Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Viking sushi - they did eat sushi didn't they?

Viking sushi - with Orkney crab, beetroot, eggs and salmon
OK its appalling weather out there, enough to keep even a hard and scary Viking in his hoose. Given the weather, I figured I'd do what the vikings do when hungry and make sushi. They'd do that right? I'm very viking, well I've the red(ish) hair and I live in the land of the vikings. Well the Northern Isles were at one point very Viking - therefore I'm in the right region of the UK. The only draw backs as far as I can see is that I'm not viking sized being only 5ft - but I'm not holding that against my potential viking-ness. And, I do own a viking hat. Why am I gibbering? Its just who I am! Anyway back to the sushi..............and excuse the indulgent pictures, I'm quite proud of my efforts, apart from anything else it tasted wonderful!

The local shop seems to have a really decent Japanese section.
Now I know that Vikings probably didn't eat sushi  in the olden days during their mad piliging expeditions of old, but I think modern day vikings do enjoy sushi. We've so many great ingredients locally, especially local fish and vegetables. Anyway I managed to find most of the required Japanese ingredients locally (Nori, wasabi, pickled ginger, sushi vinegar and sushi rice) in the wee shop I mentioned before which also had lovely local fresh fish, crab, mackeral and even tinned octopus! And, I used home grown beetroot and eggs for some of the fillings.

First came the rice, which was quite easy
I've a Japanese friend who taught the whole family to make sushi when she came to stay with us in Orkney a few years ago (Thank you Yumiko!),  and she was so keen to meet a Viking, we decided they'd love her sushi!  Its not as complicated as it looks - the rice is cooked following the directions on the packet. Once cooked, you add vingear and mix (1tbsp to 100g of rice) and it makes the rice nice and aromatic and you have to let it cool.

14 p a sheet for Nori, not bad at all. Open packet and use, very simple. Keeps for ages.
Whilst its cooling you can chop veggies, organise your toppings and sort out the seaweed sheets (Nori). By sort out, I mean take out of the packet. Its that simple! We've a bamboo matt for rolling the sushi, but a normal bamboo mat would do or a table mat.

Beetroot Nori, ready for rolling into a nori roll.
Nori with salmon, ready for rolling!
I spread the rice on 2/3 of the Nori sheet and put some filling in the middle, these had  beetroot slices in the middle of the rice. The for the rolling bit, slightly scary as you have to be quite firm when you're doing it - but I just pretended I was a Viking and fiereless. The rice is gently rolled up over the beetroot until it somersaults over and meets the Nori on the other side, where it magically seals itself. The beetroot Nori wonderfully bled into the rice, all purply and gorgeous in colour, I quite liked it. Beetroot goes well with horseradish sauce, of which wasabi is a different type, which is where I got the idea for trying it. I'd certainly make beetroot sushi again.

My beetroot Nori roll, ready to go in the fridge after they were wrapped in cling film to keep them nice and fresh.
As well as the Nori rolls I made some little parcels of rice (Nigri) with fillings on top. Now these were easier in alot of ways as no rolling, fun, but a bit fiddly. I used a recycled takeaway box filled it with rice to about an inch thick and then used a spoon to press the rice down. I left it for about an hour , turned it out onto the board and used a sharp knife to cut the little rectangular Nigri rice shapes. After they were cut, I managed to have a bit of fun deciding what to put on them. I did some slices of omelette with peppers (a bit like Tamago), a few with prawn, a few with crab and salmon, a few with beetroot, a few with peppers. I made stirps of the Nori and wrapped the filling onto the rice, genius! It keeps it nicely in place and looks very pretty.
Egg and Pepper Nigri
Crab and smoked salmon Nigri
Beetroot and Pepper Nigri, with smoked salmon and pepper Nigri
The whole little Nigri family!
I found the whole experience of doing this scary but quite fun. We did alot of tasting while we were making it. And, of course as I'd prepared the Nori rolls to take to a pot luck supper, I didn't cut them up until I got there and forgot to take photos! However, mostly they worked quite well! The Nori was a similar combination of types to the Nigri, so you get the idea. I'll take some proper photos next time! Whilst it was fun, my word did it make a mess of the kitchen. As Viking standards go, I'm a messy cook!

Now that is a good evening cooking! Looks like we've been raided by sushi loving Vikings.
I made this for a dinner party - so it was a bit of a treat. It was served up on a big platter with a sheet of Nori for decoration (to cover the pizza plate logo!!) and with soya sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi in little dishes I got from a local charity shop. Everyone seemed to like it and were very kind! I'm glad the extra money I spent on it went to the local business and not the big supermarket. I grew and used the things I could (eggs, beetroot and chilli pepper). Maybe later this year I'll have a bash at growing more ingredients for this. I'll learn more about local seaweeds I can eat (maybe I can find some for sushi?) and well the rice - its certainly wet enough here to have paddie fields at the moment!

You see I'm full of Viking spirit and now sushi too!


  1. What a lot of work. By the look of them all that work was well worth the effort. They look delicious. Great job!!!

  2. It looked worse than it was! Once you're sorted its easy to make them one after the other. I was in the kitchen for a couple of hours, but I did make sushi for 8. Being a novice though, it did take me longer than my Japanese friend. Practise makes perfect though! Thank you for the lovely comment.

  3. Looks like lots of fun and they look delicious :)
    I love love love smoked salmon,especially gravadlaxe.Got to make me some smoked salmon sushi soon :)

  4. Ok-you are my heroine for sure. WE LOVE SUSHI and I would never have the nerve to make it. I can’t even imagine where to begin but your directions are great. It looks perfect and I bet it tasted even better. Yum :)

  5. That is highly impressive - and even more so that you can find such exotic ingredients locally!! xxxx

  6. Aw thanks, it's great we can find things locally - I was so pleased I didn't need to go near the supermarket Diane!
    Verde farm it's fiddly but simple, if you tried just the nigri first (you don't need do swanky wrapping) just get some rice set in a box, cut into bits then add toppings - maybe give it a go? I'm not that brave normally - the worst that happened was that I was covered in rice.
    Dreamer I love gravalx - yum never thought of using that - next time I will give that a go.
    Really lovely comments ta x

  7. looks fab , i have most of the ingredients too i adore sushi but there's only me eats it :( as simple as it is its often not worth the hassle for just me .....i have a box , yes a box of wasabi too

    I am sure vikings love sushi ......

  8. It all looks lovely. My brother in law, who is French, makes sushi quite often. We have tried it quite few times with them and still do not like it. I think it is an acquired taste and we have not acquired it.

  9. Squirrel I'm the same, I only made it because other folk were going to eat it too. Normally I'd not bother for me. Although, it does freeze well......

    sue - we can't all like everything - honey for example - want to like it but it's just horrid!! I wish I did!

  10. So pretty, you almost tempt me to have a go, but manual dexterity is very much NOT my thing...

    Am entranced by the idea of Vikings sitting around eating sushi discussing their latest rape and pillage exploits.

  11. I have only just discovered your blog. Sorry to sound soppy but made me feel emotional to know that there are other people like me out there. I never meet anyone that I have stuff in common with. I love sushi, stripes, the sea, shells, bleak landscapes, wellingtons(!), the film "Julie & Julia" and have seen the mud lady at the Eden project! Sorry, not meaning to sound like a stalker. Your house and surroundings look gorgeous. hillybean

  12. You may have hit on a commercial success there - sushi made with Orkney seaweed! I'll buy it - I love sushi, and I prefer to eat Scottish whenever possible.

  13. Hey hello there Hillybean! What a wonderful thing to tell me - thank you and welcome along the ride!

    Linda - oh now there might be a good idea - I'm 6 min from the beach here :)

    Janet your comment made me giggle too much!

  14. I may open a viking sushi-bar as I don't suppose you can really post sushi can you?

    Then again, the local fish place posts fish all over - maybe I can post a diy box with the local fish etc in there :)

    I can grow the ginger :) and figure out what kind of radish makes wasabi

    Hmm, Linda you've a good point there!

  15. Bingo!


    The plant I need!

    Wonderful place for online plant buying.

  16. giving this a go later have made california/nori rolls before but not the nigri

    I have smoked salmon and crab sticks as well as tuna and home grown cucumber and red pepper :)

    Slimming world friendly too!!