Sunday, 6 February 2011

I have made my own Vegetarian Sushi - It's Easy when you know how - Find out how to make sushi online !

My first attempt ever at Sushi (and not looking too bad if I do say so myself!!)
And here's how I did it......

I tried two different sushi rice types, Haruka and Kotobuki.  Both are cooked using the same measurements and techniques; basically its 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water; bring to the boil in a large pan, then simmer until the water has evaporated (approx. 8-10 mins); leave covered in the pan to cool.  The rice is used at room temperature.  If using a seasoning for the rice, it should be stirred through whilst the rice is still hot, otherwise it will lose its consistency / stickiness.

And this is how sticky the rice gets.... use a bowl of cold water to rinse your hands to remove the grains.

Unlike the Kotobuki rice, Haruka rice doesn't require any rinsing, and has a much shinier appearance to the grain.  Both varieties gave the same end result though (although this one had more of a bite to it).

Just some of the ingredients used as fillings:  cucumber, ginger, chilli (a personal preference), wasabi sauce, japanese radish, lemon and lime.  Obviously fish or meats would be good; egg strips were popular in Japan; and we even ate a sweet sushi, rice wrapped in a pancake rather than seaweed with a maple syrup type sugar sauce poured over.

Using a bamboo mat for rolling (although a silicone baking sheet would be just as effective), place the seaweed sheet so that the glossy side faces down - the rice is placed on the rougher looking side.  To spread the sticky rice, rinse your hands in cold water, scoop a handful of rice into a ball, then spread the rice by pushing it to cover the seaweed.  The thinner the layer of rice, the easier it will be to roll up.  Another tip:  cover your bamboo mat in clingfilm or a bag to stop the rice sticking to it, and to give a cleaner finish.

Add the required filling to the rice, spreading the flavours evenly.

Using the mat, roll the seaweed into a long sausage shape; keep rolling and applying pressure until it is of a firm, dense texture.  The seaweed sheet becomes quite elastic and pliable from the moisture of the fillings, so don't be afraid or it. 

Cut the sushi roll down the middle.

Match the ends of the roll, and trim off the rough edge.  Presentation is everything!!

et Voila (don't know the Japanese equivalent), here's the sushi.   Add a dab of soy sauce, fish sauce, chilli sauce, etc for dipping.  Yum, a nice, healthy meal - much more filling than it looks.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Tokyo Tower versus the Eiffel Tower ... Our Experiences

If you have ever visited the Eiffel Tower in Paris, you will have been struck by its enormous dimensions. We have walked up the Eiffel Tower and can say with some qualification that its a long way up. So on our holiday to Tokyo we had to go and see the Tokyo Tower, which is built in homage to its French cousin. We had read that it was even taller than the Eiffel Tower, so we were waiting to be knocked over by it.

What we noticed, as we approached the Tokyo Tower through winding streets from the direction of the Emporer's Palace, was that it was going to be challenged by the scale of the surroundings. In Paris, The Eiffel Tower stands in a beautifully open approach, with tailored gardens and radiating roads. In Tokyo, the Tokyo Tower stands within surrounding tower blocks in a mish-mash of roads and as a result seems to be far smaller than the Eiffel Tower. I think that not being able to climb up the Tokyo Tower helps to convince the brain that you are dealing with a smaller structure, but as the following figures will show the Japanese have it :-)

The Tokyo Tower stands 1,091 ft tall, compared to the Eiffel Tower at only 1,063 ft. The Weight of the towers are surprisingly different also, with the Eiffel Tower maxing at 7,300 tonnes and the Tokyo Tower weighs far less at just 4,000 tonnes ... Showing the difference in modern construction techniques and materials.

I have to mention the difference in the visitor experience. In my opinion the Eiffel Tower beats Tokyo hands down, with all of the historic grandeur that is presented on each level. Tokyo leans towards modernity, with a visitor lounge effect. The top layer of the Tokyo Tower was horrid and we walked around once and joined the queue to return to the more spacious lower level. The windows were smeared by greasy noses, rendering them impossible to photograph through. I would say don't bother paying the extra to go to the top.