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Ocean Basket: Sushi 101

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear Sushi?

Me: RAW FISH!!

Up until recently I thought eating sushi meant eating raw fish! Yep! For most people in this part of the world, read Kenya, seafood is not something we eat on a daily basis thus sushi seems out of this world.

I was pleasantly surprised when I learnt that sushi doesn’t need to be raw. Yea people sushi does not equal raw fish!How liberating? Turns out what makes sushi sushi is the rice, imagine!Short grain Japanese rice to be specific.

Being a foodie, I always operate with the mantra ” Try everything at least once” so when the chance came to try out sushi I had to jump on it. I had prior tried some fried prawn california roll which I actually enjoyed but I was dying to try the raw kind. 

Venue: Ocean Basket at the Oval, Westlands

Challenge: Eat Sushi

Chef: Mary

sushi bar

sushi bar

Since rice is basically the core ingredient in sushi, the kind used is short grain Japanese rice (sticky rice) . To prepare the rice use the ratio of 1:1 with water. Once the rice is cooked, a mixture of white vinegar, sugar and salt in added to it then mixed to add flavour and also to ensure the grains do not stick to each other.

Types of Sushi

There are various types but I’ll mention a few.

1. Sashimi

These are thick slices of raw fish without rice. The most basic way to eat sushi and not ideal for a beginner. I am yet to try this.

2. Nigiri

Normally raw fish over a ball of rice.

3. Maki

Maki is basically any type of sushi where the seaweed, nori in Japanese, is on the outside.

tempura prawn rolls

These tempura prawn rolls are ideal for a beginner who is still squeamish to try the raw kind. As you can see the seaweed is on the outer side.

This has nori then topped off with the sushi rice, some sweet chilli sauce for flavour, cucumber slices, avocado slice and the fried prawns which are dredged in tempura flour then fried.

Bamboo mats are used to ensure one rolls out the sushi evenly. Turns out the art of rolling out sushi isn’t so easy it can take some people several months to get it. Chef Mary learnt in under a week!

4. California roll

Basically any kind of sushi where the rice is on the outer layer, the nori is normally inside.

fried crab california roll

This is also ideal for beginners as the crab is cooked. As you can see the rice is on the outer layer and it has been coated with tempura flakes.

The nori is on the inside with the fried crab and an avocado slice. the use of avocado adds a touch of flavour also a hint of colour.

I also tried the raw kind, I particularly enjoyed the rainbow rolls.

rainbow rollsSomeone had asked me if they do anything to the fish and the answer is no. They normally get whole salmon then they fillet it themselves and voila it is ready for eating.

To be honest I enjoyed the raw kind better than the fried kind. The salmon had a clean taste nothing fishy.

eating sushi

Those sushi bites are huge hence the look on my face otherwise I enjoyed them.

For the rainbow rolls, Chef Mary put, rice, nori, cucumber clices, carrot sticks, tamago then roll it out then put alternate slices of avocado and salmon. All the colours of the rainbow :-)

Tamago is a sweet Japanese omelette, yep an omelette with sugar.

Tamago

Tamago

 

I also tried the salmon roses. They look a bit scary for a beginner but nothing a touch of soy sauce and wasabi won’t cure.

salmon roses

Basically thin salmon slices with avocado for colour, rice and topped off with mayo and caviar (yeah, I crossed off fish eggs off my foodie bucket list).

I managed to eat two of these babies.

Eating Sushi

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Sushi is basically eaten with chopsticks. It is best to eat the pieces in one single bite. That way you get to experience the different textures and tastes present.

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Using chopsticks is something one can easily learn as you can see here chef Mary is busy teaching Sabina and I how to use them.

using chopsticksSushi is served with soy sauce (shoyu), wasabi and pickled ginger(gari).

Soy sauce is the dipping sauce for the sushi.

Using your chopstick, pick your desired piece of sushi , dip it in the soy sauce and then enjoy.

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The wasabi is a spicy green paste which is from a type of hot Japanese horseradish. Bear in mind it is hot, so a little goes a long way. It is best to take some little of the wasabi with your chopstick then add it to the soy sauce in your dipping bowl.

The pickled ginger, which is normally pink is eaten between bites and it cleanses the palate.

It is pickled in white vinegar, sugar and salt.

Already a sushi lover, you can also try out some salad.

Seared Salmon Salad

Seared Salmon Salad

Random fact:

Heard of a Chef’s knife? Well there’s also a sushi knife, yep the original kind being from the land of the Samurais, Japan.

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I had a lovely time learning about sushi and also eating it. I would like to thank Chef Mary for showing me how to prepare and answering all my questions. When at the sushi bar look out for her.

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Thanks to Dwayne for ensuring Sabina and I has a wonderful time.

Looking to try something different? Why not try some sushi?

Perhaps I’ll share a few recipes to wow your guests at home, leave a comment if you would be interested in the recipes.

 

leotunapika

A girl with a passion for cooking and discovering new recipes.

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