Let’s not fool ourselves, making good sushi is not easy. Good chefs in Japan spend years learning to work in a restaurant, and assembling makis, nigiris, or temakis requires some expertise in cutting and assembling rice and fish.
Even in Japan it is not customary to make sushi at home: it is preferred to take this in restaurants, as it is there where they have the necessary infrastructure to offer different types of fresh fish and prepare all the time.
But who said fear? On the occasion of International Sushi Day, the Norwegian Seafood Council has organized a showcooking in which various sushi chefs, from Spain and Japan, have given us their tips for making this dish, using salmon.
A first-time fish, for first-time users
This fish, now present in all Japanese restaurants, was incorporated very late into the Japanese sushi offer. Traditionally, salmon arriving in Japan was not used raw, but cooked.
Norwegian salmon finally began to be exported to Japan in 1995: salmon sushi was not made before
In 1985, the Norwegian Government created the “Project Japan”, with which it was intended to introduce more products in the Japanese country. And it was the trade delegates from the Scandinavian country who convinced Japanese sushi chefs that their fish was ideal for cooking raw.
Norwegian salmon finally began to be exported to Japan in 1995 and it soon spread to the restaurants of the archipelago, due in part to the fact that, as it is always aquaculture, it is possible to cook without the risk of anisakis even without freezing – a practice that is not allowed in Spain, but it is allowed in Japan.
Regardless of the taste preferences of each one, salmon is a good fish with which to start making sushi, since having large loins is easier to cut than other fish, and it is not so delicate, which makes the task much easier.
A dish that must be planned well
The first thing to be clear about when preparing sushi is that we are cooking with raw fish, which forces us to take extreme hygiene measures.
If mise en place is important in almost any recipe, when it comes to sushi it becomes critical
Insist on it Masayoshi Kazato, president of the World Sushi Skills Institute Japan (WSSI), who explains to us in a video that hygiene is the first thing to consider when working in a sushi bar.
Chefs always work with a bowl of water and vinegar, in which they wash their hands every time they handle a piece, and all the knives and dishes are constantly kept clean.
If the mise en place is important in almost any recipe, when it comes to sushi it becomes critical, since everything must be prepared and consumed almost instantly and in a very orderly way.
Before cooking You must have the fish ready (which you must remove at the time of the refrigerator), the nori seaweed and the mat for the makis, the vegetable garnishes already cut and prepared, the bowl with water and vinegar, plastic wrap, the necessary dishes for plate and a sharp knife. In addition to, of course, rice, which is another critical point in the process.
The importance of rice
Although we use the word “sushi” to refer to all kinds of Japanese preparations based on raw fish, the truth is that the word specifically designates any dish in which vinegary rice is used.
It is important to have the sushi rice ready between half and an hour before cooked, so that it is not hot, but we do not have to put it in the fridge, where it dries and loses its elasticity.
The chef Hung Fai has shared with us his recipe for sushi rice, which you can follow from the link or from this video.
Let’s do it
The new normal forces us to follow the showcooking on video, and without the tranquility that would be appreciated in a class like this. But, despite being run over Trying to follow Fai’s directions, taking photos, and noting some other important details, we have been very happy with our first sushi.
These recipes are easy to follow for any hobbyist And, since we are not making sushi to serve in a restaurant, we can afford certain mistakes. It does not matter that the maki does not close well or the cuts of the fish are far from perfect: if the fish is reliable and the rice is good, the sushi will be delicious.
Although in the recipes we indicate the weight of the ingredients – which the organization has provided us – the truth is that we have done everything by eye, and it seems almost impossible to do it any other way, since everything must be assembled by hand.
1. Salmon nigiris
In my opinion, make nigiris it is much easier than making makisWell, you get rid of the process of rolling the seaweed, and they are the same if not richer. So it’s one of the best sushis to start with.
Take about 15 g of rice with your hand and form a kind of elongated meatloaf. If the rice is well done it will be compact without having to crush it too much. Ideally, the grain of rice should not break. Cut a slice of salmon of about 20 g, about half a centimeter thick, about two centimeters wide, and a little longer than the rice ball. With your hand, place the slice in such a way that it covers the rice. Serve with the fish face up, accompanied by soy, wasabi and marinated ginger.
2. Salmon makis
Makis are perhaps the most popular form of sushi, in which the rice and fish are rolled in a nori seaweed. For its preparation you need a mat to make makis. Achieving a perfect shape has its intricacies, but achieving edible pieces that don’t come apart when eating with chopsticks is relatively straightforward.
Ingredients for eight units: half a sheet of nori seaweed, 80 g of sushi rice, 50 g of salmon in strips. Soy sauce, marinated ginger and wasabi to taste to accompany.
Elaboration: First, cover the mat with film to make makis. This allows us to keep the mat clean, which is then a hassle to wash. Split the nori seaweed sheet in two (just fold it several times and break it by hand). Place it on one end of the mat and spread out the rice, leaving a couple inches free at the end. Cut a strip of salmon, the length of the seaweed and about an inch wide, and place it in the middle. You can also add avocado or any other vegetable, but we have not done it. Roll up the mat, starting with the rice part, pressing very gently until it forms a roll. Then, on a board, cut the maki into individual portions. For these quantities, eight units must come out. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and the marinated ginger.
3. Uramakis of salmon, avocado and carrot
We are already going with the most complicated sushi of those proposed. The uramakis are nothing but makis made upside down, so that the seaweed is inside and the rice is outside. In this case, we have also put more salmon on top that, if you have a kitchen torch, we invite you to lightly brown. They seem difficult to make, but if you get the makis this is a piece of cake.
Ingredients: half a sheet of nori seaweed, 100 g of cooked sushi rice, 50 g of salmon, two slices of avocado, two strips of julienned carrot.
Elaboration: Place the nori seaweed on the mat as if to make a conventional maki, but this time fill it whole with rice, leaving no gap. Once the rice is spread, use the same mat to completely turn the seaweed over. Now, on the seaweed, place the salmon strip, the avocado and the carrot, and roll the urumaki. The rice will be on the outside and the garnish on the inside. Top with sashimi-cut salmon and cut into eight portions.
4. Salmon sashimi
We leave this preparation for the end, which we cannot qualify as sushi, since it does not have rice, but it is by far the easiest to make. We know as sashimi the raw fish cut without any other accompaniment than the soy sauce or the wasabi in which we will dip it. Now, there are different ways to present it.
To make it look more, Fai invites us to serve it on a bed of julienned vegetables, that give volume to the plate. We have used cucumber and carrot, to which we have added the marinated ginger, but any other combination can be used.
Ingredients: 250 g of salmon fillet, half a cucumber, a carrot, marinated ginger, soy sauce and wasabi.
Elaboration: On a large plate, place a mountain of cucumber and carrot cut in fine julienne strips (it was not very fine for me, it must be said) and arrange the sashimi slices on it. To achieve a good cut, the ideal is to extract a kind of ingot from the salmon loin, which is perfectly rectangular, and make slices between 4 millimeters and one centimeter thick. In Spain it is common to see very fine sashimi, but if the fish is good, as in this case, the slices can be cut very wide, to enjoy all its flavor with more intensity. Accompany the dish with soy sauce, wasabi and marinated ginger.
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