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Out and About

Traditional Japanese Sushi Demonstration

At the end of March in the Residence of the Japanese Ambassador to Russia, master Japanese cook, Mr. Bunshiro Hirano, gave an audience of about 60 people from the Asia Pacific Women’s Group a master-class on sushi making. Before the class started, hostess Mrs. Noriko Kohno, the wife of the Japanese ambassador informed us that sushi is particularly popular at the end of March and beginning of April, as this is the time when cherry-blossoms are in full bloom in Japan.

With a twinkle in his eye and quick role of his sushi mat, Bunshiro Hirano rolled out perfect maki. The audience looked on transfixed at what had always been beyond them, but was suddenly made simple. Seemingly obvious techniques, like putting a little vinegar on the chopping knife or using a rolling mat, were displayed. These secrets aren’t always explained in the books, and they caused ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ from the audience. This master cook, who works in the Residence inspired the cooks and would-be sushi cooks present with the feeling that this is something that they could actually do at home.

Here are the sushi dishes that Bunshiro Hirano prepared:

Sushi Rice recipe: Three Easy Steps

1. Wash and steam the rice. Water to rice ratio varies according to the rice you use. For example, Japanese rice is one part rice to one part water. Water to rice ratio has to be adjusted according to the rice’s specification.

2. Make the sushi vinegar mixture. In a pot, mix 540cc of rice vinegar, 60g salt, and 100g sugar. Place the pot on the burner and gradually warm to about 70˚C then take off the heat and cool. For 180cc/200g of uncooked rice, mix with 50cc/g of the sushi vinegar mixture.

3. Put the steaming rice into a bowl and pour in the sushi vinegar mixture at once. Swiftly mix the hot rice using a cutting motion to prevent the rice from clumping and becoming sticky. Once the sushi rice is thoroughly mixed, the rice should be immediately cooled by fanning to allow the rice to absorb the vinegar and become more workable.

Salmon and Tuna Nigiri (Hand-shaped) Sushi

1. The raw fish for nigiri sushi should be cut thinner, longer and wider for sashimi to obtain the best shape.

2. Take a thumb-sized portion of sushi rice in your hand and form a ball.

3. Put some wasabi according to taste onto the rice and top with raw fish. Serve.

Standard California Maki (Roll)

1. Lay a piece of nori (laver) on your sushi mat and gently spread some sushi rice on top. Leave about 1 cm of nori uncovered on the far end.

2. Make some indents into the rice to prevent the ingredients from spilling out of the ends.

3. Sprinkle some sesame seeds onto the rice. Next, lay the lettuce, cucumber, avocado, shrimp or crab and mayonnaise according to preference.

4. Take the near end of the sushi mat and roll toward the far end.

5. Cut and serve.

Reverse California maki

1. Lay a piece of cling wrap on your sushi mat and gently spread some sushi rice on top.

2. Cut the sheet of nori in half and lay it on top of the rice so there is a 1cm band of nori toward the front and a 1cm band of rice peeking out on the far end.

3. Place your ingredients on the rice and roll.

4. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on the rolls and cut.

Shops for Sushi Ingredients in Moscow:

Japro (Джапро) Astrakhanski Pereulok
5, bldg. 1. Tel: (495) 680 0212

La Maree Petrovka 28/2, bldg 1
Tel: (495) 650-0979  

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