The other night a friend and I attended a sushi making course put on by a local recreation centre. I love eating sushi so I thought the next step should be to try to figure out how to make it. It looked hard, but what did I know?
We were told in advance of the class to bring a sharp knife, cutting board and apron, but they also should have suggested that we bring Tupperware to take our sushi creations home in. I guess I had been expecting that we would eat as we went along, but not so! (I purposely hadn’t had dinner in expectation of this and so was hungry!)
Our teacher had a fantastic sunny personality and so it was fun to be part of her class. She gave us all printed instructions on how to make the sushi rice but then we pretty much immediately got right down to doing it ourselves. We made the rice, added the special vinegar to it, and then set it out to let it cool. We prepared our vegetables and imitation crab and tuna. Nothing raw was on the menu, I suppose to cater to the people that don’t like raw sushi. (I do, so I’ll have to do that on my own soon!)
Next up it was time to learn how spread the rice onto the nori (dried seaweed sheets). We laid out our small sushi-making bamboo mats and placed a half sheet of nori on it. We then wet our hands (important for avoiding rice sticking to them), gathered some of the rice up in our hands into an avocado-shaped ball and then started to spread it on the nori. The rice is very sticky so it was a little hard to spread it out evenly, but once completed it was very easy to turn the nori sheet upside down and have the rice stick to the bottom (so the nori was on top). We were following this technique to make an ‘inside-out roll’. Then we laid our meat and vegetables on the nori and used the bamboo mat to roll it all up. There is a bit of a trick to it, but most of us seemed to get the hang of the technique the first time.
It was so thrilling to see my perfect little roll hanging out there waiting to be cut into maki pieces. Yum. I think the hardest part was making sure that when cutting the roll apart we didn’t squish the roll and mess it all up. I realized my knife probably wasn’t sharp enough and kept having to wash the sticky rice goo off of it before I made another cut. That aside, it was very easy to complete my first roll and was really pleased with how it looked!
The whole course was three hours and during that time our teacher showed us how to make inside-out rolls (as described) and outside-in rolls (nori on the outside) and cone rolls (which I didn’t do because I find the nori hard to bite through in such a large piece and thought I would probably never make a roll on my own because of this). We experimented with our ingredients and prepared the kinds of rolls we wanted to make, getting some more practice.
It was really great to realize that sushi-making isn’t really all that hard and that you don’t need very many specialty tools to be able to do it. Some ingredients may need to be purchased, such as black sesame seeds, fish roe, nori and the special vinegar sauce, but all of that can be found at a Japanese grocery. Apparently Fujiya is a great place to go here in Victoria, and I plan to check it out soon.
Now I’m looking forward to having a sushi party to put my skills into practice!