...or why you should pay attention when the cooking instructor is demonstrating.
A selection of sushi and sashimi prepared by Nora-san
The path to learning how to make the platter above was not a smooth one. I mentioned in my last post that Quikong arranged for us to attend a 4-hr Sushi and Sashimi Workshop by Chef Hideo Dekura at the Sydney Seafood School last Saturday. It consisted of 2 hours of demonstration by the chef and then participants get to don aprons for 2 hours of hands-on practise in another room where there is a kitchen space for each participant. Hideo-san had a great sense of humour so the workshop was a lot of fun.
The class kicked-off at 11am and Hideo-san began explaining all the tools that we needed for sashimi and sushi making like the types of knives, ingredients, etc. He also showed us how to cook an omelette Japanese style. Japanese style omelette is a little sweet because sugar is added to the batter (see recipe at the end of post). It is made up of a few layers and its made in a square pan. He even "branded" it with a flower motif. Look at how beautiful it is:
By the time Hideo-san demonstrated how to prepare fresh seafood for sashimi, my mind had started to wonder off to what I was going to have for lunch.
I am sure all of you can understand that after seeing all these lovely food being prepared (and it was lunch time by now), naturally I was happily dreaming away about all the different types of sushi I was going to make when we move into the kitchen. I was thinking, of course Hideo-san is not going to make us clean cuttlefish or fillet fish, it's too complicated. I was even making fun of Quikong who was writing copious notes and drawing diagrams of how to fillet the fish:
Guess what we saw when we made our way to the practise kitchen? WHOLE FISH and CUTTLEFISH that were waiting for us to fillet. I should have paid more attention. Now it was Quikong's turn to tease me as he watched me struggle to gut the fish, fillet the delicate skin off the whiting, remove the cuttle bone of the cuttlefish, etc. It got messy, folks. But I think that I didn't do too badly because I still had a lot of edible fish fillet left after all that de-boning and skinning. Never worked that hard for my lunch before!!
Then comes the fun part of making the sushi and assembling the sashimi on a plate. I really learnt a lot and it's so much fun to play with food.
The organisers were very generous with ingredients so I ended up with a lot of food. Enough for lunch & dinner. The freshness of the seafood was amazing. The sashimi (salmon, kingfish, whiting and tuna) just melted in my mouth. It was my second time eating raw cuttlefish and I really liked it - it had an almost creamy texture and not chewy at all. I also love how the salmon row "pops" in my mouth. Quikong and the other three friends who came along to the workshop did not like it though. Knowing that I prepared the meal myself made every morsel even more satisfying!
Hideo-san has written a few books and is in the midst of writing another one. I purchased this book at the end of the workshop. It covers all the basics of Japanese cooking in a clear manner. Hideo-san wrote a lovely message and autographed my book (does this make me a groupie?) ;-)
Each participant was given a few freebies at the end of the workshop (e.g. sushi rice, soy sauce). Quikong & I also went to a Tokyo-mart a few days later and bought other ingredients for sushi making. Our first try will be tomorrow for a friend's birthday party.
Serves 4 as a starter
(Omelettes are tradiotional made in a rectangular/square pan called makiyakinabe)
4 x 70g eggs
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp mirin
pinch of salt
2 spears of asparagus, blanched
oil for frying or non-stick cooking spray
1/2 cup grated daikon & 1 tbsp soy sauce, to serve
1 - Beat eggs with sugar, mirin and salt.
2 - Heat omelette pan with a little oil (or use non-stick cooking pray) until medium heat.
3 - Gently pour in a third of the mixture to cover the base of the omelette pan.
4 - Place asparagus in the centre of the omelette and roll omelette across to the other side of the pan.
5 - Pour a little oil to the empty section of the pan, and pour another third of misture, making a rectangular double omelette.
6 - Move the omelette to the back of the pan, and repeat with the final third of the misture, making a rectangular triple omelette. Press with wooden paddle or egg-lift to form a neat rectangular shape.
7 - Cut omelette into 2.5cm strips and serve with grated daikon and soy sauce, or use as a nigiri-sushi filling.