1 cup sushi rice,
1 tablespoon rice vinegar,
1 full teaspoon sugar,
1 1/2 cups cold water,
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms,
little oil and sea salt to taste,
3 sheets of nori (seaweed), Optional ingredients: smoked salmon, asparagus, red pepper, shredded carrots, For serving: soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.
Recipe: Rince the rice several times until the water runs clear and place it in a rice cooker with the cold water. While the rice is cooking, grease each shiitake mushroom with oil, sprinkle with salt and bake them in a preheated oven for about 5-10 minutes or until ready. When the rice is cooked, let it stay for about 10 minutes before lifting the lid of the rice cooker. After that stir the rice gently with a spatula and fan it for about 2 minutes. For 1 cup of rice not much fanning would be needed, but if you make a bigger batch you would have to fan the rice longer. Combine the rice vinegar and sugar and fold it into the rice. Let the sushi rice stand for about 20 minutes to cool down and absorb the moisture of the seasoned rice vinegar. Make 3 baseball-sized rice balls using slightly wet hands.
Spread the rice on the nori sheets over a bamboo sushi mat that have been wrapped in cling wrap to prevent it from sticking. Turn the nori sheets with the rice facing down and place the ingredients in the middle. Roll the sushi rolls using the bamboo mat for inside-out rolls and cut each roll to 8 pieces. If using smoked salmon, stick it on the outside of the sushi rolls before cutting them. If you use asparagus, as the one from the image, you should blanch it first.
About the author: George Krumov is a Red Seal certified chef with many years of culinary experience working around the world in Europe, the Middle East, the cruise line industry and North America. In the last two decades he has headed the kitchens of several restaurants in Canada, and ran his own restaurant.