It's almost Christmas! Yesterday I learned how to make sushi. It was one of the most interesting activities I have taken part of while in Japan, and I feel lucky my Japanese friends invited me to join this exclusive little Shimokitazawa fete, dubbed: "Sushi, like you've never experienced". Literally, my friends admitted they never actually made it, as it's not something Japanese families commonly make at home: it's a complicated process and most often they go out to eat it.
I met my lovely friends Mayumi and Ikuko at the supermarket, where we stocked up on fresh fish: red tuna, salmon, sea urchin, white fish, shrimp, as well as other items such as fish eggs, omelet, avocado, wasabi, radish roots, and seaweed.
We cooked a big portion of rice in the rice maker, to which we added a mix of dashi, rice vinegar, and salt. We cut up all the fish in thick slices and presented it, along with the garnish, on plates. The fish preparation is the longest part, but once it's ready, the fun begins. We even accessorized by wearing towels around our heads, the traditional garment worn by Japanese fish industry workers.
Here's how it works:
First, we dip our fingers in warm water, then take a small handful of rice (less than palm-sized), and shape it using two fingers to pat it.
Second, we add a dash of wasabi on the rice.
Third, we top it with a piece of fresh fish.
Finally, we dip into shoyu (soy sauce) and eat it using our fingers (traditionally, no chopsticks are required for eating sushi).
We also made California rolls, using strips of seaweed to hold ingredients (such as tuna, avocado and radish roots), and created new kinds, such as omelet + salmon, which were perplexing but delicious. We accompanied the meal with copious amounts of beer, and had a bit of vanilla cake for dessert to celebrate Christmas.
Fresh fish, garnish and beer: sushi essentials
It was such an amazing and scrumptious time, and an unforgettable cultural experience. Thank you!!