I felt a bit guilty freaking out at my boyfriend for putting a £10 packet of fresh salmon sashimi in the shopping basket. Being a killjoy is not cool, but neither is haemorrhaging money on raw fish. Now I really like sushi, but my expensive taste doesn’t quite fall in line with my shoestring budget.
Or does it?
Japanese food isn’t something I ever felt I could replicate well at home. However, with an increasing disappointment in supermarket lunch packs, which aren’t even that cheap (at least not by my standard of cheap, which is pretty hard core) and an increasing craving for some quality dragon rolls, it was time to give it a go.
The bad news: I didn’t *yet* manage to make a real dragon roll. Well, I did, but I had to hoover it up with my mouth directly from the rolling mat like my dog eats dropped ingredients from the floor. But, I didn’t put a huge amount of effort in either. I’m lazy and impatient.
The good news: You can make good sushi if you’re lazy and impatient.
I actually spent several hours preparing the stuff and it was so. much. fun. It’s a bit like doing arts and crafts, every bit as messy, but with savoury food. The great thing is, it doesn’t take hours to start seeing results The only reason I took so long with it, was because I’d boiled up enough enough rice to make dinner for 12 (seriously, if there’s just a couple of you, a quarter of a packet does the trick). So, I just kept them coming till it was all used up. I made a LOT of sushi. I always considered sushi to be rice heavy, but it actually only needed a very small amount to roll into the seaweed sheet (nori), especially once I’d added the “filling”. I made up the rice exactly as the instructions – adding rice vinegar, salt and sugar and oh my word, it was delicious.
Making fresh sushi has the benefit that it isn’t refrigerated, although even the leftovers that did go in the fridge tasted way better than the prepackaged stuff. Plus you can customise it to your tastes and here’s where the money saving really comes in…
No, not the metal sort you get at the dentist. Tasty sushi innards that also use up your leftovers.
Ok, beautiful raw, fresh fish is still going to cost a bit, although not as much as eating it in a restaurant. But, there are a host of other cost effective ways to make your rolls just as impressive. A quick rake around my fridge and freezer for appropriate items brought forth a bounty of flavours, providing a lovely variety of sushi: chopped up cucumber, avocado, shredded carrot and cream cheese and best of all, some breaded tail on big prawns for my unskilled version of dragon rolls (I cheated by rolling them with the seaweed sheets on the outside, they “should” have rice on the outside, but I’m not a fan of “shoulds”).
And how much did it cost?
For all my ingredients (including wasabi and soy sauce), I made enough to feed four or five for lunch, for around £4-£5. To buy everything I needed cost a lot more in total, but I still have loads of all the core ingredients left, so of course it’s only a cheap option if you’re planning to make it at least a few times, or for a huge party. It’s a great option if you have lunch boxes to pack or finger food for a picnic.
Chopsticks are optional, but are recommended as a pretty fun way to feed a friend or lover.
For some step by step videos on how to make sushi better than I did, check out this youtube channel