Sushi Making Information


Insider Info

dotSo how is sushi a recreation? Isn't it a food? And a weird one at that? Actually, sushi is none of the above. According to sushi enthusiasts across North America, sushi is a lifestyle!

dotSushi is one of the most popular and famous foods in the world. It's delicious, healthy...and it's usually raw. How can raw fish taste yummy? Just ask the millions of sushi enthusiasts around the world.

Sushi fan Neil Lindsay loves converting sushi greenhorns into sushi addicts. "Most people will balk at the idea of raw fish, but once they try it, they are generally hooked. I have a friend who didn't try sushi until she was in her 20s because she was so scared. But now she eats it like it's candy!"

dotSushi enthusiasts partake in their passion for sushi in one of two different ways: frequenting sushi restaurants or rolling their own sushi. This delicacy has become so popular that even the smallest towns have at least one or two restaurants.

Still, more and more people are starting to make it themselves. Sushi making classes are popular at community centres and cooking schools.

dotWhy sushi? A study has found that people who eat fish once or twice a week (about a one and three-quarter ounce portion) have a lower than average risk of heart problems, certain types of cancer and arthritis.

Researchers speculated that this health benefit was related to the specific combination of amino acid and D.H.A. in fish.

Even greater benefits come from consuming it raw, that is, as sashimi or sushi.

dotSushi is a small cake of cold cooked rice wrapped in seaweed, dressed with vinegar, and topped or wrapped with slices of raw or cooked fish, egg, or vegetables.

dotThere are two kinds of sushi:

Nigiri sushi   is an oval-shaped rice ball with a slice of seafood on top

Maki sushi   are rice rolls wrapped in a seaweed sheet called nori

dotSo are you ready to take the plunge into raw fish? Sushi veterans recommend that you go for lunch first. This should only set you back about $8 or $10, so it's a good way to get your feet wet without spending a fortune.

Don't feel intimidated, just step right up to the sushi bar and make yourself at home.

dotBy following these basic rules of sushi etiquette, you should feel at ease while enjoying your sushi experience.

You will be seated at the bar and given a steaming hot towel. Use this to wipe your hands and face.
Most first timers are a little nervous. If they're not worried about eating raw fish, then they're concerned about using chopsticks. Don't worry! It is perfectly acceptable to use your fingers. As a matter of fact, some sushi veterans recommend it
Tell the chef that you are a first-timer and ask what he or she recommends. They love this! It shows a sign of respect and is often a way to score some free sushi.
Eat the whole thing at once. It is not appropriate to eat part of a piece of sushi and place the other piece back on a plate. As well, all food should be finished, as it is an insult to leave food on your plate.
With your sushi order, you will be served a portion of pickled ginger (pink stuff), a small mound of wasabi (green stuff) and shoyu or soy sauce (brown/black stuff).

The ginger is to be eaten between different varieties of sushi. It acts as a palate cleanser in preparation for the next enjoyable taste sensation. The wasabi is to be mixed in with the soy sauce, depending on how spicy one likes it.

Warning do NOT eat the wasabi plain. It is very, very hot. Start off with a tiny bit in your soy sauce and then add to taste.

  • Try not to dip the rice portion of the sushi pieces into the soy sauce, as it becomes too moist and can cause sushi to fall apart. Simply dip the topping or the seaweed (nori) in the soy sauce before eating.
  • Enjoy your meal with a smile.

dotAfter you've gone out a few times, you might want to try your hand at rolling your own. This, too, is not as difficult or as expensive as you might think.

dotHere is the basic equipment you will need to make your own sushi:

  • bamboo rolling mat
  • wasabi
  • nori (seaweed)
  • sushi rice
  • assorted seafood and vegetables

dotNone of this should cost too much, and you can actually buy sushi kits (veggies and seafood not included) for about $20. These kits usually include an instruction book or video.

dotStay away from raw freshwater fish for sushi, as there's too great a risk of parasites. Cooked or smoked freshwater fish is fine.

dotHere is a list of popular fish and seafood:

Salmon (sake):
Usually cured in salt and sugar before serving. You can also use your favorite variety of smoked salmon.
Tuna (maguro):
Smooth texture and a wonderful taste make this a popular type of fish to use. The deep red flesh is found on the top of the fish, while the fleshy pink portions, which are fattier and more expensive, come from the belly.
Shrimp (ebi):
Delicious when fresh jumbo shrimp are used. Avoid frozen and shelled, try to buy fresh.
Crab (kani):
Try Alaskan king crab legs. Awesome! Or you can use the increasingly popular mock crab.
Eel (unagi):
Usually found pre-cooked and frozen, this delicacy is to be re-heated and served with a barbecue sauce.
Octopus (tako):
The cooked tentacles are usually used for sushi and can be found in Japanese specialty stores.
Sea Urchin Roe (uni):
This orange-colored roe is known as one of the most sought-after delicacies.
Squid (ika):
Only the body is used and is eaten raw. Use only the freshest squid if you choose this tasty little creature.
Salmon Roe (ikura):
Exported to Japan, this North American delicacy is sure to please.

dotSushi, whether eating it or making it, is a great hobby for people of all ages and abilities. People who really like sushi may go on to study to become a sushi chef, or teach sushi making classes.

Chefs and caterers may also need to know how to make sushi, since it's becoming more popular every day. If you really know your ebi from your uni, you might find work in a sushi restaurant.

Getting Started

dotA good idea for beginners is to have a sushi party so you and your friends can all learn how to make sushi at once. To get more familiar with the art of sushi making, you should have a few books on hand. Go to the library or bookstore to find suitable books.

dotIf you feel more confident with some personal instruction, check out your local community center or cooking schools for classes. And if all else fails, contact your local Japanese restaurant.

Links

Sushi Facts and Guide
Study the glossary of sushi terms, learn sushi etiquette and more

Introduction to Sushi
Recipes, ingredient tips and background info from the folks at HowStuffWorks

Sushi World Guide
Find a Japanese restaurant outside Japan