Jamie Dalke, sushi chef at Firefly Restaurant, said the restaurant often constructs as many as 450 rolls during a busy July day. That much practice operating a bamboo rolling mat has supplied Dalke plenty of time to perfect his technique.
He has a few important tips for the beginning sushi chef. He suggests a few minutes of study on one of a number of YouTube tutorials and a start with a simple recipe like a California roll.
Rinse your rice:
”One of your number one things you want to do is to rinse your sushi rice,” Dalke said. “This is rinsing the starch off of the rice.”
Dalke suggests putting the uncooked short-grain sushi rice in a pot and running cold water over it. You should stir the pot every few minutes until the water in the pot runs clear.
Eliminating the excess starch from the rice before cooking helps make it easier to work with when making rolls and nigiri, fish atop of a small rice patty.
”It’s going to help keep it from being so sticky,” he said.
The rice also should be sprinkled with a simple syrup made of equal parts water, rice vinegar and sugar before it goes into a roll.
Driscoll suggests investing in a rice cooker to make more consistent rice.
Wet your hands:
Sushi rice can be sticky and difficult to work with even after proper rinsing.
Most sushi chefs create a concoction of about 3 tablespoons of sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup of rice vinegar and 8 ounces of water. The mixture isn’t a garnish or ingredient, rather it is a finger bath set near your work space.
”That’s a very important step because you’re going to use it throughout the process,” Dalke said. “You keep your hands completely saturated in it.”