Monday, September 14, 2009

Sushi Night~ Making Sushi at Home

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For some reason we used to make sushi A LOT and have not made it for a LONG time...Sushi a great get together food, and we do love having people over, so I'm going to have to get back with it and start working it into the routine more! The reason we only do sushi when we have friends over is because, I can't control myself at the market and always buy a ton of fish!

I think this is one of those items that people don't think of as something to make for a dinner party. It really is fun and not too difficult to DIY, and MAKE SUSHI AT HOME!! Even if you are not into raw fish (fry some shrimp in tempura batter, or find a good recipe for tamago (the egg/omlete sushi) you can always go veggie sushi and sup carrots, asparagus, eggplant and other yummy veggies for fish if you want! Due to the nature of rolls, you don't really want to make them ahead (the moisture in the rice will make take the crispness out of the nori/seaweed), so when we do sushi I always make a menu plan and pace it out. Having plenty of yummy sake and Japanese beer on hand as well as a big bowl of steamed edamame is also a must! Just add some great friends, good music and you've got an amazing evening on your hands.

I made this dinner for a couple of friends (and Nate who was still recovering from not feeling well) earlier this year, just after New Year's Eve. Nate is sushi-master when we do this so I was a little nervous heading up the operation vs assisting him... I always like to make something special and have friends over to kick off the year ASAP every January, even if it takes me all freakin year to get around blogging about it!! As you have certainly noticed, I am back in the blogswing full time now so in addition to all the goodies we've been making lately, there will be some early 2009 throwbacks comin atcha too!!

~Menu~
Served 4
Albacore Nigiri Sushi (1 piece per person)
Albacore & Green Onion Cut Roll
Toro/Bluefin Tuna Nigiri Sushi (2 pieces per person)
Salmon Nigiri Sushi (2 pieces per person)
King Crab Leg Cut Roll with Raddish Sprouts
Spicy Tuna & Yellow Tail Cut Roll

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Making sushi is not super easy, but it is also not major surgery. I am hoping this will be a helpful guide and instruction on making it for yourself! Thankfully, I was able to find some AWESOME videos courtesy of Le Miu's Sushi that really make this much easier to get with.

I will update this soon with details and photos from a more-recent sushi session, but here's the basic rundown. I am also hoping to take a knife-skills class before the end of the year, and can't wait to see how much better it will be the next time we do sushi.

OK, first and foremost, you are working with raw fish, so CLEAN THAT KITCHEN, even if it's clean already, clean it again!! You will want to use a lot of vinegar and lemon juice to get the kitchen, cutting board and all surfaces super clean (and not all chemical'ly).

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Here is the "stuff" you are going to need.
A non porous cutting board (I always wipe it down with a damp towel splashed with a little vinegar/lemon)
A SUPER SHARP knife, for fish
Another very sharp knife for veggies
2 clean dish towels, one dry and one you will want to get damp with water, splash it with vinegar and fold it to lay the blade of your knife on when not slicin', and to wipe the fish knife after each use.
A bowl with water and a splash of vinegar for dippin your fingers so the rice dosen't stick to em.
Saran wrap
A large bowl (and small-holed collander or strainer) for washing the rice
If you want to make rolls, there are bamboo sheets for rollin those up and you will need one- cover it in saran wrap.
Plates for servin, and little bowls for soy sauce!
I use a rice cooker, but you can use a pot on the stove too..
A BIG non-metal bowl and plastic or wooden spoon to "toss" the rice while cooling it to room temp

The items you'll need from the market~
Ginger
Wasabi (we get the powder and make it by adding water, it also comes all mixed in a tube)
Soy Sauce
Smelt eggs
White sushi rice
Rice Vinegar
White sugar
Salt
Sesame seeds
Nori (sheets of seaweed)
Siracha hot sauce
Kewpie Japaneese Mayo
Cucumber
Avocado
Radish sprouts
Fish* YOU WILL NEED TO GO TO A SUSHI FISH MARKET, we go to MITSUWA, or Nijiya....this is RAW FISH, don't leave it out- follow the instructions below of keeping it in the refrigerator when not slicing or eating it. Do as much research as you'd like before attempting this outside of a restaurant. I am in no way endorsing that you do this, just sharing our experience of doing it. Also, if you are pregnant or have any other food allergies please consult your doctor.

Start by taking care of all the prep work, and setting up your dojo so that as soon as your rice is made, mixed and cooled- it won't be such a big deal to assemble the rolls and get to the best part- EATING!!

You'll want as much counter space as possible (not an easy task in our apartment kitchen). I use the large cutting board as the center piece to the operation and set up the knives, dry towel, vinegar dippin bowl and prepped food items all around the board. This way everything is at arms length and makes the whole process easier.

Now, get your sushi rice started...
It is true that this is really the most difficult part of making sushi- getting the rice just right. In Japan, craftsmen apprentice for years before they officially take over making the rice, it's serious stuff. I am so happy I was able to find these videos on www.5min.com, they are incredible helpful and I feel like it is much clearer to just watch exactly what to do!! The rice will take about an hour to cook (20 minutes cooking, 20 resting in cooker then mixing with sushi vinegar and cooling) So you can pace your prep accordingly!




For the menu above, the food prep entails:
Slicing the fish for the Nigiri sushi.
This would be really hard to type out an explanation for- we just happen to go out to sushi A LOT and sit at the bar A LOT so we've watched sushi chef slice up many, many, many meals.
I think it's best to watch someone do this first hand so here is some assistance from Le Miu's Sushi, which has AWESOME, very helpful videos- like this one below (I just slice a little thicker for the sushi pieces and a little thinner for sashimi pieces, but the technique is the same...)



Slice up your fish, plate it wrap with saran and refrigerate until it's go-time.

Remove the shell from the crab legs, shred the crab meat, mix it in a small glass bowl with a little bit of the Kewpie Mayo and a 1/2 tsp of smelt egg. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are going to make this roll...

Chop up the albacore for the albacore garlic roll. In a glass bowl mix chopped albacore, 1-2 tsp Kewepie mayo, 1 T chopped garlic, a big pinch of sesame seeds and some thinly sliced green onion. Cover with plastic wrap, fridge, yada-yada-yada...

Chop up the yellow tail and tuna for the spicy sushi rolls and put each in a glass bowl. To each bowl add 1/2 tsp smelt egg, 1-2 tsp Kewpie mayo, add the siracha hot sauce in dashes, stirring after each dash until it reaches your desired level of spicydom. Add a pinch of sesame seeds to each bowl, mix all ingredients in each bowl- plastic wrap + frige...

Prep all the veg....
Cut each avocado, then into thin slices, squeeze a lemon over lightly to keep it from browning.
Thinly slice up 4 green onions.
Cut the root bottom off the radish sprouts, rinse them thoroughly, pat dry and place on the side in a bowl.
Place a small bowl filled with wasabi to the side of the cutting board too.
Cut the ends off the cucumber, cut it in half width wise, then in half length wise, then into thin spears.

OK, you are ready to ROLL.
Get your serving dishes ready, and once again, enjoy these super-helpful videos!!



This next video is a roll we did not make this time, but it's another easy one to add to your menu!! For the spicy rolls on my menu, and the albacore-garlic roll, exclude the wasabi and just scoop the filling onto the rice where he is placing the tuna slices.



As I said, I tend to pace this out- start with some nigiri, and when it's ready to serve we all eat together, talk a little, then I hop up to make the next item...I like this because the dinner process is a little longer which is fun and gives us all time to catch up and enjoy! Feel free to email me ANY questions you may have on this post!! beth@sweetlifekitchen.com

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1 comment:

The Phou's said...

MMMMMMMMMM...........albacore is my favorite - that picture makes me want to drive over to your house right now. If I'm there when you get home...you'll know why!