Sunday, 29 July 2012


The thoughts of making sushi at home sounds daunting but once you make sushi a few times you'll realise it's not as difficult as it looks. There are many different types of sushi but today I'm going to focus on maki rolls. A maki roll is a sheet of nori (roasted seaweed) rolled in sushi rice and different fillings. There is such a wide selection of fillings that I decided to make 3 different types of fillings that work well together and are reasonably easy to get in the shops. You can change these and replace them with your favourite ingredients or simply add what you happen to have in the cupboard or fridge at home. 

Nowadays, all the basic ingredients that you need to make sushi can be found in larger supermarkets, health stores and Asian supermarkets. Most larger supermarkets in Ireland like Tesco and Superquinn have a designated Asian/ Japanese food corner. The most well know Asian supermarkets in Dublin include The Asian Market (Drury St Co. Dublin and Merrywell Business park, Ballymount Dublin 22) and Oriental Emporium (Jervis St. Co. Dublin, George's St. Co. Dublin and Unit C, Aerodrome Business Park, Collegeland, Rathcoole, Co. Dublin). Click here to see my post on "Basic Japanese Ingredients - what they are and where you can find them".

Sushi has developed a reputation for being an expensive food to eat and this can be true when you eat sushi in sushi bars or restaurants. However, it is relatively cheap to make sushi at home. In the last few years all the ingredients to make sushi have become readily available in our supermarkets and ever-growing selection of health stores and Asian supermarkets. I've listed the individual prices from Tesco and Superquinn of the items to make sushi (this price was collected in July 2012 and may change). Once you invest in these ingredients you'll be able to reuse them to make different sushi recipes making it even cheaper to make sushi at home!
Sushi Bamboo Mat€1.79 Sushi Bamboo Mat €1.61
Sushi Nori (roasted seaweed sheets) €1.79 Sushi Nori (roasted seaweed sheets)€1.99
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)€1.79 Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)€2.19
Japanese Sushi Rice (500g) €1.79 Shinode Japanese Rice (1 kilogram)€3.19
Japanese Sushi White Rice Vinegar (150ml)€1.79 Japanese Sushi White Rice Vinegar (150ml) €2.99
Pickled Ginger €1.79 Pickled Ginger €3.19

Sushi rolling mat
4 x Sushi Nori Sheets (roasted seaweed sheets)
Japanese Sushi Rice 320g (uncooked)

Sushi rice seasoning 
Japanese Sushi White Rice Vinegar 100ml
Sugar 2 tbsp
Salt half tsp

Serve with the sushi 
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)
Pickled Ginger
Japanese soya sauce (Kikkoman preferably)

- Type 1 Sushi Filling
Cooked prawns (pull to straighten)
Avocado (cut into long strips)
Pickled Ginger 
- Type 2 Sushi Filling
Tinned tuna mixed with mayonnaise
Cucumber (cut into long strips)
- Type 3 Sushi Filling
Carrot (cooked and cut into long strips)
Egg (omelet style cooked egg cut into long strips)
Cucumber (cut into long strips)
Pickled Ginger


1. Click here to see how to prepare sushi rice

2. Putting the sushi rice on the nori 
Place a sheet of nori shiny-side down and the lines in the nori running vertical on a rolling mat. Cut off the top piece of the nori as shown in the picture below to get the perfect sized maki roll. Put a few drops of vinegar in a bowl of water and use this to wet your hands when applying the rice to the nori to avoid the rice sticking to your hands. Using the spatula divide the rice in the tray into four quarters using one quarter for each nori sheet. Gently spread the rice over the nori sheet trying not to press on the rice too hard. Spread the rice to the edges of the nori and leave a 2 cm gap at the top of the seaweed as shown in the picture below.

 3. Put the fillings on the rice as shown in the pictures below.


4. Start to roll

Using both hands hold the filling in place with your fingers then use your index fingers and thumbs to start to roll the mat forward and bring the nori over the filling. Now, press down firmly but gently to create a roll shape. To form the complete maki roll pull the end of the mat with one hand and continue to push the roll forward with the other hand (if some ingredients fall out the sides just push them back in and don't worry if the edges of the roll look untidy as this is ok). Remove the mat from the roll.

5. Cut the roll
Place the roll on a chopping board and using a sharp knife cut in half (try to only cut in one direction). Then, using a damp clean cloth wipe the knife clean and continue to cut the two halves into four pieces and then cut the four pieces in half leaving you with eight pieces altogether.

Place on a plate and serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Japanese Style Fish & Chips Recipe

A few weeks ago I had traditional fish and chips in the Waterloo Restaurant and Bar on Baggot Street in Dublin. I just happened to be in the area around lunchtime and was looking for somewhere nice to have a quick lunch. The restaurant looked modern and clean and the menu choice was excellent so I thought I'd give it a try. I ordered fish and chips and I have to say it's one of the best fish and chips I've ever eaten! The dish was beautifully presented with the chips in a mini metal bucket, the fish on a wooden chopping board and a lemon wedge cleverly wrapped in cheesecloth.
After eating this lunch I got thinking about how popular fish and chips is in Ireland and around the world. In Ireland we even have a National Fish and Chips Day! The funny thing about fish and chips is that you can order this dish in the local chipper or in a Michelin star restaurant and sometimes the chipper is just as good!

I've added a Japanese twist to the traditional fish and chips to create this recipe. It's a healthier option compared to traditional fish and chips, just as tasty and nice to try for a change.

Serves 2
Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes


Sweet potato chips 
2 medium sized sweet potatoes (cut into chips)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil and 1 tsp sesame oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper for seasoning 

300g white fish (including cod, pollock, haddock etc)
2 tbsp sake (Japanese rice wine) 
Freshly ground salt and pepper for seasoning 
Plain white flour (for coating the fish pieces)
2 eggs, beaten
Panko (Japanese flaky breadcrumbs)
Vegetable or rapeseed oil for frying

Wasabi mayonnaise 
Wasabi is made from the root of the wasabi plant. It has a similar taste to hot mustard and is regularly used in Japan. It is best known for being served on the side with sushi. If you can't find wasabi for this recipe (big supermarkets like Tesco and Superquinn stock wasabi) then Hellman's recently launched Hellmann's wasabi mayonnaise.  
1 tsp wasabi
3 tsp mayonnaise

Japanese seaweed seasoning 
Half a sheet of nori (type of seaweed used to make sushi)
1 tsp sesame seeds (ground using pestle and mortar)
Freshly ground salt and pepper for seasoning

Sweet potato chips 
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the roasting tin in the preheated oven for 5 or 10 minutes until it's red hot. Put the sweet potato chips in a bowl and add the oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Take the hot roasting tin out of the oven and put the seasoned sweet potato chips on the roasting tin. Cook for 30 minutes or less in the oven until the chips are golden and cooked through.

  1. Quickly wash the fish under a cold tap and then dry with kitchen towel (you can leave the skin on the fish or remove it. I prefer to leave the skin on the fish). 
  2. Cut the fish into a little larger than bite-size strips. 
  3. Place the fish in a bowl and season with sake (Japanese rice wine), freshly ground salt and pepper and mix together. 
  4. Coat the fish pieces in flour (shaking off any excess flour).
  5. Dip the fish pieces in the beaten egg. 
  6. Finally coat in panko (rub the panko gently onto the fish pieces).
  7. Heat the oil in a heavy base saucepan or wok to 170 degrees Celsius.  
  8. Place a bit of panko into the oil to check if the oil is hot enough. 
  9. Gently place the fish pieces into the oil. Fry for a few minutes until the panko turns a nice golden brown colour and then turn and fry for a few more minutes.
  10. Remove the fish pieces from the oil and place on kitchen towel
Wasabi mayo
Mix the mayonnaise and wasabi together until you get a nice green mayonnaise. Add more or less wasabi depending on your liking. Serve on the side with the fish and chips. 

Japanese seasoning
Crush the nori seaweed sheet into small pieces and mix with the freshly ground roasted sesame seeds and freshly ground salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the fish and chips and serve the rest on the side with the fish and chips. 

1. To save time prepare the sweet potato chips first and while they're cooking in the oven prepare the fish, wasabi mayo and Japanese seasoning. 
2. To get nice crispy chips do not overcrowd the roasting tin. Place the chips on the roasting tin in a single layer. 

Why not:
Try Japanese style chicken goujons and sweet potato chips instead of fish!

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