When you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine
There’s a good chance that if you attend a potluck in Maui, at least one family will bring a giant tray of maki sushi from Pukalani Superette. Always a crowd favorite, maki sushi is a sliced, rolled sushi that is stuffed with various seasoned meats and pickled vegetables, ranging from tuna to watercress. The rainbow of fillings looks beautiful and impressive when fanned out on a platter. While making your own maki sushi takes a bit of time, don’t let that overwhelm you. Most parts can be made the day before, and you can enlist friends or family to help with the rolling. Call it the pre-party to the actual party.
4 cups uncooked short-grain rice
⅓ cup rice vinegar
⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce (shoyu) , 2 teaspoons mirin
One 4-ounce can tuna, in water, drained
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon whole milk
Large pinch of kosher salt
1½ teaspoons neutral oil
Quick Pickled Carrots
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 bunch watercress, ends trimmed
8 sheets roasted sushi nori
One 8½-ounce can seasoned gourd strips with mushroom (makisushi-no-moto), drained (optional)
To make the sushi rice, cook the rice according to the directions of your rice cooker or via stove top if you do not use a rice cooker. While the rice is cooking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while the rice continues to cook. Pour the sauce over the just-cooked rice, tossing, fanning, and fluffing it with a rice paddle. Be careful; the rice is hot. Let the rice cool to room temperature before using.
To make the shoyu tuna, in a small nonstick skillet, combine the sugar, soy sauce, and mirin and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves, then add the tuna and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat and let cool completely before using.
To make the omelet, in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt until well blended. In a small nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the neutral oil over medium-low heat until shiny and shimmering. Pour the egg mixture in and let sit until the edges start to set, about 30 seconds. Push the edges in, toward the center of the pan, with a silicone spatula while tilting the pan to allow the uncooked egg to spread out. Turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes, until almost all the egg has set, then carefully flip the entire omelet over, adding the remaining ½ teaspoon oil to the pan right before you flip. Cook for a minute or so, with the lid off, then remove from the heat and let cool before cutting into ½-inch-wide strips.
To make the quick pickled carrots, prepare an ice-water bath by filling a bowl with a handful of ice cubes and water, and set it aside.
Bring a small pan of water to a simmer over medium heat and quickly blanch the carrots by cooking them in the simmering water for 1 minute, then plunging them into the ice-water bath. Remove the carrots from the bath after a minute or two, reserving the ice-water bath for the watercress. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, and rice vinegar and add the carrots. Let sit for 15 minutes; drain the pickling liquid before using.
Bring the water in the saucepan back to a simmer over medium heat and blanch the watercress by cooking it in the simmering water until it’s wilted, about 30 seconds. Immediately transfer it to the ice bath and let sit until cooled, a minute or two. Drain the watercress and soak up any extra water from the watercress with a couple of paper towels.
Place a sudare (bamboo mat) on a clean work surface, with the bamboo running horizontal. Add a sheet of nori, shiny side facedown, and align the bottom edge with the edge of the sudare. Spread the sushi rice in a thin layer, about ¼ inch thick, leaving a 1½-inch margin on the end farthest from you. Leave a ½-inch margin of rice on the end closest to you and arrange your fillings in a row in this order: omelet, carrots, watercress, seasoned gourd and mushrooms (if using), and tuna, with each row touching the previous row. Carefully roll the sushi away from you, using the mat to apply pressure. Use one hand to keep the filling in place until you get to the point when the mat touches the rice. At this point, lift the mat away from the rice so that you can continue until the sushi is completely rolled. Repeat this process until all the rice has been used.
Cut the rolls into ½-inch-thick slices, fan them out on a platter, and serve.
Note: Use any extra fillings and rice to build a sushi bowl.
Did you know?
Apples are more effective at waking you up in the morning than coffee.