|"Chip Chip" Maki|
|Right Food for the Season - Early Fall|
|Written by Jon Ross-Wiley|
I love sushi. Love, love, love sushi. I would eat it for dinner every night if I could find a place that featured local ingredients and if my wallet could handle it. A few years back, I was on a major sushi kick, so I thought, "why not teach myself how to make it?" Certainly not a revolutionary idea, but one that provided me with access to large amounts of sushi, utilizing local ingredients, at a fraction of the cost. To me, it was the equivalent of opening up my own mint, and just printing out one hundred dollar bills whenever it struck my fancy. I hadn't made sushi rolls (maki) in a while, but when I made this recipe (which uses acorn squash and beets), I knew I'd be making it more regularly in the future. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Why is it called "Chip Chip" Maki?
Chip #1: The beet is fried to almost a potato "chip" consistency.
Chip #2: Take this leap with me...Acorn squash...acorns...squirrels like acorns..."Squirrel maki"? Not appetizing...chipmunks!...chipmunks eat acorns...Chip n'Dale! By Jove, I think we've got it.
Far-fetched? Perhaps. I love the way it sounds, however, and you won't really be concerned with the name after you take a bite. Prepare to dig in...maki prep takes time and practice.
"Chip Chip" maki is a multi-step process, starting with making the rice, preparing the fillings, and rolling and cutting the maki.
1 1/2 cups sushi rice
2 cups water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
Add rice and water to a medium/large saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil; about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the water has been absorbed; 15-20 minutes (resist the urge to lift the cover early). Once the water has been absorbed, remove from heat, and allow the rice to sit, still covered, for an additional 15 minutes. While the rice sits, mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl or pitcher. Transfer the rice to a wide, shallow bowl and sprinkle liberally with the vinegar dressing. Fold the dressing into the rice using a wooden spatula or wide spoon. Do not stir/mix the rice. If you are so inclined, and ambidextrous, you can fan the rice while you fold to start getting it down to room temperature. Once the rice has reached room temperature, it is ready for use.
1/4 of one medium acorn squash cut into matchsticks (1/4 inch)
1 beet, cut into mini-matchsticks (1/8 inch)
Japanese-style, panko breadcrumbs
2 cups canola or vegetable oil
Bring the oil to high heat in a medium saucepan. You can use a large saucepan to avoid multiple batches, but you will be using a lot more oil. Fry the beets first until they begin to darken and crisp. Remove and place on a paper towel which will absorb the excess oil. Next, beat one egg in a shallow bowl and add the acorn squash. Mix until coated, and then press into the panko breadcrumbs. Place the coasted squash into the oil and fry until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel. Let both the acorn squash and beets cool to room temperature.
A sushi rolling mat is needed here.
Start with a full sheet of nori (shiny side down) on the mat and cover with rice about ¼ of an inch or slightly thinner. Be sure to leave anywhere from an inch or two of the far end of the nori sheet free from rice, the size depends on how much filling you intend to put in the roll. Be careful to not make the rice layer too thick and be sure that the rice is not be packed down. Instead, you just want to gently cover the sheet. You might still see some of the nori through the rice which is fine. Place the fillings on the uncovered portion of the nori and start rolling the nori, on the rolling mat away from your body. Once the maki is completely rolled, give it a gentle squeeze to secure the nori, rice, and fillings. Using a sharp knife cut the maki into as many pieces as you would like (usually 6 or 8).
For the more visual learner: Click HERE for a tutorial with pictures provided by SushiDay.com.