Saturday, February 23, 2008

Let's make '-zushi'

OK dear sisters, are you ready for your next cooking lesson from chef Jaime? After our stress-releasing mochi pounding lesson, this time we are going to do some zushi massaging, ok? What massaging, you say, "You can't even spell? It's sushi, silly!" Hehe, that's what I thought too. Sushi is actually a general term, each specific type of sushi is called xxxx-zushi.

We all share our love for sushi not only for its freshness in taste, but also for its nutritional value and beautiful presentation. The origin of sushi can be traced back to the 4th century in Southeast Asia and China. Raw fish was preserved in layers of salt and rice weighed by a stone, and was named nare-zushi. Hehe, remind me of those Chinese salty fish I ate when I was a young girl.

Sushi had gradually evolved to its present form in the 18th century and developed into 2 styles : Osaka style from Kansai (west) and Edo style in Kanto (Tokyo). The most popular sushi that we eat nowadays is the Edo style called nigiri-zushi. I attended a nigiri-zushi class recently, and dear cloudnine is nice enough to join me (since I am sure she's a very accomplished cook already).

Our classroom took place in this bright and airy lounge

with a spacious and efficient kitchen to match

Now, the very first and most important thing in sushi making (or in any cooking) is : clean hands. Japanese are the cleanest people around and I love that :) We were first asked to wash our hands, then sterilized right before we touched any food, moreover there were anti-bacterial wetnaps and clean towels placed all over the table. I figured out I must have shed off at least a layer of skin that morning :)

Our sushi sensai showed us how to cool off the hot sushi rice in a cutting motion inside that big wooden trough.

Then we began to press and squeeze those rice into a small lump. Sorry sisters, no picture on that cause my fingers were all stuck with rice :( So I took a picture of the instruction sheet instead. Hehe on a tired day, don't you wish you're that sushi to be massaged like this? :)

Now, the practice is over and the real test begins ....

It is actually not as easy as it looks. Our sensei said it takes 10 years to perfect the skills of sushi making! I thought to myself : I have an easier way, take 1 bite of raw fish, 1 bite of rice, mix it all up inside the tummy, called it minced-zushi :)

Roll the drum please ..... Ta Ta, this is my first production! You all know the familiar hand roll is called temaki-zushi, the battleship-shaped sushi is called gunkan-zushi.

The nice surprise is we could stay and enjoy our finished product in this beautiful lounge

Cloudnine and I picked our private upper floor lounge :

complete with a stunning view of Tokyo

The homemade miso soup is cooked by the staff, oishii desu yo! I so wish hubby could see and taste my first sushi. So here, Bon Appetit!

Hehe chinggu, I know you are going to 'press and squeeze' me like a sushi as I am stepping into your territory of expertise. You think HRH is into sushi? I know MinHyung is :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Jaime,

Ohayo gozaimasu! Thank you for inviting me to the wonderful
'Nigiri-zushi' class. What a experience to be taught by a professional sushi-shokunin. (artisan)

As you realized no Japanese in that
class has experienced making
'nigiri' before, since we generally
think 'nigiri-zushi' should be left to the professional chef, and did you know that women had long been excluded from the world of sushi-shokunin? Not because of sexual discrimination (they say) but because women's temperature is usually higher than that of men, and this affects the taste of sushi. Recently, however, there are some female sushi-shokunins and
their delicate work is appreciated.

cloud nine

Anonymous said...

Dear jaimei,

Long time no talk.
It's great you have been enjoying
things Japanese one by one.
Cooking is one of the short cut and yummy ways to know Japanese culture.
I usually make ''Chirashi-zushi'',
with ingredients (seafoods,eggs vegetabbles,etc..)just covering,or
spread on rice flavored with vineger.It doesn't need skills
at all.

I was out of town for a while and
came back yesterday.
Since I'm busy this week,I hope to
see you sometime in March when ba-ba san comes back together with cloud nine hopefully.

On my way back,I could see Mt.Fuji,
the most beautiful mountain here from the window of the Shinnkan-sen.Although it was capped by snow,
it looked hazy.I feel spring coming
from afar and near.

Tomorrow's weather forecast is horrible just like the last weekend.Pls take care !



bb said...

hey, is the class in japanese? if there're english classes, i think i wanna try taking it the next time i'm in japan :p looks like loads of fun!

actually i've been meaning to go for those tea-making and flower arrangement sessions too.... :)

Tamar said...

My hands are always chilly so I would make a good sushi chef, right? ; )

Congrats, Jamie! I knew you could do it. When are you going to debut your youtube cooking video?!

jaime said...

hi dear cloudnine,

thank you for adding this valuable info about the zushi-shokunin. Hehe, isn't it wonderful if women can also be excluded from all kinds of cooking for the same reason? then we will have all the time we want to watch our HRH's dramas :)

love ... jaime

jaime said...

my dear moichan,

I am happy to hear that you are back from another wonderful trip again. I have yet to see Mt. Fuji with my own eyes and better yet, to dip into an onsen.

I feel the same way. It's still so cold and windy, how I wish the weather will turn warmer so I can see you again.

Please take care!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

hehe princess,

actually there's a lot of staff and an english interpreter translating everything the chef said. Hahaha, otherwise my zushi will turn into just a bed of rice!

yeah, if you're interested, I can look into the tea ceremony or flower arranging class next time you're in japan. hehe, provided your schedule is not all booked by the japanese sisters already:)

love ... jaime

jaime said...

hehe tamar,

I know you must be an expert in this. You have cold hands? Is this like a plus for a chef?

Ha, you're kidding me? Who has appetite to eat anymore after seeing me on youtube? I enjoy watching you making your pizza and wings :)

love .... jaime

judy said...

Hi Chinggu!

Aha, there's no contest here dearie! Plenty of room for everyone when it comes to cooking lessons & I believe that the more Baesisters like us wanting to learn what pleases HRH's palate, the merrier & the better-REST! Okay, but we all have to let our better halfs have the first taste of what we mastered in the kitchen. And I love, love , love the terms/easier techniques that you've coined up like taking a bite of each sushi ingredient making it simpler & better understanding for simpletons like muah!hehehhehehhe!

I want to thank cloud nine & all the wonderful JPN sisters for taking care of you since you've landed there & they made you feel so welcome & happy. Hey, if you're happy then we're all happier for you.

Love yah!

jaime said...

thanks chinggu,

I am happy, please do not worry about me. Well, I'll be happier if HRH and I could share a zushi together? Hahaha, are you using your magic wand to turn me into a zushi now?

love .. .jaime

Tamar1973 said...

"Ha, you're kidding me? Who has appetite to eat anymore after seeing me on youtube? I enjoy watching you making your pizza and wings :)"

Huh? Who wouldn't want to see you on youtube?! As for seeing a new video on youtube, I hope to film my next adventure this weekend. I might have a co-star, too. We'll see.

Wanna come to Northern California, Jamie?!