Inspired by the movie, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, that my sous and I recently enjoyed, this morning we headed to downtown L.A. and took a fantastic 3 & 1/2 hour sushi making class at the Sushi Institute of America. Also joining us was my sous’ sister, Karen, and our best friend, Scott – a master sushi lover.
There’s something so wonderful about the simplicity of sushi. I totally understand how the sushi greats, (like Jiro, his son and kitchen staff) train their whole lives in this art. Making the rice is a science in and of itself: the traditional method to clean it, the right ratio of rice and water, the mixture for the sweet/salty rice vinegar, stirring with the proper technique, fanning the rice to cool it, and so on – this one task alone can take years upon years to master.
The more and more we practiced and learned, the further perfection seemed.
I can only imagine how a sushi master must just ‘feel’ when it’s the right amount of rice in their hands for making a roll or the nigiri (when the fish is on top of a mound of rice). To begin to play with that delicate balance was very exciting for all of us. And the results? Snacks, rolls, and pieces of sashimi and sushi all along the way!
We also learned how to make dashi (fish stock made from seaweed and dried tuna) and miso soup. In fact, we ended up making so much sushi that, upon going home, we had to walk to the neighborhood bookstore to share our feast with our friend Tim (one of the tasters for my cookbook – he actually gave so much feedback that he’s IN the book). We armed him with some soy sauce, a pair of chopsticks and off he went.
Every grain of rice has a purpose. Every motion, every slice, every… delicious bite. The only downside to today’s class, if you can call it that, was the self inflicted sushi coma, which I quickly overcame with the aid of my best buddy, Latte.
You never know, tonight I think I may have some dreams of sushi of my own.