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wanted dead or alive: A sushi primer

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi all :)

I am wondering if you guys and gals could help me out. I'd like to give sushi making at home a try. In the past I've done yellowfin sashimi and seared tuna dishes as well, but I'm thinking about learning how to make sushi now.

Many times when I'm trying to learn a new dish (or method) I like to start with a decent foundation. Most times I search out a traditional method of what the dish may be...and learn from there. But with sushi I'm not sure I should learn in my usual methods. I suppose I'm a bit intimidated, never having any experience with making rolls and such. So instead of trying to get the traditional methods down, I'm wondering if simply doing an adequate job would be suffice.

What I mean by adequate doesn't necessarily mean sloppy or incompetent. Just adequate. I'd like to develop the skills to put together a decent roll and nigiri. The history and dedication it appears to take to begin to perfect sushi is something I just don't have time to pursue. But I would like to learn the basics.

thanks all,
dan

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 26
my very brief foray into sushi revealed a few things. learn to cook rice perfectly. learn to cut it with salt and rice vinegar gently. spread your rice evenly and thinly on your nori and don't smash it in. it's easier to add another small slice of fish to make it look right. don't over do your wasabi on yer nigiri. wet knife edges and fingers make handling sticky rice and making clean cuts easier. I really don't know that much and faked it being supervised by someone who knew what they were doing but those were just some key things i learned. I am sure someone has suggested a good basic book somewhere around here.
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #3 of 26
Here are three you can get at Amazon:

Sushi (catchy title, eh?), by Yoshii from the Essential Kitchen Series

Big Book of Sushi; Dekura, Yoshii -- bigger book, better illustrations.

Sushi for Dummies -- pains me to recommend it, but it's not bad.

Making sushi is really three distinct things. 1) Rice; 2) Fish; 3) Vegetables and other stuff.

Making good sushi rice at home is very simple. But getting it right is highly nuanced. The easiest way is to buy a rice maker, and start fooling around with minor variations on rice/water ratios. Of course you have to use sushi rice.

Molding the rice -- ditto. Simple, but it takes a lot of practice to get it right. Molds are easier than rolls. Rolling mats are easier than hand-molding. I helped a friend do a class a few months ago, and was molding rice with two spoons ala quenelle. Surprisingly it worked.

Choosing fish, breaking it down, and fabricating sushi and sashimi slices is not as simple.

Number one with fish, is a place to buy it. When it comes to fish, you can't manufacture quality. I'm not saying you'll die from supermarket fish, but the quality is dreadful.

There's a world of knife technique obviously, but there's more to it than that. I'm very bood oriented myself, and based on my own experience with breaking fish, your best bet is probably to take a class. Words and videos can give you the information, but feedback is invaluable.

More about cutting: If you break the fish down properly, fillet it, and cut it on the right bias with a very sharp knife -- the cuts will be smooth as glass. If there's any flaw in your technique it will show up on the surface. Rough cuts are unpleasant on the tongue.

You don't have to run out and buy a deba and yanigaba; but it's very helpful to have a small, strong chef's type to use as you would a deba, and a long very sharp slicer to use as you would a yani. I can't overemphasize how important it is to have your knives SHARP!!!

BDL
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post #4 of 26
I agree with many of the books that BDL has suggested. I also suggest checking out Youtube. There are a number of good videos that show how to make sushi, some really good, some not so good, but there is a good amount of information in them.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #5 of 26

Dan:
I was a sushi-cook.
This might be helpful to you:
Sushi Chef Institute: DVDs
California Sushi Academy: Sushi Courses, Newsletter
Good luck.

chef.gif


Edited by TheUnknownCook - 12/13/10 at 4:45pm
Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something. -- The Princess Bride
Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean...
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Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something. -- The Princess Bride
Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean...
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post #6 of 26
One thing I will suggest, if I may, is going to YouTube. Search for Iron Chef battle bonito and watch that episode. Hopefully Funatsu will inspire you, not intimidate you. If you're not interested in the whole show, just watch part 3 where the sushi platter shows up.

mjb.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #7 of 26
If you like Maki rolls, get a silicon sushi mat. Honestly, it's hard to beat a Sushi Magic kit for a total nOOb. It gives you some good recipes and a near-foolproof method for rice, and the silicon sushi mat is pretty slick.

Of course, rice is the foundation of sushi. Take care to prepare it carefully.

Sushi Trainer will cost you a few buck but is a great tool. It's nice for us gaijin to learn how to pronounce Japanese words & terms, too.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ok...I've got some time to respond :)

Thanks all>>>

Gunnar, thanks for th advice. I'm sure I'll come back and review your pointers as I get constructing.

BDL, thanks. I've been doing a bit of reading online and watching various videos, but I haven't had a moment to make it to the library yet. I'll check to see if they have any of the books you mentioned.

As for fish quality and freshness, I wouldn't even attempt making sushi from items at the grocery store. I've got one (somewhat) local store that I get seafood from and one online source. Both have nice fresh and frozen selections. Although the same day air on the online vendor is quite expensive to ship.

I've got a couple of knives that I would plan on using. I've got a couple of Zwilling selections (including my 8" carving knife), my German Chef's that I use for breaking down birds and such and then my Masamoto. I'm really having fun keeping everything sharp with the EdgePro, although I don't have any polish tapes or higher stones yet.



Pete, thanks! I've been watching alot of videos and some are simply amazing. One in particular was a man preparing a cucumber for sushi. He cut the entire thing lengthwise in a thin layer all in one piece. The entire cucumber...and not one section was butchered. It was fun to watch.

I also checked out your blog, that's in your signature. Nice site and lots of useful information. Thanks for sharing...I've been reading a little at a time...but I'll get thru it all!

Hello UnknownCook :) I've been looking for sushi classes near my area with no luck so far. I will keep looking...thanks for the links!

Teamfat, thanks for the suggestion on the video to watch. I'll watch it today after the kids go to bed :) Thanks!

Hi Phaedrus :) Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take a look into the mats that you mentioned. Currently I haven't bought anything yet...I'm trying to get all of my thoughts on the same page before spending any money. Hopefully this approach will minimize money wasted :) Thanks for the help!


Thanks all!
dan
post #9 of 26
Dan - On the subject of fillings for rolls - we've been making what i think you'd call adequate sushi for a long time for functions. A pro would tut-tut here n there no doubt. But we were proud of them and the clients loved them.

To make them less "scary" for business meetings( we're only recently just developing a taste for it locally), I only used smoked salmon, parma ham, black forest ham (like parma,but strong, smoked) and vegetables. At home we use raw tuna and raw mackerel too.
I was told sushi=the rice part, so i like to find my own way round fillings. Avocado works well, as does sundried tomato,capersand cornichons cut up fine. I make omelette using mirin cut into strips and lots of spring onion,and cucumber

Like you, I just took a notion to try making it one day and popped down to our local chinese supermarket for the goodies. BTW the mats are very cheap. family and friends are now addicted.

Its great fun, and IMO if it looks right and tastes fabulous that's absolutely what counts. So long as ur not trying to be too authentic. After all it takes years to become a sushi chef.
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #10 of 26
be super careful trying that cucumber trick. you need a straight knife, razor sharp and I have seen 3 different people slice the inside of their palms attempting it. course I have also seen a sushi master do it in their hand perfectly, rather then using a cutting board. I still am not that great at it, but way better then I was:p
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post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bughut. You got what I meant by adequate. I like the ideas that you shared, especially the ones that weren't raw fish. I never gave it much thought before now, but some of your ideas would be a great way to get someone into eating sushi. Plus it would be great to have some option for those that won't touch fish (like my mom :) )

Gunnar, I have no intention on trying the cucumber sushi slicing. Well, at least not yet. No! No I won't do it. Maybe I'll just watch it again :level:

dan

edit add: Oh, I stopped by the library today to look for some sushi books. They had nothing! I mean absolutely nothing!
post #12 of 26
To give your homemade sushi extra pizazz, pick up some Furikake at a local Japanese market or sometimes you can find it at whole foods. It is dried bonito, nori, and sesame seed and will add a lot of flare and flavor to your rolls. I usually sprinkle this on the rice before flipping and filling my nori. And if you are on a low sodium diet and want to make low sodium sushi, there are two versions which have no added salt and no msg.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks sodium girl! I have got a large Asian grocery store that I go to from time to time. I like to cook alot...but this place has so many items that I've only heard of in the original Iron Chef :lol:. The amount of vegetables and types...my gosh! Meats and fish upon fish upon fish! Not to mention when the blue crab are in season they'll have a bin of those pinching guys for the hauling.

I also ran into a bit of a snag the other day going to my seafood place. It was the Monday after New Years Eve and he was sold out of everything! I mean every fresh item that he had was gone. He apologized an called his delivery guy to see when they were going to arrive, but they were running late. I suppose I would rather my fish guy be waiting on supplies of fresh fish rather than seeing the same ol' dried up fish on display.

He did have a nice tasso andouille, so I ended up making Gumbo :)


I'll try the sushi next week :thumb:

dan
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
No books so far! :mad:

I've been doing alot of reading on the internet and watching videos. So far I've been making Nigiri with wild caught salmon and yellowfin. I'm trying to cook fish on Monday/Tuesday each week, on Monday I'm trying to make some sort of sushi. Practice makes perfect...although talking sushi...practice makes adequate. With the fish I've bought so far I'm not only trying to get nice smoothly cut pieces but also pieces cut at the wrong bias. I'm hoping this allows me to not only learn what to do, but what not to do.

Today I made my first Maki roll. Wetting fingers and knife edges is certainly a must! I really didn't get that through my head when making the Nigiri, but with rolls it's a must. I got just a regular ol' sushi Mat for a couple of bucks.

Spreading the rice evenly and thinly went well. I thought I filled the roll adequately and began my roll. The roll went pretty good...and finished nice (I was surprised it turned out halfway decent). When slicing I started with my Masamoto. Perhaps not the best choice...but it's certainly my sharpest choice. I sliced half of the roll with the Masamoto and the switched to my (twin soldier) carving knife, which has a much thinner blade. One slice and I went right back to the HC knife. After slicing...theey looked pretty good. Not perfect...but decent. One thing that was quite apparent is that I didn't fill the roll with enough tuna. It seemed fine when I started...just too thin.

I can't wait to keep practicing :)

thanks all,
dan
post #15 of 26

Popular Sushi - California Roll Uramaki

Hi, I got a great sushi recipe: Popular Sushi - California Roll Uramaki

there is also a video for the recipe, can't upload here, go check at:
Popular Sushi - California Roll Uramaki - BeTheCook - Food & Cooking Recipes


Ingredients

  • Crab meat
  • 2 Avocado strips
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1 nori seaweed sheet
  • sushi rice
  • 1 sushi rolling mat
  • 1 bowl of water
Instructions


Step 1

put the rolling mat on a place with flat and smooth surface, we have covered it in cling film so it can be cleaned easily.
Lay the nori which is the seaweed on top, closest to edge that is nearest to you.

Moisten your hands in the bowl of water. Then spread a thin layer of the specially prepared sushi rice on top of the nori. Make sure the rice evenly covers the nori and press it down firmly, ensuring the rice has stuck, without mashing the kernels.
Step 2

Flip the nori over so laying rice side is down.
Place the avocado strips horizontally across the centre of the nori. Then squeeze a line of mayonnaise next to that. If you do not have a squeezy container, you can use a knife to spread a thin line instead. Place the crab on top of the mayonnaise. Make sure the fillings lie evenly as this will make fir a better roll.
Step 3

lift up the nearest side of the mat and fold it over to make a cylindrical shape. Use your fingers to tuck in the edge of the nori to make a complete roll.
Keep pressing the roll gently, using your fingers to compress and shape the Uramaki. Make sure not to press it too hard but be sure that it is in a good even size.
Step 4

In order to complete the roll, put the Uramaki in a container of roe, keep turning it until it is covered. If there is no such a large amount of roe, you could use your hands to press the roe into the roll.

Step 5

Slice the roll into two. Place the 2 sides parallel to each other, then slice them into six pieces.
TIP
Dip the end of your knife in the water bowl, it makes it easier to slice through the roll cleanly.
Step 6

Turn each slice on its side, So you to see the colours and pattern of the fillings, and the display on a serving plate.

There are more recipes are at: BeTheCook - Food & Cooking Recipes
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Just when I thought things were going well I decide to try my first attempt uramaki sushi. Things went well from the aspect of one ingredient...the wild caught tuna was quite fresh and delicious. That was the high point of the roll.

I did just refreshen my knife and it cut the tuna sooooooo nice. Clean and smooth as glass. I did, however, forget to moisten the knife when I cut the uramaki roll. As you can guess...big mistake! Well...it didn't tear them up that bad...but it did make it difficult and the end result was less than satisfying. Re-reading a few things, including this post, I can't believe I didn't catch on to what was happening.


The last maki sushi that I made turned out real nice. The only problem was the tuna was cut too thin. So this time the tuna was cut to an adequate size...and I laid a small (fake) wasabi strip next to the tuna and cucumber. Lol, now I like horseradish...but YIKES! I over did it...just a tad :lol: Speaking of wasabi...I wonder where I can find some fresh wasabi? How long does fresh wasabi keep? Hmmm...maybe I'll have to go look at the Asian grocery store for it. The fresh wasabi that I've had hits hard and then dissipates as fast as it arrived. Is all real wasabi like that?

As I said, the maki sushi went well. But I learned that uramaki wouldn't be as easy to achieve "adequacy". Something even as easy as flipping the nori with rice over on the sushi mat was a bit clumsy. My next attempt I will prepare myself better..but I may still have to make these a few times.

Well, until next week :)

dan
post #17 of 26
I have played with sushi for a bit... nothing even approaching proper maki but we enjoy it.

One thing in Chefguy's instructions caught my eye.  For a california roll, if you put the nori down on a bamboo mat, add the rice and then a layer of plastic film, then another bamboo mat on top it makes it super simple to flip the whole thing over.  Just try to make sure the plastic wrap overhangs the bamboo a little on the side closest to you so you can tuck it and keep it from getting caught up in the rolling.

Also, and I don't really know if it matters, I was told by the sushi chef at my asian market to put a bit of rice vinegar in the bowl where I dip my fingers.  Maybe overkill, but when I do as she says things tend to turn out well.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
    Thanks Charron :)  Using two mats and some plastic wrap sounds like it may help.  I'll definitely give it a try :)  Right now I only have one sushi mat, so I'll have to wait until I can get to the store to buy another one.  But I can still experiment with the plastic wrap idea in the mean time.  

     thanks for the help!
  dan
post #19 of 26
maybe try subbing in a tea towel lined with paper towel under the nori?  Its only purpose is to allow you to pick up the lot... if you use a towel just grab the short edges of towel and bamboo mat, pull outwards with just enough tension to keep it all flat, and rotate it over.

If you find the tea towel isn't staying flat enough, you could tuck chop sticks through the end seams.



Yup, and if that ain't workin jus break out the duct tape and bailin' twine....

geeps, I think all the years of 'making due with what I have' has addled me a tad
post #20 of 26
Quote:

Yup, and if that ain't workin jus break out the duct tape and bailin' twine....

geeps, I think all the years of 'making due with what I have' has addled me a tad
I'm with you.  When I was in the US Coast Guard, our un-official motto was "We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful.  We've done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."
"J'aime cuisiner avec du vin, j'ai parfois même mettre dans les aliments je suis cuisson. ""Mi piace cucinare con il vino, talvolta ho persino messa nel cibo sto cottura. ""I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking." - Julia Child 
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"J'aime cuisiner avec du vin, j'ai parfois même mettre dans les aliments je suis cuisson. ""Mi piace cucinare con il vino, talvolta ho persino messa nel cibo sto cottura. ""I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking." - Julia Child 
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post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 

    Hi all 

 

    It's been a little while since I had a chance to practice making some rolls.  I got a chance tonight to give it a try again.  Here's a few pictures of my progress.  It's not as good as I'd like it...but I'm am getting a little better.  I happy with the progress of my rice and portions inside the roll too.

 

   My wife signed me up for a sushi class in Chicago.  It's nothing big, just a two hour class covering a 5 course sushi meal.  But I figure with all the experience I've got a two hour class will be very welcome!  

 

   thanks again all...(thanks petals)

 

2010-06-09 20.35.23.jpg

 

 

2010-06-09 20.39.07.jpg

 

  dan

 

    

post #22 of 26

Dan,

 

Your sushi looks terrific ! You didn't give up and look what you  accomplished. The pics are great.

Charron is right about using vinegar (or vinegar and water) for keeping your fingertips clean and not so sticky when rolling.

 

Look forward to hearing how your course is going. Please keep us updated.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

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(161 photos)
  
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
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post #23 of 26

I know it's been a while since you posted this, but...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonefishin View Post

The last maki sushi that I made turned out real nice. The only problem was the tuna was cut too thin. So this time the tuna was cut to an adequate size...and I laid a small (fake) wasabi strip next to the tuna and cucumber. Lol, now I like horseradish...but YIKES! I over did it...just a tad :lol: Speaking of wasabi...I wonder where I can find some fresh wasabi? How long does fresh wasabi keep? Hmmm...maybe I'll have to go look at the Asian grocery store for it. The fresh wasabi that I've had hits hard and then dissipates as fast as it arrived. Is all real wasabi like that?

dan


Thin cuts: this is fine in maki rolls -- it's a question of taste. In nigirizushi, my experience in Japan is that most fish are cut a good deal thicker for nigirizushi in Japan than they are here. In part, that's because so many places here in the US use almost exclusively frozen fish or salmon, and if you cut these things too thick you'll notice the texture problems. Tuna is one of the very, very few fish that holds up well, texture-wise, to freezing. The only time you're likely to see really paper-thin fish is with something that has a very hard texture, like abalone or the infamous fugu. Otherwise fish cut too thin is a mark of a cheap place.

 

Wasabi: don't bother looking for fresh. Good fresh wasabi is very expensive and keeps badly. It does not ship well, either. There are a few places in the US and China growing it, but it's expensive and mediocre. I am told that some of the stuff in the Pacific Northwest is getting much better, but that's no help to you -- shipping is a serious problem. The cheapest I've seen good fresh wasabi in Japan is about $15 a root, and that's not top-notch wasabi by any means. Once you start in on a root, in 3 days it's shot; if you don't cut it, you've got about 2 days before it starts to go anyway. The cheap roots, on the order of $8 a root, aren't worth the price. For comparison, a wasabi root is about the size of a short, fat carrot, so that's a lot of money for not a lot of material. I would very strongly recommend that you stick to the powdered green stuff, which is what most people in Japan eat too. (Why? Because the good stuff is too expensive.) Incidentally, despite a lot of hoo-ha about authenticity, Japanese gourmets generally accept that making a sort of paste out of soy sauce and wasabi is perfectly fine so long as you're dealing with the powdered stuff -- there's no subtlety to get suppressed by this process.

 

One last thing: it's all about the rice. If you've got terrific fish and put it on second-rate sushi rice, it's a waste -- serve sashimi instead. Good sushi rice is very much the mark of the good sushi place. One Tokyo gourmet I know told me that you know a good sushi place by three things, in the following order: good rice, good fish properly cut, and good nigiri. As a result, if you're going to take the whole sushi thing seriously, I'd suggest that you make a point of going every once in a while to the best sushi place you can find, at a peculiar hour (like 3:00 in the afternoon or something), and trying to chat up the guy behind the bar. I mean, eat something, but what you want is to taste his rice, just as it is. That way you have something to compare it to in your own home product. Focus on flavor and mouth-feel. Once you can make good sushi rice, you can make brilliant home sushi of whatever kind, just by tinkering with this or that cutting, rolling, or whatever technique.

post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 

    Thanks for the help and encouragement petals 

 

 

 

 

   Thanks for taking the time to post your comments Chris.

 

   I was much happier with the size of the tuna going in my rolls this time.  In the past I was going much too thin.  Next time I try some nigiri I'll go a little thicker there too.  

 

  Wasabi:  I've only had real wasabi twice and oh my word was it enjoyable (if that makes sense???)  I haven't tried the powdered stuff yet, I'll have to get some.  Right now I have a tube of green horseradish.   I hear the Green City Market in Chicago has some fresh wasabi, but I I'll be happy to get my hands on some of the powdered.

 

  I love your suggestion about focusing on the rice when I go out for sushi.  Even though I've aways noted the rice, in various preparations.  I never focused on it quite the way your describing as a learning tool, thanks.  

 

    Do you have any suggestions on rice that has worked for you?  or perhaps slicing the tuna loin?

 

 

   thanks!

  dan

post #25 of 26

Wasabi: The only powdered wasabi I know of that contains any significant amount of the real wasabi root comes from Penzey's Spices, and is not cheap, but you can order on-line. Everything else, powdered or paste, is green horseradish. Real wasabi root is delicate and expensive, and in very high demand. Most of the time wasabi in Japan is green horseradish too, though, so don't sweat it. (Although this does make a lot of the supposedly gourmet items containing "wasabi" a bit of a joke -- "wasabi mayonnaise" is just mayonnaise with green horseradish in it, but people will pay more for it because they think it's a gourmet item.) I personally would pass on buying root wasabi unless you know someone who really knows what he or she is talking about who assures you that it is actually of very good quality. In my experience, mediocre wasabi is worse than decent powdered/paste green horseradish, because it has almost no taste. I do prefer powdered to paste, because I find that the flavor degrades somewhat over time after you make up the paste; a lot of premade pastes include stabilizers and preservatives and stuff to overcome this, and I'm not a huge fan of those either.

 

Rice: I'm basically just passing on the standard wisdom among Tokyo-ite gourmet types, who get very wound up about the rice. You may have heard that a classic haute cuisine French place can be rated by the quality of its stock, demi-glace, and roast chicken. If those are perfect, everything else will be too. In a similar way, the quality of a sushi place can largely be determined by the nigiri: if the rice is perfect and the nigiri perfectly formed, everything else is bound to be perfect too -- you can trust the chef to season everything just so. In Kyoto, by contrast, the mark of a great chef is his dashi: if the dashi is perfect, you're in the hands of a master and can just let him take care of everything.

 

My suggestions about brands and types and methods are worth nothing. I don't like sushi rice -- never have. I used to have various ideas about why this might be, but after a year in Japan I discovered that it's just a taste thing: I don't like sushi. Now sashimi, on the other hand, is something about which I could write rhapsodies. My problem isn't the fish, it's the dang rice. Well, no matter -- you and it seems more or less everyone else like sushi, so go ahead. I'm just saying it's really, really important to get the rice right. But somebody else will have to make suggestions about the hows.

 

EDIT (forgot...)

 

Tuna: Tuna is normally cut across the grain, rather thick, in rectangular slices. The usual way to do this has to do with how you block the chunk of loin. Basically when you get it whole, it looks kind of like the letter P lying on its flat side, with the grain running perpendicular --- if you draw a letter P on a piece of paper, the primary grain of the fish runs in a line through the surface of the paper and down into your table, if you see what I mean. The object is to cut this into precisely rectangular blocks without disturbing the grain. So when you look at the block you've got, you've got to figure out how it aligned with the fish in its natural state. Cut the piece along the main line of the fish, i.e. parallel to the backbone and skin, so that the blocks you produce are rectangles (or as close as you can get) with one end exactly the size you want for your slices. Then you just cut slices off that end, working from the right to the left (assuming you're a righty), fairly thick, and you'll have perfect rectangles for your nigiri.

 

Sometimes, however, the end of your fish piece will be more of a triangle. In this case, you have to work out how best to get a clean rectangle out of this triangle. The remainder will be smaller triangle-ended strips. These you can slice at an angle into medium-thin triangles, or cut into long thin strips for making pencil-thin maki rolls (usually made with a small amount of rice and half or 2/3 of a nori sheet).

 

Of course, it all depends what you like. Sushi chefs are anxious not to waste any tuna, because it costs a fortune. For them, the idea is to get as much perfectly-blocked fish for slicing and putting on nigiri (or serving as sashimi), then after every by of that has been cut, to use some triangular parts sliced thin at an angle to make little sashimi rosettes. Then the remainder go into maki, where texture matters a lot less. If you prefer maki in the first place, that changes everything. Do you follow?


Edited by ChrisLehrer - 6/12/10 at 8:50am
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

   ok...I'm still going at it.  This is a pic of my last attempt.  I tried a new way to make the rice, trying to improve.  I used a different ratio when cooking the sushi rice.  In short...it wasn't enough water and I didn't have enough sushi rice to start over.  So I added a bit more water, it didn't end well.  The whole meal wasn't horrible...but it wasn't that enjoyable knowing the mistake was so obvious to taste.  

 

  sushi2.JPG

 

   thanks again all!

  dan

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