For Christmas last year, I bought Tim a voucher for him and I to go to a cookery class at Jamie Oliver’s ‘Recipease’ in Notting Hill. They host a whole range of classes, from knife skills through to the preparation and cooking of particular dishes, such as bouillabaisse. The class I had in mind when I bought the voucher was the sushi making class, which Tim was keen on too. For various reasons (getting married, buying a house and a kitten, and starting a new job, to name a few!) we only just got round to attending the class.
Upon arrival we were greeted with a glass of prosecco, before aproning up and heading over to watch the demonstration by our chef. Tim and I both love sushi (I haven’t written nearly enough sushi posts on here for my liking yet!) but we’d never tried making it ourselves.
The first thing to point out, for anyone who might not know, is that sushi is so-called when it includes rice and is ‘wrapped’. Raw fish served on its own in Japanese restaurants is called sashimi, and those are two different things entirely. We were at the class to learn how to cook and prepare sushi, including rolling them, which I was particularly looking forward to! It was also interesting to learn the story behind how sushi was first created in South East Asia – apparently it was designed to keep meat fresh without refrigeration. The meat and fish was wrapped in rice to preserve its freshness and was then left to ferment for several months. Eventually, when enough time had passed, the rice would be discarded and the cured meat inside would be eaten.
We started by cooking the Japanese short grain rice and adding the sushi vinegar mix (made up of rice vinegar, sugar and salt). The latter is what really gives the rice its flavour and we were told that there are no fixed measurements when it comes to making sushi vinegar. They said that the general rule is the stronger the filling or topping – meaty fish like tuna and mackerel counts as “strong” – the saltier and less sweet the vinegar mixture. I must say, I was shocked by the amount of sugar in sushi – I very naively thought it was a fairly low calorie cuisine, so I’m having to cut down on my lunchtime sushi snacking now!
While the rice was boiling, we prepared everything to go inside the sushi, including salmon, crabmeat and vegetables such as cucumber, carrot and chilli.
And eventually came the really fun part – the rolling! I was surprisingly good at it – Tim is usually better in the kitchen than me, but I think this might be one area I come up trumps – probably because I’ve got small hands and I’ve always been quite crafty (in a creative sense!). We learned a few different ways of rolling to produce different types of sushi, including the more traditional maki roll and the more modern California roll.
And then we got to eat them! They were delicious and we made so much that we ended up taking a lot of it home to eat the next day.
Have you tried making sushi at home? If you fancy giving it a go, here are some handy hints and tips provided by Recipease:
– Ensure the rice is cooked!
– Fan the rice when flavouring – if you can use a wide shallow bowl and wide wooden spoon
– Flavour the rice with your sushi vinegar until it is really tasty and strong in flavour
– Use a clean dry mat
– Have dry hands when handling the nori paper
– Have wet hands when handling the rice
– Use your finger tips to move the rice around evenly
– Roll the mat (sushi) up using both hands
– Roll away from the body keeping the mat held tightly
– Firm the roll up as you go
– When rolled up squeeze it up
– After firming and shaping leave to sit for seam side down for about 3 minutes before cutting
– If making the inside outside – cover the mat with cling film on both sides then use this to roll your sushi
The full list of classes you can attend at Recipease is available here, if you’re interested in trying one of them out – I’d highly recommend. It was a very laid back, fun evening and we both learned new skills.