This thread is a tutorial of sorts for those who have always wanted to make thier own sushi or have made it and wish to share some of their techniques, styles and methods with others.
Sushi is neither a meat or vegetarian form of food, rather a combination of both. It can have meat that is raw, seafood or not, cooked, seared, or only moments from life.
Sushi can be anything from a quick snack of light vegetables and rice or a huge, extremely complicated meal of advanced methods and techniques to offer beautiful displays of food and blends of taste that send your taste buds to heaven!
For those who wish to learn how to make sushi, just ask any questions you have and one or more of the sushi pro's will jump in and provide answers.
This post is nothing more than an introduction to what follows; a guide to understanding what sushi is, where it came from and how to make it fit your specific likes and dislikes in food.
There are basically two types of sushi:
1. Traditional, Japanese sushi that has strict methods, eating etiquette and behavior.
2. Modern sushi that can be virtually anything that works. I've seen sushi that was so unique that it made me wonder at who could have thought of such a thing! Everything from raw beef to still moving fish. You name it and I can tell you a way to incorporate it into a sushi style meal.
For my first few posts, I'll list some of the basic equipment and methods used for sushi. This is much more involved than most people would think.
I've known people who think sushi means, literally; a piece of raw fish slapped onto a ball of rice and eaten with soy sauce and that green wasabi stuff.
That form of sushi is only one of many thousands of ways to prepare and serve sushi. "Thousands"? Really? Yes. Thousands. As this thread progresses, I think everyone will see just how much they have missed about sushi.
Ok, on with the show. The first thing I'll cover is buying and using a sushi freezer. Why is it necessary and what exactly is the purpose?
Ok, here we go. For those who love having safe, flavorful and raw meats on their sushi, there is no better way than owning your own sushi freezer and learning how and why to use it.
The second that a living creature dies, the meat in it's body starts breaking down in a microbial process that is unavoidable. This process can be slowed to almost a stop by using a freezer that maintains a temperature lower than Minus Four Degrees Fahrenheit.
The American FDA has rules that state "All meat to be eaten in the raw state must be first harvested, stored and cleaned in precise ways and frozen at a minimum of Minus Four Degrees Fahrenheit for no less than 7 days prior to serving it.
What these rules do is allow the raw meat to be eaten without fear of becoming ill due to parasites that might be in the meat. The rules also keep the bacteria at a minimum during the cleaning and handling of the meat.
I have personally only handled the most common seafood and vegetable sushi. Having never used or even eaten beef sushi or some others like frogs, lizards, pork and livers from any of a dozen creatures, I can't tell anyone anything about those types of sushi. Perhaps we have other people here on DC who know about using those items. I'll stick to what I'm good at and know well.
Preparing your fish for the sushi freezer:
1. If using freshly caught fish, make sure that it is alive still, or very, very fresh. This will not include ANY fish from ANY supermarket unless you see it wiggling still.
2. Know how to buy fresh fish. We'll get into that later in this thread.
3. To clean the fish, first run a sink full of cold water. Have another sink ready for rinsing. Put one teaspoon of Clorox into two gallons of water in the sink. This makes a mild anti-bacterial that will eliminate almost all of the bacteria on the outside of the fish before cleaning it.
Put the fish into the water and rapidly wash the fish from head to tail. Get all the "slime" off the fish, but do it quickly. We are not trying to soak the fish, just to wipe it clean.
Then rinse the fish under running water until you're sure you've removed all the Clorox water from it.
4. Wipe down your entire work area with a mixture of one teaspoon of Clorox to one gallon of water. Keep a bucket of this mix handy. Wash each tool you are to use and lay it on this nice clean counter. Have your favorite stretchy wrap handy also.
5. Fillet the fish first. With gloved hands, (I use the cheapo surgical gloves with no powder in or on them), take the fillet from side one. Then take side two. Lay both fillets so that the skin side is down and you've placed them on a clean spot on the counter.
Throw away the carcass and wipe that area with the bleach water.
Now take the skin from the fillets. As you do, lift them so that they do not touch the counter until you lay them on another clean spot.
Throw away the skins and wipe that area of the counter with the bleach water.
Now spread two pieces of stretch wrap on the counter. Pick up each fillet and dip it into the sink bleach water quickly and then rinse it under running, cold tap water. This will ensure that the fish has no bacteria on it now due to handling.
Lay the fish meat on the wrap and quickly wrap it with no air bubbles under the plastic. Smooth it out to make sure. Put the fish meat directly into the freezer now and let it come to a full frozen state.
I then put several frozen pieces into the same marked baggie and date it.
Do all of this with your gloves on. The process you just used will eliminate the bacteria that has gotten onto the fish during the handling and cleaning. The freezing for a minimum of 7 days at Minus Four Degrees Fahrenheit will eliminate any parasites in the meat and the combination of both methods will keep this fish from causing you any health concerns when you eat it raw.
Also, don't use the "Flavored" Bleaches. Plain bleach. Nothing with "Springtime Flowers" added or anything else.
Always use safe methods to pour and handle bleach. The stuff can really hurt you if used unsafely. Watch your eyes with the bleach and your fingers with the knives, they won't grow back.
You're very welcome Luca! I really am a sushi addict, and I love helping people learn about how to make sushi. I've even thought about having a "sushi class" locally, and making it a 4-times-a-year thing that people can sign up for.
Going to a nice place that prepares top-notch sushi can become very expensive. My average payment for a sushi meal is about $50. There are some who charge much more than that.
This short video shows some very fresh amaebi pieces. See them twitching still? This is guaranteed freshness!
Depending on the place, this type of sushi can cost up to $20 for each bite! Not a cost to take lightly!
The type of sushi I like to teach about isn't moving, isn't alive still, but is as fresh as can be at the time it is frozen. This is a step down from absolute fresh, but satisfactory to most sushi addicts like myself.
I didn't mention the size of each piece of meat that is frozen. Some fish are quite large, and others much smaller.
The amount of fish to wrap into each frozen piece is the amount it would take to make 4, one-ounce pieces. Thus, 4 ounces per/piece.
This size should be taken from larger pieces of fillet by carefully slicing it into pieces that will in turn be appealing when sliced into individual pieces.
Most fish is sliced by piece, so that the grain of the meat goes length-wise along the rice ball and over-hangs the rice ball by one-third of the length of the rice ball on each end.
The size of the rice ball is dependant on who is eating it. For small children and some adults who have smaller mouths, a smaller rice ball is used so that they won't feel gagged by the amount of food in their mouths when the entire piece of sushi is taken into the mouth.
Each piece of sushi is intended to be eaten in it's entirety. Biting a piece of sushi in half or thirds is considered an insult to the chef, saying in essence that he doesn't know how to make sushi properly and has made it much too large. The melded flavors of all parts of each bite are to be balanced so that when eaten in one bite, the blended flavors within the mouth are perfect for that type of sushi piece.
When sushi chefs have a crowed sushi-bar, and one customer is loudly talking over-top of others and being impolite, the chef will sometimes make extra-large pieces for that customer. The intent of the chef is simply to fill that large mouth and give the other customers a break from hearing it too much.
Part of a sushi chef's job is to carefully watch his/her customers eat and to make their sushi individually perfect for each person.
For most establishments, a one-ounce piece of meat is used on each bite. This also makes pricing your sushi meat easy. One pound of fish will make 16 pieces of sushi. If the fish price is $10 per/pound, then each bite of sushi will cost 0.625 cents. (10 divided by 16).
The rice is seasoned either sweet or tart, depending on the time of year for some and just individual preferences for others.
The goal is to have the rice and meat blend into a mutually favorable flavor and neither should over-power the other while being chewed.
It's my pleasure, LPBeier! Many people think of sushi as only raw fish on a little ball of rice. Because of this, if they are a person who doesn't ever wish to eat raw fish, they think that they *hate* sushi, when in fact, they've never even *seen* 99% of the types of sushi that exist.
I make some vegetarian sushi that is just awesome! It's easy when using the Oshizushi methods.
Here's one type I make:
1. Cut celery, green onions, cucumber, carrot and red bell pepper into pieces that are about 1/8th inch thick, (3mm).
2. Layer the veggies on the bottom of the Oshizushi box, carefully placing them so they just touch each other. Mix the colors and types into a nice pattern.
3. Place another thin layer of rice over that.
4. Sprinkle a layer of sesame seeds and your favorite seasonings over the rice, making sure that it is a solid layer around the outside of the box.
5. Place a last layer of rice gently over the seeds and seasonings.
6. Put a final layer of veggies on the top. Make it pretty! Some of the diced green parts of the spring onion can be put here too.
7. Press, Flip, Press and remove outer box. Then, remove the Oshizushi from the box entirely and slice it into bite sized rectangles if using a square or rectangular Oshibako.
8. Arrange the vegetarian Oshizushi on a plate that compliments the colors, and design the plate with sauces, larger veggie pieces and seeds of your choice.
This is just one of thousands of ways to make Oshizushi. Raw meat, cooked meat, no meat, cooked veggies, raw veggies, seeds, even flowers can be used in so many types of designs, colors and flavors.
*Hating* sushi is nothing but ignorance of the types that can be made. If one hates rice, a thick mashed potato mix can be used. Even cooked, shredded hash browns can be used instead of rice. I've also used thick sweet potato instead of rice.