Jan 26, 2014

8 Tips and Tricks From Sushi Chefs to Make Good Sushi At Home

image found via Untypically Gia

I started out in my sushi adventures researching how to make really good sushi.  Did you know future sushi chefs in Japan spend 5 years studying with a master before even making sushi rice!  While I'm not that dedicated to learning how to make sushi I figured I could at least spend a little while researching what sushi chefs have to say about making sushi so that hopefully one day I can make restaurant quality sushi. 

image from The Bizzare

I read a bunch of articles that either interviewed sushi chefs, or took a class with a sushi chef.  The below list is the culmination of the following list of tips and tricks for making sushi.  The biggest thing I learned is the key to perfect sushi is perfect rice.  According to rice obsessed Mori Onodera, formerly of L.A’s Mori Sushi, in a LA mag article  Says that with sushi, “rice is 70 percent, fish is 30 percent.”It sounds like he is the MacDaddy of rice.  He even grew his own rice in Sacramento for his restaurant.  Now that's dedication!

how cute is this sushi platter!  via Funny Wall

  8 Tips and Tricks From Sushi Chefs
  1. Use High Quality Ingredients This includes not only the fish but the nori and the rice as well.  More expensive usually means it's better according to Masaharu Morimoto, Iron Chef star and owner of Morimoto restaurants around the world in an article for Food and Wine. Morimoto also was the first to make maki rolls in the US. He also gives more specific advice in the article for Food and Wine  for more specific tips and short videos of him showing different sushi techniques.
  2. Use short grain rice, Other types contain lower levels of amylose (the sugar found in rice grains) and will not achieve the required sticky texture. 
  3. Rinse, and repeat According to Gourmet Magazine, sushi rice is processed for packaging with added rice starch powders (and sometimes talc yuck!), so it’s essential to wash off this residue before cooking to avoid ending up with a goopy mess.
  4. Don't use too much sugar Sushi Chef Mori Onodera said "Authentic sushi uses only red rice vinegar and salt, but most people in the United States also add sugar because they like the taste. That’s not traditional—rice shouldn’t be too sweet.” So in other words it's best to cut back on the sugar for a more traditional sushi, healthier too!
  5. After cooking, you have to add vinegar right away or the rice won’t absorb it, according to Sushi Chef Mori Onodera.
  6. Traditionally sushi is fanned by an assistant while shari-zu (seasoned vinegar) is folded Into the rice.  According to Gourmet Magazine you should fold the rice over itself to fully incorporate the shari-zu, but be careful not to mash the grains. Continue folding the rice until it stops releasing steam. Once you’ve reached this point, cover the rice with a damp towel as you prepare your fillings. 
  7. Make sure you put the nori shiny side down
  8. Serve rice at room temperature Sushi Chef Mori Onodera said“Every chef has a different ideal temperature for sushi rice, but I believe that body temperature is best. That’s common sense in Japan, too. Technically the health department requires rice to be 41 degrees or colder—that’s terrible.” Once the rice is cooked, Mr. Yamagata who owns a 120 year old sushi restaurant. keeps it at 37 degrees Celsius (about 98 degrees Farenight). "It can't be too hot, but it can't be too cold; body temperature is about right," says Mr. Yamagata" in a WSJ article.

Sushi Chef in Tokyo, Japan: image from Small Taste of Adventure

Fellow blogger, Courtney Small of Small Taste of Adventure, who travels around the world to learn from chefs, worked as a line cook at a sushi place for 4 years, and took a class in Japan with sushi chefs, wrote a great post about her experience. Below is a sushi rice recipe from the class she took in Japan.

Sushi Rice Recipe  
from the class Courtney Small took

1 1/2 cups of cooked white rice and 1/4 cup of seasoned vinegar.

5 cups of rice and 1 cup of seasoned vinegar.

Shari-zu (Seasoned Vinegar): (1 cup): 
1 cup of good quality rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of salt.

I hope this helps you to make better sushi.  Let me know if you have any good sushi recipes or tips to share!



More You might also be interested In:  
Mango Chicken Teriyaki Maki Sushi Roll Recipe

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