Personal Recipe: Salmon Oshizushi (Smoked Salmon Sushi)

photo 4(6)Sushi is quite easy to make at home and sometimes even yummier at home than at a restaurant. We make this particular dish for large gatherings because it’s easy to prepare, feeds a good number of people and it’s yummy! Oshizushi means pressed sushi. There are two ways in which to make the すし飯 (sushimeshi). The 寿司酢 sushi-su (sushi vinegar) can be made in either 関東風 (Kanto style) or 関西風 (Kansai style). Think Greater Tokyo area and Chiba for Kanto and Osaka and Kyoto for Kansai. Of course many other prefectures are included but that gives you a general idea. With the sushi-su, Kansai style is sweeter than the Kanto style. In Kansai, they use fish such photo(2)as cooked & sweetly flavored あなご (anago aka sea eel) or 締めさば (shimesaba aka mackerel) and the sweeter style sushi rice compliments it. In Kanto, raw fish is more widely used, so in order to enhance that flavor, it’s better suited with more vinegar concentrated rice. The ingredients are the same but the ratio differs. I have listed the measurements of each style below. Either way, you use 5 cups of rice and 8 oz smoked salmon. The recipe shared here uses pre-sliced smoked salmon that is available in your local grocery store. You also want to make sure you have the following items on hand: shamoji (rice spoon) and uchiwa (fan). If you don’t have an uchiwa, anything that you can use to fan manually will do.

To make sure you’re preparing your rice correctly, I’m writing out the directions below.  I’ve also added some tricks below so make sure to read it thoroughly before you begin!

1. Wash the rice. The water should be clear but it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t want to under or over do it so 4 – 5 times is a good number of times.

2. Soak the rice in water. Usually if you’re doing 5 cups, the rice cooker should have a 5 cup line. Fill it almost to the 5 cup line but not quite. If you’re doing it in a pot and a rice measuring cup, 5 cups of rice with a bit less than 5 cups of water. The sushi-su is mixed onto a piping hot rice so in order to make sure that the rice is just right, cook the rice with just a bit less water than usual. When I say just a bit, I mean just a bit. It shouldn’t be half less or one cup less but just a tad bit below the line. Let it sit in the water for 20 – 30 minutes.

Place the pot on high heat until it begins to boil the water. You’ll know because the cap will start dancing and water’ll be bubblin’. Lower the heat to where it’s not bubbling over and the cap’s not dancing and cook for 6 – 7 minutes. After that mark, lower it even further for 10 minutes. Then place it on a higher temperature for 20 minutes and take off the heat. (Usually, rice will be cooked at a 20 minute, 20 minute count. Which means, you boil it, let it cook on low heat for 20 minutes, then take it off the heat and let it cook itself for another 20 minutes. But remember, you want the rice drier than you would regular rice because you’re adding moisture to it with the sushi-su later.) The heat will differ depending upon your stove top. Mine’s not gas so it takes longer for things to cool and heat up so I do it according to what my stove does.

Rice cooker:
Just press cook and make sure you have less than 5 cups of water.

Smoked Salmon (8 oz pre-sliced)
5 cups of Rice (cooked)

関東風 (Kanto style)
1/2 cup Rice Vinegar
1 & 1/2 tablespoons of Sugar
1 & 1/3 tablespoons of Salt

関西風 (Kansai style)
1/2 cup of Rice Vinegar
5 tablespoons of Sugar
1 & 1/2 tablespoons of Salt

1. To prepare the sushi-su, warm up the vinegar (should not be boiling) and add sugar and salt. Mix well until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Then sit aside to cool.

2. Once the rice is done as according to the above directions, scoop out into a large bowl. While mixing the rice with one hand using a shamoji, pour the sushi-su you made into the rice. The uchiwa is to fan it while you mix it. You need to cool it at the same time you mix the rice. Once the sushi-su is mixed into the rice and the rice is not steaming anymore, place in a cold place to completely cool (don’t place plastic wrap over it or it’ll create condensation and we don’t want that!) Do not place it in the fridge because it’ll make each rice separate from one another and when you cut and eat the final product, the rice won’t stay together!

photo 1(3)

3. Take two square or rectangular containers that can be stacked. Take plastic wrap and line the bottom with it. (This is to be able to pull them out easily later.) Place about an inch of rice all along the bottom of the container. Press down to make it flat with your shamoji. (I’ve filled half of the second container to show you what it looks like.)

photo 2(3)

4. Then take the pre-sliced smoked salmon and place it on the rice. Make sure every part of the rice is covered.

photo 3(3)

5. Next, cover the it with plastic wrap.

photo 4(4)

6. Finally, place the container over each other and press down. For the top portion, I used a flat object to press it down. Place it in a cool place for at least 2 hours. Again, not in the fridge!

7. Take out of the container by pulling up the plastic wrap. If like this photo, you're missing some salmon from the corners, cut that portion off and snack while you prepare!

7. Take out of the container by pulling up the plastic wrap. If like this photo, you’re missing some salmon from the corners, cut that portion off and snack while you prepare!

8. Cut into rectangular pieces and serve with some soy sauce. You can also add some fresh lemon slices cut thinly and then into 1/4 on top of it for presentation.


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