taste exactly the same, but it’s a good substitute. When the rice is cool, stir it in.
4. To make a regular Makizushi roll, cut a piece of nori in half and place one half on your mat. Dip to fingers in water to keep the rice from sticking to your hands, and then scoop some rice onto the nori. You want to keep this layer pretty thin or it’ll be hard to close. Place your fillings along one side and then, using the mat, roll the sushi into a strip, wetting the end of the nori to make it stay shut. To make an inside-out Uramaki roll, start the same way. After covering the nori with rice, flip the sheet over and place your fillings on the nori. Roll so that the rice ends on on the outside.
5. Slice your sushi using a very sharp knife. I’ve found that a bread knife works well, too. Want to take it to work or school for lunch? Wrap the rolls in saran wrap and slice into individual pieces the morning that you plan to pack them to go.
6. Serve with a little wasabi and soy sauce, and you’re good to go.