Cooking by kittee:    
kittee@pakupaku.info

Filling up sushi is mucho-poocho fun. Just don't get all crazy excited and lose control. Nobody enjoys norimaki filled with sundried tomatoes and artichoke dip. It's a really bad idea and you need to stop it right now. I said STOP!

My Favorite Fillings: Fancy Ingredients I use:
  • prepared sushi rice
  • soy sauce
  • toasted sesame oil
  • ume plum vinegar
  • sugar
  • soy sauce
  • tahini
  • toasted sesame oil
  • rice vinegar
  • liquid smoke
  • Vegenaise
  • wasabi powder
  • unbleached sugar
  • Japanese Pickles (subajeke?)

avocado for maki sushi

What you need:

What you do:

  • Cut around the avocado lengthwise with a sharp knife. You won't be able to go through the pit and you shouldn't try as you will undoubtedly slice something other than intended fruit. Instead, with both hands, twist each half of the avocado in different directions, the halves should come apart, with one containing the pit. Put the pit half on the counter, and very carefully angle your blade so it is parallel to the pit. Push the blade fully into the pit and twist. The pit should come out wedged into your knife. Consider, however, if you want to save the pit to grow a nice avocado plant, you shouldn't use this method. Instead, put the pit half in your hand and sorta squeeze it. If it's soft enough the pit will pop out, otherwise you must dig it out and destroy the nice avocado flesh. Don't do this, we are trying to construct beautiful Japanese bites of yum. Please don't fuck with our aesthetic.
  • Slice the avocado halves into lengthwise pieces that are about 1/3 an inch thick. Remove the peel from each slice and set aside.
  • Prepare avocado just before you asemble the sushi because it will oxidize and turn brown. You can always squeeze it with lemon juice, but then you'll have lemon-flavored sushi.

    avocado for gunkan sushi

    What you need:

    What you do:

    1. Follow step number one, above.
    2. Into a small bowl, scoop out the flesh from both halves and mash well with a fork.
    3. Blend in the Vegenaise (I prefer) or tahini (Dazee prefers) and season with salt.
    4. Set aside, but remember avocado browns, so read above.

    aburage for inari and maki sushi

    I buy my aburage tofu already seasoned and prepared in cans. I have never found a brand of canned aburage that doesn't contain MSG, so if that's a concern, try to find aburage that is refridgerated or frozen. I've seen this type before, but am not sure whether it's MSG-free or not. The kind I prefer looks like the picture here and is already sliced and ready to go. Here's how I use it:

    1. Open the can and drain the contents into a medium-sized mesh strainer, it will be really juicy.
    2. Carefully, gather the pockets together in your hands and firmly press to release the extra liquid.
    3. If you are using the aburage for sushi rolls (norimaki), simply stack the pockets and slice them into lengthwise strips about 1/3 an inch wide. Set aside while you prepare more fillins'
    4. If you are going to stuff the aburage with rice to make inari, gently open the slit side of each tofu pocket. They should open right up.

    cucumber for maki sushi

    What you need:

    What you do:

    1. Peel the cucumber.
    2. Cut it in half, lengthwise.
    3. Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds from both halves.
    4. Either cut the cucumber into thin lengthwise strips about 1/4 inch think,OR
    5. Cut each half in half again, this time the short way. Use a Japanese vegetable cutter or mandolin set on medium coarse to shred the cucumber into perfect strips about 1/16th of an inch thick.

    pink tofu

    Tofu:

    I am really picky about tofu. It needs to have good flavor and nice texture or I really hate it. I always use a microwave when I make it for sushi because the results are chewy and fast. You won't get the same results trying another method. In these pictures, I made pink tofu, which came out pretty cool. If you don't have ume vinegar or beets, you can leave those ingredients out and it will still be nice.

    What you need:

    • firm or extra-firm water packed tofu
    • toasted sesame oil
    • ume plum vinegar
    • 1 wee little beet, cooked until very soft

    What you do:

    1. Slice the tofu into strips the length of the block and about 1/3 inch wide.
    2. toasted sesame oil
    3. ume plum vinegar
    4. 1 wee little beet, cooked until very soft

    kampyo (seasoned dried gourd)

    This is what the kampyo I buy looks like, it comes dried in a plastic package. It is probably my most favorite sushi filling, so even though it looks like straw before you season it, and worms afterwards, it is totally worth it. Come on! Be a little adventurous!

    What you need:

    • 1 oz of dried gourd strips (kampyo)
    • some salt
    • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 cup water plus extra
    • 2 teaspoons sake

    What you do:

    1. Take the kampyo out of the package and play with it! It's soooooo cool. My entire package was made up of only three pieces that were really long. Very neat.
    2. Soak the kampyo in warm water for 3-5 minutes.
    3. Drain the water and sprinkle the kampyo with salt. Add a tad of water and gently rub the salt into the kampyo with your fingers. Pour out the salt water.
    4. Wash the kampyo well in more water and make sure you get all of the salt out. Drain again.
    5. Place the kampyo in a medium sauce pan with the rest of the ingredients (pic a). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer on low until the kampyo is very soft and quite dark. I let mine cook for about an hour...but watch it carefully, the broth will boil down as it cooks. You will need to add extra water about three before the strips are soft enough. Just add a bit to cover. As the kampyo cooks and softens (pic b), the broth carmelizes and the strips become much darker. When the kampyo is done, most of the sauce should be gone and it should be soft with a little bit of chew. (pic c).
    6. Let the kampyo cool and then cut it into eight inch lengths.

    Cooking by kittee:    
    kittee@pakupaku.info