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March 5th, 2010


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04:08 pm - Sushi class (finished now, I think)
Hoppie and I did a sushi making class in Boston this weekend at Sea To You in Brookline. We bought coupons for the class @ Groupon when they did a half off special. So instead of 60$/class, it was 30.

The class was set up this way:
The first half, he gave us general information about various techniques and ingredients.
Then he demonstrated what we'd be making. Then we made it. (More on results as appropriate)
We had a great time, but I will clearly be needing practice, particularly with the inside-out rolls.

For clarity, I'm going to combine my general notes from both classes, rather than repeat them repeatedly.

1. Use the right kind of rice. Sticky, short grain rice: Kokubo, Calrose, or Nishiki
2. Use a rice cooker. If your rice cooker burns the rice on the bottom, you can get a a net that you can put under rice (cooker?) so it doesn't burn
3. Know how much rice to make. One cup of uncooked rice will make 1.5-2 maki rolls (seaweed, rice, and filling rolled) , 15 nigiri (topping laid on top of rice "ball") , or 8 temaki (hand rolls - rice and filling wrapped in nori in a cone-like shape)
3. Rinse 2/3 times in a strainer.
4 Soak in the rice cooker for 30 minutes in cold water. (Brown rice will need to soak longer)
5. Steam the rice Generally the water should be about an inch above the rice, but follow rice cooker directions.
6. After steaming, leave rice for 30 minutes, do not uncover!
7. After 30 minutes, Put into a plastic or glass container, not metal (non-reactive).
8. Add vinegar mixture (see next section) at a ratio of 4 cups rice : 1 cup vinegar; stir to coat; cool. You can use a fan to cool faster.


Sushi vinegar is:
1 part sugar: 1 part salt: 5 parts rice wine vinegar (My notes say only use rice wine vinegar, but hoppie has a desire to try apple cider vinegar to see what that tastes like)
You can buy the vinegar prepared or make your own and store it to use as needed.
Ph level should be 4.6% - 4.25%.
Add the vinegar to the rice at a radio 4 cups uncooked rice : 1 cup vinegar.
Add vinegar when rice is still hot. Then cool rice.

Use the rice right away if possible, although it can be stored for up to 24 hours.


Vegetables: Cut vegetables to 1/4" strips. Wash and dry thoroughly.
For cucumbers, remove seeds. before cutting into strips.
Refrigerate after cutting to remove excess water.
Spinach should be blanched in hot water.
Safety tip: wash vegetables in lightly chloroxed water solution for 1 minute and rinse throughly for optimum sanitation.

Fish: Three types of fish:
Raw fish:
Some fish do not have parasites naturally: blue fin, big eye and yellow fin tuna can be eaten fresh.
Farm-raised fish can be eaten fresh.
Must go frozen if parasites likely.
Try to find locally farm-raised, or Scottish salmon.

I can skip the shellfish section because I'll never need it, but I'll add these tips. Most of them are in portions and your shrimp should always be cooked. Sear or blanch scallops (and dry thoroughly) Use only unbleached w/ chemicals (ie: naturally harvested).

Smoked fish: salmon, tuna etc.

When buying sushi grade fish, know the following:
Sushi grade fish should be kept entirely separate from the cooking fishes. Separate knives, cutting boards and ideally display cases.


Wear gloves when making sushi. Use a little vegetable oil to keep your hands from being too sticky. (soybean oil is good)
Split nori sheets in half for making rolls
Rice always goes on the rough side.

Spicy sauce is made by combining 1:1 hot chili sauce with mayonnaise


Wrap your mat in plastic to keep rice from getting sticking in it.
Prep and gather your ingredients before you start to roll.

For normal maki, take a snowball sized ball of rice.
Press on rough side of nori. Cover the nori sheet. Do not smash rice or push rice around on nori excessively. Place your palm on the edge of nori sheets and push rice against palm to make a "mountain" at the edges. Make sure edges are covered completely.
Fip nori over, so shiny side is facing up.
Add fillings.
Roll using thumb under mat and four fingers on sushi.
Make initial roll and squeeze with cat claws to hold shape.
Continue rolling and press into square shape.
Push maki to either side (left or right) and press the rice and fillings in to make a nice end. Move roll to the other side of the mat and press other side.
Remove mat.
Slice sushi with gentle sawing motion in the center.
Place the two pieces next to each, with original ends on the same side, and make rest of the slices through both pieces.

Jumbo roll:
Follow same as for maki, only place nori on mat so that short ends are front and back instead of right and left sides. Fill the roll with jumbo amount of toppings. When you roll, instead cat paws, use tiger claws (wider roll). Use 1 slice.

Slicing options:
Instead of straight slicing, you can slice on the diagonal.
Slice sushi and half and place rolls next to each other, with the ends aligned.
Cut off ends with straight cut.
Then cut diagonally and sit up on flat end to serve.

Inside out roll:
Place rice 2/3rds of the way on nori sheet. Mound edges as usual. Create a well in the rice to contain the filling Add filling.
Roll same way. Rolls will be smaller.
Try to get the filling in the center.
Hoppie did very well at this. I did not. Bleh. More practice required!



Place a triangle like blob of rice on the starting side. In the lower opposite corner, place a plug of rice to seal the roll.
Add filing on rice.
Fold nori up, to make the initial cone point.
Then roll towards plug, so plug ends up around them middle of the cone.
Press.
(Yeah, this one more easily demonstrated visually, but it's actually really easy.)
I was sorta depressed by how easy it was, given that I don't generally like hand-rolls with their unsatisfying nori:rice:filling ratio.
Hoppie didn't have quite the easy time. I think he had a harder time changing directions. First roll of the hand roll is up, and the rest are down towards the rice plug.



Use a sharp knife. Chill fish in freezer to make it easier to cut
Cut large pieces into 4 fingers width sized to make it easier to work with.
lay on paper towel for added stability.
Towel dry fish is moist.
Use entire knife to make a single clean cut. (no sawing. This is different than creating maki where a gentle sawing is needed to avoid shredding the nori)
Cut against the grain
For sashimi, use thick pieces
For negiri, thin pieces
With tuna, a very thick fish, slice to the right height (maybe three slices needed?)
Bottom slice of tuna has fiber, is not good for negiri. Scrape fiber off with spoon and chop for maki

roll rice into cylinder. then press ends in to give a polished look. Lay fish on top and press into fish by pressing the sides. Fish should hug the rice.
Cut nori into strips to use as "ties" To tie negiri lay middle of strip on top of fish and press around to meet under the rice. Should stay in place.
(at least it did pretty easily for us.) We both did pretty well at the rice and fish part, but we definitely need to practice our knife work more.

And that was sushi school. We still have to go for the third class.
They haven't posted our pictures (that I've seen yet), but if i see them on facebook, I'll take them.
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