A few fun facts on sushi... originally the seasoned rice found in sushi was used only as a preservative for the fresh fish in China...not Japan; Sushi chefs (mostly men, huh?) used to train for ten years before being able to work in restaurant...while now they train for about two years; The Japanese eat miso soup AFTER the meal to aid digestion...not before as in America.
The history of sushi and some hands on technique for making maki, or sushi rolls, were served up at the CTbites Sushi Making Class at Matsu Sushi on November 16th.
CTbites Invites gave 25 lucky sushi fans an introduction to Basic Sushi Making by Matsu owner Paul Teoh and his staff of experienced sushi chefs. The class began with basic instruction as to the making of the seasoned rice, one of the most important ingredients for good sushi. Made in a rice cooker and seasoned with a combination of vinegar and sugar, the rice is kept moist and at room temperature.
Cucumbers were sliced into strips and shiso, or Japanese mint, was cut up into small pieces. A sheet of seaweed paper was handed out to the group (don’t forget to cut these sheets in half!).
We were then instructed to open our bamboo roller to begin the careful assembly of a kappa maki, or cucumber roll...just the right amount of rice...flattened almost to the edges of the seaweed paper, cucumber and shiso near bottom center...and the intro to rolling began!
Well...sort of....the first attempts were a little bulky as we learned not to over stuff with either rice or other ingredients. The rice got a little sticky so we had to wet our fingers with water to spread it out properly, but by the second and third we had established a basic proportion of rice to fillings...
And then it was time to start really creating our own sushi masterpieces....a huge tray was presented by sushi chef, Son, as he demonstrated the art of making some of the more complicated rolls using cut up tuna, salmon, crab stick, fish roe, spicy tuna, avocado, panko bread crumbs and spicy mayo.
He explained the importance of a sharp knife and showed us how to cut the roll into the traditional six pieces and position properly on plate for presentation. The reason most sushi chefs are men is because the original knives were actually samurai warrior swords!
And rolls we made! Each one better looking than the last, as we rolled tuna, avocado and cucumber and then sprinkled the top with fish roe, panko, and dribbled with spicy mayo. A few were Matsu Sushi worthy...I think...
Maybe we need to create a special CTbites roll to add to the menu! If you missed this class, watch for next Sushi Making class offering in the New Year!
Matsu Sushi is located at 33 Jesup Road in Westport, CT.