Thursday, 12 June 2008

today, we're going to make sushi...

Oh yes, we are.

As you know, I still don't have a kitchen, so there was only thing for it. Take over someone else's. And learn how to make sushi at the same time. Why not?

So.

No, I mean at So. A jolly good Japanese resto close to Piccadilly Circus in London. I've eaten there a few times, and the food has always been outstanding. And that's even compared with what I've eaten in Japan.

Learn how to make sushi? Yeah, why not. It seemed like a good idea at the time I booked. I love sushi and can eat bucketloads of the stuff. By the time of the class, though, it was about 25C, and the prospect of standing over whiffy* fish didn't seem quite so enticing. Fortunately, the cost of the class included a free glass of wine - at which point, learning to make sushi suddenly became irresistible again.

* it wasn't, actually. But it might have been.

OK, so we (3 of us) were going learn how to make California rolls and nigiri sushi. A prospect which seemed altogether easier after a few gulpfuls of vino.

First, find a willing chef, and get him to demonstrate. Something like this:

sushi 1

You see? You lay out your nori (roasted seaweed), and then press the sushi rice out evenly, right up to the edges. Use the base of your palm to help, like so:

sushi 2

Well, it worked beautifully when he did it. When we tried, the rice just stuck to our hands and everywhere else within arm's reach. Still, he's been making sushi for 20 years. Us, barely 20 seconds at that stage. Some slack, people, please.

If you haven't got enough rice on your hands at this point, now cover them with roe as well. Alternatively, you can scatter-spread it over the rice:

sushi 3

Or, in my case, like this:

sushi 5

No, I don't think it'll win any awards, either.

Then you place a piece of avocado in the centre, along with a smattering of lovely crab meat, and carefully roll up your nori/rice square, like this....

sushi 4

... and, if you're a Japanese master sushi chef, the result will look immaculate. If you're a ham-fisted doofus, it'll look slightly less than perfect. But, you know, you've just made your first California roll, ok? Not bad for a doofus.

Have a celebratory slurp of wine. But don't take too long, because Chef wants you to make another roll. Oh, and now he's onto the art of making nigiri sushi. Strewth. I've barely swallowed my wine.

OK, so nigiri sushi. Should be simple. It's just a piece of fish slapped onto a ball of rice, right?

Ah, apparently not.

In your right hand, pick up and shape your 13g ball of rice. Yes, really. 13g. That's what it says here.

With the tip of your index finger on the same hand (and without dropping the rice), scoop up some wasabi. With your other hand, pick up a piece of fish (which, as you will know, should be 15g). You'll now look something like this:

sushi 6

Which is a good look on a sushi chef, but isn't the kind of thing you want to do out on the streets of London.

Then you do some mysterious sushi-origami.

And I quote:

'Whilst gently pinching the rice between the thumb and the middle finger of the right had, make a slight indent in the rice ball using the left thumb... Turn over in hand and lay across fingers on the left hand. Using the right thumb and forefinger, stroke the edges of the fish over the rice and pinch at the sides. Use the left thumb to again stroke the fish end over the rice and gently apply pressure. Turn the nigiri in your hand 180 degrees and repeat the previous step at the other end. Whilst gently gripping the sushi between palm and finger, apply pressure to the top of the fish with the right forefinger. Repeat the stages until you have the desired shape.'

Watching the chef doesn't necessarily help much, either...

sushi 7



sushi 9


... after which, you'll have (along with your incredibly impressive California rolls) something like this:

sushi 8

OK, so not so impressive. But if you neck the rest of your wine, knit your eyebrows together and invoke the sushi gods, you'll suddenly find that in no time at all - master sushi chef that you now are - you'll soon have a plate of your handiwork that looks like this....

sushi 10

... which, once all boxed up, looks like a darned fine box of sushi, if you ask me:

sushi 11

That'll be £8.90 to you, pal.

All we have to do now is to learn how to cut the California rolls. Because, despite the fact that I could happily eat mine in log form, I'm told it would be a bit rude to do so.

For this, you need a sharp knife and a bowl of water. Dip the tip of the knife in the water, invert it (the knife, not the water) and wait until the water has run down the length of the blade and is dripping off the other end. No, I don't know why, either. Best just to do as you're told and ask questions later. Chef has a very sharp knife. You don't.

Then cut the roll.

And, if you behave, do what Chef says, and smile sweetly, you end up with your very own plate of sushi made with your own fair hand:

sushi 13

Whooooo-hoooooo! Sushi-tastic!

Which, of course, calls for another glass of wine... And yes, I did eat it all, thank you.

OK?

Good. Your turn now.

30 comments:

lorraine@italianfoodies said...

ha ha, I think you missed your calling in comedy, you're so funny:) Looks really interesting even though I know I'd be useless, I'm a bit of a "throw it all together and it will be fine" gal so I would fail miserably, me and perfection just don't go together;)

p.s. not to depress you or anything but there are 2 chain smoking Italians finishing my kitchen as we speak. I'm just so glad they are here I can't tell them to stop smoking in my NEW house:)

Manggy said...

Despite all the self-deprecation, those actually look really nice! I think at 25°C you'll be just fine :) (hey, that's just a few degrees over a fairly air-conditioned room in this country, heh) Moistening your hands with the vinegar-water didn't help with the sticking?
You can actually start preparing those at home even if the kitchen's not done yet! :)

Sarah said...

Looks like a really fun time! I'm sure your sushi turned out better than mine would--I have a fear of making it because I just don't think it will be pretty.

cook eat FRET said...

totally but totally freakin impressive...

i expect you to recapture the moment in your new kitchen - one day...

Antonia said...

Hey - I'm impressed with that sushi! You clearly deserved that glass of wine. Very professional-looking.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

All by myself? I don't think I can do it without the group support! It looks fabulous, and that's the way to learn it.

Maryann said...

Great post and the photos are amazing. Thanks!

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

when on earth is that new kitchen coming?!? i thought only greek tradesmen made promises they can't keep - to be honest, i'd rather have someone cook sushi in someone else's kitchen than cook in my own.

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Wow, amazing, I bough sushi mat a while ago but never tired it yet... now want to do it now ! ;) I will go to Japan Centre this week and I will get what is needed :)

Thank you for sharing this... Margot

Brilynn said...

I haven't made sushi in a long time, this post has certainly made me want to though, looks great!

Tartelette said...

Hope the new kitchen is here soon!Did a sushi class only once but it was a lot of fun! Everything turned out excellent!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

That looks awesome and like a lot of fun! Sounds like I'll need to find a similar class and some good fish. The end result looks really good!

Lizzie said...

Very impressive! I would love to make my own sushi, before my sushi addiction gets the better of me...

White On Rice Couple said...

Wow, you got front row seats! I felt like I was there, almost watching and almost touching the sushi!
How fun! Your rolls look great, just like a darned fine box of sushi!

Heather said...

I have never made nirigi sushi, only nori maki and onigiri (not really sushi, but you get me). Yours looks pro!

Sometimes I'm too lazy to roll the maki and I just put everything in a bowl of rice. :\

Helen said...

Awesome! I think you did extremely well for a novice sushi maker. I want to make some!

kittie said...

Yay for getting back in a kitchen! I'd love to do a sushi class - did you get a choice of which sushi to make?!

Emiline said...

Cool! Now I'm so hungry for sushi.

Big Boys Oven said...

this is really exciting! wow! incredible! did you get to make them too?

michelle @ TNS said...

STILL no kitchen? jeebus!

i think i got a headache from reading that description of how to form the sushi rice.

KJ said...

This looks like fun. I could see myself walking out of class like this with my hair full of rice and my shoes smeared in wasabi. You did great!!

Cynthia said...

That was indeed entertaining. Thank you :)

Cakelaw said...

How cool! I'd love to do something like this - much more fun with a group of friends.

Indigo said...

Yayy, sushi!! If it makes you feel better, I would definitely buy yours over the knowledgeable sushi master chef guy. Well actually I just love sushi so I would eat it regardless of who made it. I wouldn't turn a sushi master chef away, necessarily.

Moving on: this is so cool! I think I need sushi classes. Or to steal that guy in your photos.

jen said...

Oh I've got to give this a go - I love sushi!

I've got some vouchers for a cookery school here and they do sushi classes. I'll bear in mind your advice about a glass or two of wine helping! :-)

We Are Never Full said...

i think yours look excellent!

once you make your own sushi you marvel even deeper at the sushi chefs when you go out to eat it. it's not that hard once you get the hang of it (yeah, you def. need to give yourself a break b/c it'll never look like the professionals! at least mine don't!) but you really feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction! at least i did... plus i was so freaking hungry by the time I finished my first one that I wished I could make them as fast as your teacher seemed to be able to make it!

Bellini Valli said...

Woo Hoo is right. My daughter helps me with mine and they turn out pretty good if I do say so myself. We have only attempted California Rolls though and not anything more compliated:D

Kat said...

OH YUM!!! California rolls are my favorite, and one of the only foods I actually crave. I think you have to give yourself a little more credit...they look great!

Josie said...

It always looks so easy to do when you watch them do it. When I tried the last time, it was a total mess of rice stuck everywhere. So the trick is a bowl of water then?

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