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October 25, 2002 - Image 97

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

An assortment of sushi: Cucumber
Maki, Tuna Temaki
and Salmon
Nigiri

If You

Knew
Sushi

Surprise guests with your own homemade Japanese "fast food."

ANNABEL COHEN
Special to the Jewish News

A

mericans love sushi. It's
clean tasting, light, flavorful
and satisfies our collective
culinary curiosity for differ-

ent tastes.
To many, sushi is a food ordered
only at restaurants. It seems so exotic
and difficult to make. Sushi counters
are a study of unusual ingredients and
scary raw fish.
But in Japan, sushi is the fast food.
Certainly, "really "fine" sushi is, like
most cooking, an art. A sushi chef—
like French pastry chefs, pasta chefs,
bread makers and so forth — trains
and apprentices for years before
'becoming a shokunin or master sushi
chef.
However, sushi is easily made at
home. And unless you're extremely well
versed on the nuances of exceptional
sushi, your homemade version will be
most pleasing and quite acceptable.
But first, a few words about sushi:
Some say sushi starts with raw fish.
Others insist that sushi is the general
word meaning "fermented foods" in
Japanese. Indeed, the iirst sushi was
made with salted or fermented fish.
The word sushi, however, begins
with su, the Japanese word for "vine-
gar," and ends with a short form of

meshi, the common word for "cooked
rice." Thus, the main ingredient of
sushi is short-grained cooked rice that
is seasoned with sweet rice vinegar and
sometimes mirin, sweetened cooking
sake or rice wine. This mixture is the
foundation of sushi.
The rice is combined with raw or
cooked fish, sliced thinly, and wrapped
(or not) in nori, dark green (almost
black) sheets of thin, dried seaweed. In
many cases, fresh vegetables and avoca-
do are introduced to the sushi to pro-
vide a variety of flavor and eye appeal.
Although there are regional styles of
sushi, two are considered the most
popular: kansai, originating in the
Kansai region of Japan (the city of
Osaka is here), and edo, or Tokyo-style
sushi.

Different Types

Kansai sushi is rolled and "packaged"
in seaweed. The most popular type is
maki (rolls) and temaki (also called
"hand rolls," these are stuffed seaweed
"cones"). Edo sushi is generally a rice
rectangle topped with a small slice of
raw fish. This style is also called nigiri.
A third type of sushi (which by defini-
tion is not sushi at all) is known as
sashimi, which is simply chilled, raw
seafood, cut into thin slices.
Most sushi is served accompanied by

thin slices of pickled ginger, or gari,
and a small amount of wasabi, an
extremely hot Japanese horseradish
that's mixed into a small amount of
shoyu (Japanese soy sauce). While gin-
ger cleanses the palate, the soy-wasabi
mixture serves as extra seasoning for
the sushi.
The following are sushi basics. They
include making sushi rice and assem-
bling three types of sushi. It's of utmost
importance to remember that any raw
fish must be very fresh, so do your
research.
Use the rice recipe for all sushi and
vary the fillings to make your favorite
combinations. There's also a list of
popular sushi fish choices (all kosher).
Or use your own favorites. I've also
listed some of the most popular restau-
rant sushi combinations.
Don't stress sushi preparation,
because even if yours don't come out
perfect the first time, the taste will still
be delicious. In fact, in Japan, there
are stands that sell sushi rice with the
sushi "ingredients" sprinkled over the
top. So you see, it's hard to make a
mistake.
Now that you know the basics, get
rolling. Then pass around hot towels to
wipe your hands before eating and
have fun.
Many sushi ingredients are available
these days at the supermarket. If you

.

can't find what you want or need, go
to an Asian food market. Here's a list
of basics.
• Bamboo mat, for rolling sushi
• Short-grain. or sushi rice, for making
sushi rice
• Japanese rice vinegar
• Shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), garnish
• Nori (seaweed sheets)
• Gari (pickled ginger slices), garnish
• Wasabi (spicy, hot, green Japanese
horseradish), garnish
• Mayonnaise, or Japanese-style may-
onnaise
• Salt
• Sugar
• Sesame seeds, for sprinkling over rice
before adding other ingredients or as
garnish
• Eggs, for making into thin omelets
• Hot chili sauce, for spicy rolls
Assorted vegetables
••Cucumber, red bell pepper and car-
rots, cut into matchstick pieces
• Assorted sprouts, such as bean,
radish, alfalfa, spicy
• Scallions, cut into 2 to 3-inch lengths
• Fresh chives or cilantro
• Avocado

Common Sushi Fish Varieties .

Here are a few of the most popular
types of fish to use for sushi: Figure on
about a half-pound to make 6-8 maki

10/25

2002

97

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