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Spicy Tuna Roll, Akai Sushi

Sep 08, 2011 07:56PM ● By Anonymous

Spicy Tuna Roll at Akai Sushi
402 S. Talbot St., St. Michaels

Photos by Tony Lewis, Jr.

St. Michaels newest sushi restaurant, Akai (which means “red” in Japanese), has all the marks of a great sushi restaurant: Sharp knives, fresh fish and vegetables, and a chef that’s passionate about the food. The secret to good sushi, says Akai Chef Tim Redmond, is all in the rice. When he prepares sushi rice for the restaurant, which opened about six months ago in St. Michaels, it takes him approximately three hours—soaking the rice, rinsing it, cooking it, and then seasoning it. When you make sushi rice as home, use an electric rice cooker, he advises. “It takes all the guess work out of it.” Redmond shows us how to make a spicy tuna roll, the restaurant’s best-selling sushi roll.

WU: Describe the culinary influence present in your dishes.
TR: Obviously Japanese, but in my experience I’ve worked in Italian, French, and American kitchens. I think all influences show in my food.

WU: How often do you add new dishes to the menu?
TR: As a new restaurant, we have a small menu with daily specials. We offer new menu items weekly.

What is your favorite food? Least-favorite food?
TR: I love straight up raw tuna. Least favorite is cooked tuna

WU: What kitchen tool or gadget could you not cook without?
TR: My sashimi knife, a yanagi.

WU: What’s your favorite local ingredient?
TR: Local crab, of course.

WU: What makes this dish special to you?
TR: The spicy tuna roll is simple, and the way we prepare it shows the quality of the product as well as technique. We don’t used minced tuna like many sushi restaurants, and we don’t drown it in sauce.

WU: Are there any special cooking techniques/ingredients/utensils/cookware used for this dish?
TR: I cannot live without my makisu, a bamboo mat, for rolling sushi.

WU: How difficult is this dish to prepare at home?
TR: Not too difficult. The most difficult part is getting the rice the cooked correctly with the right seasonings and texture. Once you can make good sushi rice and have the right tools, you can get very creative.

WU: Is there a particular wine/drink that goes well with this dish?
TR: Because it’s a spicy dish, a lighter white wine or cold sake would be excellent choices.

Akai Spicy Tuna Roll

Sushi Rice
2 cups medium-grain white rice
1 cup cold water
½ cup seasoned rice vinegar

Soak the rice in cold water for 30–45 minutes. The rice will become pearl-like in color. Drain the rice. Cover the rice again with cold water, stir, and drain. Repeat four to five times until the water runs clear. Cook in an electric rice cook per the manufacturer’s specs.When finished cooking, turn it out into a large, flat, nonmetal container. Toss the rice with seasoned rice vinegar to taste. Allow to cool until just above room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to two hours at room temperature.

Tuna and Cucumber Maki
Fresh ahi tuna, cut into strips
English Cucumber, cut into thin strips
Nori (seaweed paper)
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Green onion, for garnish2 tablespoons mayo1 teaspoon Sriracha (Vietnamese hot sauce)

Spread the rice on the rough side of the nori (dip your hands in cold water first to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands), pressing it to approximately ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and green onion over the rice.

Flip the rice and nori over so it’s rice side down on a makisu (a rolling mat). Place a two-ounce strip of tuna and 2 small slices of cucumber on the nori. Pressing gently, but firmly, roll up the sushi. Cut into eight even pieces. Mix the mayo and Sriracha to make the spicy sauce, and drizzle it on the roll before serving.