I’ve always loved Japanese food, but never really thought it was something that I could tackle at home. Its the kind of thing that always seems to be reasonably priced when dining out so why bother. Also the ingredients seem to be quite complex and a lot of skill required, that seems put it all round into the ‘too hard’ basket !
So I was quite surprised and amazed with the results when I took myself off to a Sushi making course. I really didn’t think I would walk away from this thinking it would be something that I’d want to make at home, but you know what, I’m sold ! Now that I know how, its easy !
First to the class. I enrolled into Zushi School, Darlinghurst. For $90, you get to take home all the Sushi you make, or eat it there. They’ll throw in a glass of wine or beer to have with it. You also get to take home your sushi rolling mat and a recipe booklet.
The class was intimate with the maximum number of 8 people. They had us sitting around some restaurant tables all set up with our own equipment and the Sushi Master standing up the front demonstrating.
The class went for 2 hours. It started at 9:30, which initially felt pretty early to be dealing with nori and raw fish, but it wasn’t a problem.
Our Sushi Master had pre made the rice, which was a bit of a bummer as there seems to be a bit of skill involved in the process. It would have been good to see it being made, but he demonstrated with a few charades and thorough explanation.
Anyway, it turned out to be not too much of a drama as I’ve sinced followed the instructions and did an OK job of turning out rice that was of the right texture and stickyness – but not quite as good a taste. I will need to try and perfect the taste next time, maybe adding some salt to the rice when it cooks may do the trick.
Back to the class, our first attempt at rolling Sushi was the little tuna rolls (Maki). We learnt a few sushi master technique’s …. including clapping of the hands with water and some knife skills – all very important to the process … unless you want to get into a big mess of sticky rice !
After the tuna, we moved onto the fatter rolls, called Futo- Maki filled with avocado and salmon. Pretty professional looking huh ?
And finally to the show stopper, the ‘inside out roll’. Basically a Calfornian roll with a twist, topped with prawn and avocado with wasabi mayo. Delicious ! Definitely my favourite !
There were a couple important techniques to know, besides the knife skills and water hand slapping.
1. Covering the sushi mat with plastic when making the ‘inside out’ rolls
2. Make sure you wait a few minutes before you cutting after rolling the nori. This is so that the edges of the nori stick together.
3. The rice must be room temperature and must be made the day you are going to use it.
4. Prepare all the ingredients before you start rolling. Avocado needs to be sliced paper thin when using on the outside of the calfornia rolls. Cucumber must be the outside of the vegetable and not any of the seeds (too wet). Prawns can be purchased already flattened Japanese style at the Fish Markets.
4. You can buy pre-mixed ‘Sushi Vinegar’ that has salt & sugar added, or you can mix your own with rice vinegar. Make sure you buy Japanese variety and that it doesn’t contain MSG.
5. After washing the rice until the water run clear, soak the rice for 30minutes before cooking.
6. Standard ratio of rice to water is one to one ie: 1 cup rice=1 cup of water. 2 cups of rice=2 cups of water. 3 cups rice = 3 cups water.
7. Japanese mayo (Kewpie) is the best ! and can be squirted over the sushi straight from the bottle or mixed with wasabi and served from a plastic sauce bottle (as used by Chefs).
Since the course, I’ve given it all a go at home, with good results. Very proud of my attempt to recreate the cucumber rolls from Restaurant X. Check out this platter I whipped up the other night. It only took about 1/2 hour to make, once I prepared the rice.