This post is less about this vegetarian sushi bowl with teriyaki dressing and more about the fantastic International Sushi Training Workshop, hosted by The Indian Federation of Culinary Associations ( IFCA ) in association with JETRO, at ITC Gardenia, Bangalore, I attended a week ago. Imaging sitting amongst some of the biggest chefs in the country and learning the art of sushi making from the sushi master himself. I was naturally awestruck and starry eyed through most of it.
It’s not every day that I get a chance to watch and learn from someone who has probably been in the industry for as long as I’ve been on the planet. Nimble fingers, sharp wit and a sense of humour are what Chef Masayoshi Kazato demonstrated apart from a deep knowledge and expertise in seafood, Japanese cuisine and sushi making. I was at the receiving end of his quirky humour when he invited me onstage to demonstrate his razor sharp knife skills by slicing a cucumber on my arm. I couldn’t decide whether I was starry eyed, or petrified. Mostly both.
While I haven’t mastered the art of making sushi, I did come back from the workshop armed with truckloads of information and that’s what I’m going to share with you today. Here are my top ten tips if you ever attempt to make sushi:
- Japanese food is all about the ‘umami’ which isn’t just about taste, but also texture and experience. It’s important to be able to distinctly enjoy the taste of every ingredient, which is why you can taste every ingredient even in something as tightly rolled as sushi. When attempting Japanese food and/or sushi, focus on using the freshest ingredients and retaining their original flavour.
- Every action that goes into making sushi is deliberate. Something as simple as how you cut the meat can transform the taste. Experiment with different cuts and textures when attempting sushi.
- Knife skills are extremely important because you will be handling a lot of raw meat and vegetables. Using a sharp knife will ensure both safety and hygiene.
- Sushi rice should be highly polished, and handled the right way, which is to use a little water and rub the surface of the grain against each other.
- Sushi always uses short grained rice, which is boiled for a particular amount of time and treated with vinegar.
- Always use vinegar on your hands while shaping sushi, and work quickly so that the temperature of your hands doesn’t transfer to the fish. This helps maintain hygiene and kills bacteria.
- Tuna should ideally be stored at -60 degrees and sliced while it’s still frozen.
- Salmon should be rubbed with a lot of salt and left for an hour or so, after which it should be washed and treated with vinegar. This ensures salmon doesn’t release any water when you use it.
- When using cold water Mackerel, it’s important to salt it well, after which it should be marinated for at least an hour.
- Don’t attempt to use raw fish at home in sushi. Stick to vegetarian sushi as it’s difficult to control hygiene and bacteria at home.
The truth is, after finishing the workshop, I promptly went and bought all the ingredients and a sushi mat. MAJOR FAIL. Rolling sushi require skill, patience and crafty hands. Something I don’t seem to have! But the craving for sushi didn’t go away which is why this gorgeous sushi bowl, which work perfectly fine!
In fact I loved scooping forkfuls of the sushi salad and shoving them in my mouth; something I do with sushi as well. It’s everything that good sushi is all about, but without the work. That’s me – always lazy!
Thank you Ambica for graciously lending me some of your pictures when my SD Card got corrupted. Ambica attended the workshop with me and you must visit her blog to see more pictures!