Last weekend, Stew and I, enjoyed a Sunday afternoon sushi and nigiri class with Hashi Cooking. Led by Japanese chef Reiko Hashimoto, each of us created two thin rolls and two sushi rolls (with the rice on the outside of the roll), plus a selection of nigiri.
The class was for 20 people, and Reiko took the time to firstly show us her technique, and then come around to each of us to make sure we were on the right track. It’s safe to say that my first attempt didn’t quite go to plan, but thankfully Reiko managed to save it. My next attempts were much better, and suprisingly I actually found making the sushi roll with rice on the outside, a lot easier.
In terms of fillings, we began with smoked mackerel and Japanese pickle, followed by Japanese crab sticks (VERY different to English crab sticks – they tasted good!), cucumber and avocado. For the inside out rolls, we used a cooked salmon and spring onion mix, with Japanese pickle and avocado.
The nigiri was much more simple to make, as the fish had already been expertly cut for us. However the technique in building it, was something I had never thought about before. With a lightly wet hand, you pick up a reasonable sized ball of sushi rice, rock it back and forth between your palm and fingers and then using your index finger, lightly dab some wasabi onto the back of the fish before placing over the rice, and moulding it in place. Instead of using chop sticks to eat them, Reiko suggested a much easier option, of using your fingers (yes!), turning the nigiri over and lightly dipping the fish into soy sauce. As she reminded us, soy should be used a seasoning, not an actual sauce, as it’s high in salt. So no more, soaking the rice in soy until it turns brown!
Once we’d made our nigiri and cut our sushi rolls into smaller pieces, Reiko poured us each two glasses of sake – one being much fruitier than any other sake I had drank before. This was to be enjoyed with our sushi rolls, whereas the second sake was much dryer, which was best served with the nigiri. Both sakes were beautifully smooth, and served cold, gave them a crisp edge. Much more enjoyable than many sakes I’ve drank before.
The class transported us both back to our travels through Japan a couple of years ago. In Japan we ate the best sushi of our lives and drank the most incredible sake. The workshop was a fantastic experience and Reiko is a wonderful teacher. The fact she was born in Kyoto, makes me love her even more! If you ever travel to Japan you MUST visit Kyoto. It’s out of this world!
For more information on Japanese workshops by Hashi Cooking, please click here.