Thursday, 7 January 2016

Sushi & Maki

Xaviar has been pestering Chef for two or three months now, about having time to learn how to make sushi and maki. It has become a bit of a personal obsession. He just won't quit !

So, now that the Christmas rush has died down, we've taken our first week back to fulfill Chef's promise that we would make time to teach and learn these two techniques.

Making the rice is easy. In Theory...

Measure 1 unit of rice and 1.5 units of water into a saucepan. Add a couple of pinches of salt. Heat quickly to a boil, then stir ONCE and turn the heat down. Slam on the tight lid and wait 17 minutes (no more, no less), and then remove from the heat and stir with a wooden spoon. Add in a little 'Sushi Su'
(rice vinegar with a teensy amount of sugar dissolved in) and stir to combine. Allow to cool. Shazam ... sticky rice at your service.

Making the rice In Practice is not so easy.

The biggest temptation is to open the lid and peek, or (worse) peek and stir! Chef has lost a good deal more hair trying to get everyone to stop peeking!!! Let the heat do its thing for you, he says, and don't bother the product!!!!!

Le Chef A Toujours Raison.
The Chef is always right.

Leave the rice alone.

Then ...

Making sushi is dead-simple. Take enough rice to make a little pillow into your hands after you've got them wet with cold water and given a big hollow clap to get micro-droplets everywhere on your hands.
Form a nice bite-sized pillow and put it down and flatten slightly. Use the sharpest knife you own with a long blade to cut the chosen fish appropriately into a morsel which will cover the pillow-top and be about 1/2 a centimetre thick. Before placing the fish on the rice, smear on a little wasabi. The only real option at this point is to wrap, or not, with a little nori (dried seaweed, sold in sheets).

Making maki involves preparing vegetables and fish beforehand into long thin strips. Chef has a special julienne peeler
that everyone had a chance to try out. We used imitation crab (because of cost concerns).

Chef always encourages students to try every thing in the kitchen, and raw fish was no different. He finally hit the wall though ... about half of the students just said NO. They did relent later, but the starting point was not auspicious.

Chef demonstrated how to roll maki using a roller wrapped in plastic wrap (so nothing sticks). Turn, curl, squeeze and tug back towards yourself.
Do this several times as you roll the nori with the rice on it which has thin strips of veg or seafood laid onto it. The idea is to have a nice tight roll that has a pleasant end-profile.

Students took over and ... here are the results ... Xaviar first.

Congratulations, everyone!

Thanks to Jenn Martone for these wonderful shots!

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