Thursday, October 15, 2020
7 PM CDT
David Reed, Instructor
Do you miss eating sushi but don’t want to go out to a restaurant these days? Would you like to learn how to make sushi at home? Dave Read has been making delicious sushi at home for family and friends for over ten years, and will show you how get started. The class will cover what equipment and supplies you need, where to find fish, and how to make both nigiri and rolls. It’s easier than you think, and even the ugly results are edible.
Knife: for making sushi you need a VERY sharp knife. There is no such thing as “too sharp” for this. If you have a yanagiba knife, great but it’s not essential. Regardless, do yourself a favor and sharpen your knife before using it for sushi.
Sushi rolling mat (makisu): Only buy bamboo mats – do not accept the plastic ones. The bamboo mats come in two types: 1) flat on one side, round on the other, 2) tiny little dowels, round on both sides. I strongly prefer type (1) but lots of people like type (2). Here is an Amazon
link to a kit that includes both types so you can make up your own mind:
Cutting board: get a decent Teflon cutting board. It’s essential for sanitary purposes, but will also help keep your knife sharp. You can get these for ultra cheap at an Asian market, but here is an Amazon link so you know what I’m talking about: https://www.amazon.com/Commercial-Plastic-Cutting-Board-NSF/dp/B01LXE0PBV/
Small plates for eating sushi: any plate will do, but if you get into making sushi, a japanese-style plate will make serving it more fun. Here are some links:
- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0013QWP62/ (set with serving plates and sauce bowls)
- https://www.akazuki.com/collections/japanese-plates/sushi-plates (I especially love the looks of the Kokuryu plates, but they are sized more for serving. Also check out the Torifuji plates)
Small bowls for soy/wasabi: usually round but sometimes square, your dinner guests need a place to mix their soy and wasabi
Serving plate(s) for serving the sushi: usually larger rectangular plates, it’s common to serve sushi on a plate and people pick their pieces from it.
Chopsticks: in Japan, sushi is traditionally eaten with the hands, but here in America many people prefer to use chopsticks. Your call on whether you want to buy chopsticks or not.
Standard kitchen gear: you will need measuring cups, sauce pans, etc.
Fish: of course, the heart of the meal. The discussion of what fish to buy could run for hours but let’s start simple: go to Central Market or a good Asian market (I prefer Hana World on Parmer Lane, or Asahi Imports on Burnet Road) and buy frozen sushi-grade fish, either tuna or salmon. Or both. We will talk about fish during the video class. If you are at an Asian market, also look for a small package of masago (“mah-SAH-goh”), which is the little teeny orange fish eggs. This is not critical, but masago is a common ingredient in rolls so if you have it you can use it.
Sushi rice: Unless you buy it at an Asian market, you usually only have one choice: Nishiki brand sushi rice. Just buy Nishiki – it’s good quality rice, not expensive, and does not require any special skills to make it. DO NOT use plain old kitchen rice; sushi rice is special, and your results with even premium-quality basmati rice will not “feel” right when you eat it. For cooking the rice, follow the instructions on the bag, with one small change: IMO they have you rinse the rice way too much. Two rinses is all you need. If you over-rinse the rice, it won’t be sticky enough when you go to use it.
Wasabi: We all know about wasabi – the hot green paste that makes your nose sting. What you probably don’t know about wasabi is that it’s entirely likely that you have never had real wasabi. 99% of the powdered green “wasabi” you buy contains no actual wasabi; it’s all a mixture or horseradish, mustard, and green food coloring. You can, in fact, buy powdered freeze-dried wasabi, but I have never seen any of it in Austin. I’ll save you the trouble: if you are OK with the horseradish stuff, just buy it. It’s what most people think of as wasabi anyway. If you want to try “real” wasabi, buy one of these:
• https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0048KIQ90/ Sushi Sonic is pure “real” wasabi. It’s not as hot as the horseradish-based products, and has a darker, earthier flavor. IMO this one is the closest thing I have found to “nama wasabi,” (freshly-grated wasabi root).
• https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UKCN75I/ Both of my tasters preferred this to the Sushi Sonic product, but I prefer the Sushi Sonic. This is “real” wasabi as well, but it’s SUPER HOT and a little brighter in flavor than the Sushi Sonic. Not saying I disliked
this one, just that I have a slight preference for the Sushi Sonic.
You can also buy pre-made wasabi paste in little tubes. I do not recommend any of these. They’re all horseradish products, and they are much squishier than I like my wasabi. The pastes will do in a pinch, but I have a strong preference for the powdered products.
BTW if you want to try nama wasabi, I am aware of only two places in Austin that serve it: Musashino and Uchi. IMO if you want a sushi dinner, Musashino is the better choice. If you want a fabulous Japanese fusion meal, Uchi is the top dawg. Either way, be sure to ask your
server for nama wasabi (“NAH-mah wah-SAH-bee”). It usually costs a dollar or two, but it’s totally worthwhile and it’s an eye-opening experience.
Soy sauce (shoyu): The importance of soy sauce to sushi cannot be overstated. The thing is, there are literally dozens of soy sauce brands to choose from. You really have to find your own favorite. I will start off by telling you I think Kikkoman is garbage. We did a big blindfolded taste test a few years back of roughly a dozen different soy sauces, and Kikkoman came in dead last on every taster’s list. The big winner was San-J Tamari Soy, which is not a traditional soy at all. Traditional soy sauce is a blend of soy and wheat. Tamari is 100% soy, and you can usually find it in a gluten-free variety even at your local HEB. Here’s the rub, though, tamari is super concentrated compared to regular soy sauce. If you’re going to use tamari, I recommend cutting it 3:2 (or even 1:1) with water. That’s 3 parts tamari, 2 parts water.
Pickled Ginger (gari): This is a nice-to-have rather than must-have, but it’s really nice. Most gari (“GAH-ree”) is dyed pink, but the traditional stuff is a pale yellow with maybe a little hint of pink. The pink stuff is OK, but Central Market sells the better quality stuff in little 2-ounce cups in the same cooler where they have prepared sushi. If you’re going to go to the trouble of buying gari, buy this.
Rice vinegar: Again, there are lots of varieties out there. Get an unseasoned rice vinegar. Nakano and Marukan are both total respectable and easy to find at HEB or Central Market.
Seaweed wrappers (nori): when you order a sushi roll, it come wrapped in nori. As far as I can tell, all the sushi-style nori you find is more or less interchangeable. That is, I have not found it to make a detectable difference in the quality of the rolls. The Asian markets have lots of choices, but Central Market carries some and so do many of the HEB locations in town.
Just beware that there is a HUGE difference between “snack” nori and sushi nori. Snack nori is often cut into little 4”x3” rectangles, and is toasted and salted. It tastes great, but is totally unusable for sushi. You want sushi nori, which is much larger (8”x7”), untoasted, and unsalted.
Vegetables: You don’t need a bunch of veggies for nigiri (rice ball + slice of fish) sushi, but you will need them for maki (rolls). There are loads of veggies in use at a sushi restaurant, but for home usage you will need:
• Green onions
• Seedless cucumber (the really long ones)
There’s some prep work to do on the veggies, but we will cover it in class. Just make sure you have a carrot peeler – we will use it on both the cucumber and the celery.
Sesame seeds: This is an optional thing and we probably won’t need it for the class, but many sushi rolls have sesame seeds in them. If you plan to buy sesame seeds, (a) they need to be the toasted kind, and (b) you will want both black and white sesame seeds.
White vinegar: just the plain old buy-it-by-the-gallon stuff. It’s not really an ingredient but we will be making tezu (“TAY-zoo”) in the class. Tezu is a 50/50 miz of white vinegar and water, used on your hands (and knife) to make the rice not stick to them.