Yesterday, I attended a one day course for Edomae Nigirizushi Course at the Tokyo Sushi Academy. Edomae Nigirizushi is Traditionally defined as the Edo (Tokyo) style sushi which uses catches from the Tokyo bay, but now synonymous for what is called "Sushi" all round the world.
Nigirizushi is one of those meals which we eat in restaurants as it requires a great deal of skill to prepare a high quality sushi. And traditionally, it takes many years of apprenticeship to master the art of nigirizushi. At home, we will usually make chirashizushi (skattered sushi) , makizushi (sushi rolls) or temari-sushi (sushi balls). So being able to make my own Nigirizushi was a big challenge for me.
The one day course briefly covers the basics of making a Nigirizushi . It was very informative and an eye opener for me. Especially on how the professional sushi restaurants prepare the sushi rice. The instructor who was a veteran sushi chef shared some trade secrets which most sushi chefs will keep to themselves.
After the demonstration, we made our own sushi and we there was a competition on who made the most beautiful sushi. I was very proud to get 5 votes out of 11 and came in a close second place. (If I voted for my self I would of come in first!).
After coming home from the class, I have made sushi for my family twice to practice what I've learned and surprisingly, there were impressed and said it was good. After a couple of more practices, I may be able to teach nigirizushi in my class.
Last week I had a lesson on Gobo (Japanese Burdock Root). Gobo is a very common vegetable used in many ways in the Japanese Cuisine, but totally alien to foreigners. Many of you must have spotted a tree-root like vegetable in Japanese supermarkets wondering what on earth that is!
There is even a sad history of Gobo during the World War 2 of the Japanese prison guards who, out of good will, fed the foreign prisoners of war gobo roots, which were a valuable source of nutrition during time where there was not enough to eat themselves later were accused for cruelty - serving a tree root to them and subsequently jailed for many years.
Unlike it's rustic appearance, the gobo is full of nutrition and is even used for medicine. Please see my Tokyo Grocery Shopping Guide for more information on Gobo as well as a recipe on gobo chips which pairs well with a glass of beer.
In class, we made gobo salad, gobo kinpira (stir fry), gobo chips, gobo and maitake mushroom rice, gobo and daikon radish miso soup, and grilled miso marinated cod.
I got a call from one of my students to make a Hinamatsuri Chirashizushi (scattered sushi for Girls Day celebration) for her daughter's birthday party. Usually, making Chirashizushi is easy if you can use the ready-made sushi mixes that contain cooked root vegetables. However, my student is allergic to gluten, so the sushi filling had to be cooked from scratch, which is not difficult as long as you have tamari soy sauce which is a soy sauce that is made only from salt and soy beans.
Also, the pretty pink sakura denbu, that gives a nice touch to the girls day feast often contains soy sauce (which contains gluten). In case you cannot find gluten free denbu, it can easily be made by boiling a piece of cod then mixing it with sugar and food coloring in a frying pan until it becomes flaky and the moisture has dried out. And last, most of the salmon roe you see on the market is marinated in soy sauce (醤油漬け）so, you need to get one that is salted (塩漬け） in order to make it gluten-free.
The Chirashizush is often eaten with a bowl of clam soup. This is because the size and shape of the pair of shells of one Hamaguri Clam will never match with the other clams which is the symbol of a lasting marriage. It is a tradition to put two flesh in on clam in the clear soup for the Hinamatsuri Feast.
With two boys, I though I would never have the opportunity to make a Hinamatsuri Chirashizushi, so it was great fun. Hope they like it!
I'm Miyuki and I teach Japanese Home cooking at my home in Tokyo.