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Soirée sushi

Unlike David Tennant, I love sushi! Strangely, or perhaps because of that, I have never attempted to make it myself at home. I have come across too many poor examples in my time, think M&S with their awful smoked salmon and cream cheese version, or any other supermarket offerings for that matter!

In Japan sushi is made by highly trained chefs and rarely reproduced in the home. So I have always left it to the professionals. In fact I have taken great pleasure in finding outstanding examples across the globe often with my sister Clare, my sushi partner.

Until last night that is! As I mentioned in my previous post I am currently craving Asian food, from all of this enormous continents’ countries. Probably because it is January and I am needing sunshine and heat, and this is a quick fix way of getting these. Due to Chinese New Year the supermarkets around here have a decent selection of oriental goods on their aisles. It doesn’t seem to matter that Japan is not part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, and I for my part am quite happy with this generalisation as it allows me to purchase ingredients that would otherwise not be available out here in the Corbières!

So not wanting to make a bodge job of my sushi I researched on the internet and after discounting a lot of sites, I came across this excellent tutorial. https://bit.ly/2RCp4PM by chef Thomas Reese. It is very clear and precise, covering nearly everything you need to know, including the essential know-how on slicing the fish correctly. The only thing it didn’t cover was how to cook the rice correctly, as on his packet of rice there were step by step instructions. Not so on mine! So here is a link to the recipe that I used, https://bit.ly/2S3tbDk

So how did it go? Well I was very pleased with myself for the first attempt!! Chris and Louis loved it, always a good sign. I did a selection of sushi rolls, sushi nigiri and maki rolls. I kept it simple using the easiest, and possibly least exciting of sushi fish; salmon and tuna. There is no cucumber available at this time of year so I used a combination of carrot, black radish, beansprouts and avocado. I also made a miso soup which I served alongside, which we are finishing off for lunch today!

I am not going to attempt to teach anyone how to make sushi at this early stage in my sushi career!! I really do recommend the above tutorial, and below I have posted my photos. However these are my observations which might be of use to anyone attempting to make homemade sushi:

  1. I needed slightly more water than suggested to cook the rice.
  2. I could have been more generous with the rice flavourings.
  3. I made two cups worth of rice for the 3 of us and I think in retrospect that was a lot, greedy as we were we didn’t finish it all, and probably shouldn’t have eaten all that we did!
  4. As you see in the tutorial Thomas’ work station is neat and clean, this is essential!
  5. Take the time to set up your station; a bowl of water, with cloth and sponge to wipe down as you go are a must.
  6. Sharpen your knife beforehand, and sharpen again during if need be.
  7. Always clean your knife in between cutting the sushi, you won’t regret it!
  8. Wipe down your board after each roll, and change the water bowl regularly.
  9. The hardest part about rolling for me was the clingfilm! I hate the stuff and dont usually have it in the house but as everyone recommended it I went along with it. I found it stuck to the rolls, but I believe that this is preferable to the rolls sticking to the mat! You need to tuck it underneath securely so that when you flip the seaweed and rice over it doesn’t stick to the seaweed!
  10. Cook the rice in advance but do the rolls at the last minute.
  11. Because I couldn’t track down any cucumber, even in the supermarkets, I used black radish. in retrospect I should have blanched it just to soften slightly.
  12. In my miso soup I used some smoked tofu that I had in my freezer, it was too powerful. I am not a fan of tofu at the best of times but for this soup the plain tofu would have been better.
  13. A lot of sites were recommending Siracha sauce as an accompaniment. I thought it strange being Thai, but went along with it. Don’t bother! Way too strong and spicy, it over powers the delicateness of the sushi. Kikkoman soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger are, in my opinion, the best accompaniments!

Next time I am going to try mackerel, an absolute favourite, and smoked eel if I can find a recipe.

Let me know any top tips if you have any.

Sushi rice cooked and cooling
Sushi mat covered with cling film
Market fresh tuna, patted dry and ready to cut
Pleased with my cutting, however I will definitely choose a thicker slice next time
There is quite a bit of wastage, but I shall use this for fish stock

Use your best and sharpest knife to cut the fish!
Set the mandolin to the 3rd setting and then it makes light work of shredding perfectly
Seaweed rough side up
My first ever sushi roll!
Roll and squeeze, roll and squeeze!
Et voila! Dinner
Actually we didn’t leave that much! Gourmand!!!

And we drank….. well we should have had green tea being a school night and Japanese n’all, but we didn’t! No sake to hand, we had a glass of the Fabre Famille bio Sauvignon Blanc, simple crisp, green fruits with just the right amount of acidity.

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