Sunday, March 2, 2008

Salmon Sushi - Nigiri

Contrary to what most people think, making Sushi is not that difficult nor it is time consuming for the level of home cooking. Making rolls could be more work but simple nigiri sushi takes probably less than 15 minutes to prepare.  Of course I’m not preparing that of top sushi chef quality but just simple homemade sushi good enough to satisfy most people’s taste buds.
1. As always, before making any kind of sushi, you must prepare sushi rice using rice wine vinegar and sugar. How much vinegar and sugar to use really depends on how much rice you have. Generally for 1 cup of rice, 1 tbsp of vinegar and 3 tsp of sugar will do it. Make sure you taste it to see if you suits your taste.

2. Now, you need to make square rice doughs. This will be the messiest job unless you know what you’re doing.  Real sushi chefs prepare a bowl of vinegar and water mix to dip their hands to prevent rice from sticking.  They also use a wet towel to wipe off any sticky rice from their hands before and after molding sushi rice. I tried this method since it’s the traditional way but I am still pretty messy and I decided to use a dirty trick I learned from this other sushi chef who believes in cutting corners – plastic gloves. Once you wear the gloves in both hands, put a few drops of sesame oil and rub it around your gloves so rice will not stick to your gloves as you play with rice.  I suppose you can use other oil but make sure you spread thinly around your gloves so the oil doesn’t actually influence the flavor of the rice.  I found it doesn’t affect the flavor with only a couple of drops.

3. Squeeze the rice hard but not too hard so that it will remain intact but each particle is not mashed up.

4. Put them on your plate.

5. Now take out a sushi grade salmon fillet. If you are wondering what sushi grade fish means, it simply means that fish has been prefrozen for more than 15 hours. Freezing will kill any parasites. Do not use “fresh fish.” Fresh fish is not sushi grade and could be dangerous for that reason. For more information, refer to Sushi FAQ.

6. Using a very sharp knife, cut the fish slanted so you will have a larger surface area per piece. Ideally, you want to use a very sharp sashimi knife (only one side bladed) and slice by only one clean cutting move in one direction. Remember to cut each piece with one slice like a samurai. Make sure you cut in opposite direction of the stripes so you will get the below stripes going across your fish like that.
7. Simply put the sashimi pieces on top of your sushi rice. You can always use your hand to massage the fish into the sushi rice but then I didn’t want to squeeze the rice any harder.  After all, if I used vinegar water on my hands and molded rice, I would also put a piece of fish to complete the mold, which is the right way to do.  For some reason, last thing I want to do is to touch the fish with gloves that has oil spread it because I didn’t want to ruin the fish.

For making wasabi soy sauce, always use low sodium soy sauce.


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