Sushi and sashimi

As with ramen, sushi and sashimi are dishes that attract me a lot. I haven’t had exceptional sushi often (as good sushi is very expensive here), but that doesn’t stop me from occasionally trying to make some sushi and sashimi. On this page I will show some of my extremely amateur sushi ‘skills’ and hopefully I will learn a thing or two!

Inarizushi

This week I tried making a very easy sushi dish: inarizushi. I doubt if it actually qualifies as sushi, but having tried these bites in sushi restaurants a few times I had to try making them.

This actually turned out really easily. All you need is some thin deep fried tofu called Aburaage (but also Usuage, no idea why), sushi rice (more on that later) and some additional ingredients to taste if you wish. The sushi is made by opening the tofu pouches (rolling them with a rolling pin really helps), and stuffing them with rice. I topped with some sliced green onions and served with pickled ginger, but next time I will add some more ingredients to the rice. Some interesting suggestions can be found here.

A small note on aburaage: mine came pre-cooked in a flavourful stock. I have also seen aburaage that needs to be boiled for a minute to release excess oil, and then cooked for 10-20 minutes in a stock of water, soy and sugar.

The flavour of the inarizushi was quite sweet due to the stock the aburaage was cooked in. Next time I will add some more savoury ingredients to the rice (and maybe some wasabi?), or try to find aburaage that I can cook myself. All in all I did enjoy them, and will certainly make them again!

Filleting practice

As I’m not a hero filleting fish, I try to fillet one when I have the time. This week I bought a somewhat decent looking black bream (dorade royal?), that was eaten pan fried with some rice and vegetables. The head and bones were used to make a miso soup.

Key points of attention for me are making sure I fillet close to the bones and consequently don’t let any meat stay on the bones. Next time I will take a closer look at the correct filleting technique.

Yari Ika sashimi

When I was in Japan last year I had raw squid for the first time. While I was suspecting, being the simple westerner that I am, something really tough, it was tender, buttery and sweet.

Here in the Netherlands finding good sushi and sashimi is hard. Finding a restaurant serving raw squid is even harder. This resulted me in taking a crack at it myself. I went down to my local fishmonger to find some squid.

I found some local (North Sea) caught spear squid, called (槍烏賊; Yari Ika) in Japanese. A useful link with more information can be found here.

As for filleting, I used the following video as a guide. I have to say it was very useful, I did not imagine the filleting being so easy (even though the Shigefusa Ajikiri I was using was a great tool to do this):

One step I added was cutting almost all the way through the flesh at the bottom of the head to be able to remove the membrane completely. The key to success with squid really lies in removing all membrane to make sure its not tough.

I am very happy with how this turned out given my lack of experience and the fact that this was the first time making squid sashimi. Some pointers for next time are presentation, cutting smaller pieces and making some nigiri with the squid (see my inspiration below).