Sushi tricks

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Undoubtedly great advice. No guts, no glory, when the going gets tough and all that good stuff. However, when I am sitting on my comfy couch, with my comfy slippers and a comfy cup of tea, I don’t necessarily feel it should apply to me. I am fine here in my comfort zone, thankyouverymuch.

Mostly, I’ve come to accept this. I don’t jack in my job the minute it starts boring me, I don’t pack up my belongings to live in a different country at the hint of an opportunity and I suspect I will never wrestle ice bears on the North Pole. Nor do I really want to. However, I also don’t want to wake up one day and realize life has passed me by like a warm-weather cruise. You know, uneventful and calm with perhaps one buffet too many. So every now and then I go out there and do something that makes me uncomfortable.

Which is how I ended up in a sushi workshop this afternoon with six alcohol units in my stomach, all consumed in the preceding hour. Decidedly uncomfortable to be sure, but not actually what I’d come to experience. What I came for was a college reunion. Now, I normally avoid reunions. With every passing year, I feel my life is getting (even) better and I have no particular desire to revisit years past. Especially not those first college years, when I was shy and a bit dorky and trying so, so hard to be a little cooler. What tempted me to go to this reunion (aside from knowing one of my best friends was going too) was the feeling it was about time for a bit of bravery on my part. I was hoping for a few chats, an awkward hug or two and an early night with the virtuous feeling that I’d done something unnerving and come out unscathed.

What I got were a few chats, an awkward hug or two and a jolly good sushi workshop from a guy who lived in my dorm my first year. My college likes to pride itself on selecting “high potentials” for its student body, with brains and multiple talents. And while their selection process isn’t perfect (I ended up there somehow) they got it right with this guy. He holds an advanced degree from an impressive university, has one of those jobs I could never do because I don’t even understand their description and he knew about sushi. Not in a “I lived in Japan and will now proceed to laugh at you for thinking you can begin to grasp sushi if you have never visited Tsujiki Fish Market”-way, but more of a “how come this is the third sushi workshop I’ve been to over the past year and no one has told me this useful stuff before?”-way.

Here, I’ll share some of it with you, so you can save yourself the trouble of going to a scary university reunion to learn. After all, isn’t that couch looking mighty good?

Stuff I learned about sushi today:

  • When you pop a nigiri sushi in your mouth, the rice is supposed to sit on your tongue, as a flavor enhancer for when you bite through the fish on top.
  • An undemanding way to make pretty sushi is to gather a ball of rice in a piece of plastic, add some wasabi and a piece of fish, then scrunch the plastic tightly around the combo, much like you’re wrapping a bonbon. Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch, unwrap: a beautiful rice’n’fish ball.
  • Rolling maki is a lot easier if you lift the bottom bit of your riced nori-sheet up and over the filling before you press and roll.
  • Inside-out rolls aren’t all that hard to make. Start by pressing rice on a sheet of nori, sprinkling it with sesame seeds, covering it with a piece of plastic and flipping it. Then you add some fillings and do the lift and tuck maneuver (see previous) with the plastic still on top. Press down on the filling while you pull away the plastic and continue rolling. When you reach the end of you roll, pull away the last of the plastic and presto: futo-maki.
  • Dipping your knife in water before cutting sushi makes the cutting a lot easier.
  • You are not supposed to mix wasabi with soy sauce to make a dipping sauce. Wasabi goes on the sushi, not in the dip.
  • Except in mine, it does. Because I’m a rebel.

Pictures by Manon on her phone. She rocks.



Filed under tricks

4 responses to “Sushi tricks

  1. Bart

    Maybe some tips you already knew..* Always cut a sushi roll in eight pieces, this provides you with a good fortune.* tone down wasabi with some mayonnaise* Wasabi-mayonnaise is excelent on a grilled hamburger!

  2. Laura

    Aha! I did not know that eight pieces bring luck. Will be sure to cut a roll into eight pieces next time. I was aware, of course, that mayonnaise makes most things taste (even) better. 😉

  3. Manon

    Eight? The sushi guy said six. Hm. Does this makes the good sushi teacher look a little doubtful? However, he did have quite some good tips.And of course I agree on the mayonaise!I’ll send the pictures soon, L, I promise.

  4. Manon

    Dear L., Did you receive the pictures?

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