Japanse cooking

Could anyone recommend a good beginners guide to making many different types of sushi? I have okay general cookbooks with teriyaki, etc. I am looking for a good book just on sushi and sashimi that you have tried and found worthy. Muchas obligadas.

For sushi use a little vinegar and sugar in your rice pot. For sashami make sure your fish is fresh. It really is that simple.

No it isn’t, it is much more complex than that. Trust me on this, I have lived in Japan, and I once made sushi for a party of 200.

For a good overview of sushi making, try this website:


Very nice page, but I must say your section on making the rice contains one big mistake. The rice needs to be as hot as possible when you add the vinegar; fan it to cool down only after you add the vinegar. If you fan it as you add teh rice, the rice cools down too quickly and doesn’t absorb enough vinegar. I used to do it the wrong way myself and recently learned the right way - you can really taste the difference. Using rice vinegar also helps.

Also you might enjoy this recipe for a sushi sauce: 1 cup soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (sweet wine or sherry), 1 1/2 tablespoons sake (rice wine), and 2 1/2 tablesppoons of bonito flake broth. It’s much better than straight soy sauce - it’s more mild and doesn’t mask the taste of the fish.

Oops, I guess you didn’t say it was your page, sorry.

I got the basics in a little book included with one of those sushi-making kits. Wasabi, pickled ginger, fluffing paddle, those little mats for rolls, two sorts of rice vinegar and instructions. A truly great gift.

With the rice, it is possible to get a little too obsessive. You know - wait 43 seconds after the rice starts crackling, add vinegar, cover with blue cloth… After a while you realise that as long as the vinegar or dry rice flavoring is absorbed and the stuff still sticks together the sushi turns out fine.

My only advice is not to skimp on the freshness of the fish. Only bother if the fish is odourless and bright-eyed. If you don’t have to restrain yourself from chopping it up and eating it before your wife gets home or the rice is cooked, make something else.

Thanks for the link! :smiley:

Hey Doc! The rice is one of the most key elements in the fabrication of good sushi. Here’s some pointers:

[li]Be sure to use the fat, short grained rice[/li]
[li]Give the rice a wash before using it[/li]
[li]Cooking techniques for sushi rice are different[/li]
[li]Use rice wine vinegar, not regular white vinegar[/li]
[li]The vinegar should be mildly sweet[/li]
[li]Grate some daikon pulp into your wasabi for texture[/li]
[li]Use a high quality soy sauce[/li]
[li]Some dishes require a sweet soy sauce[/li]
[li]Use the sharpest knife possible to cut your fish[/li]
[li]Look for the highest quality Nori (seaweed)[/li]
[li]Do not use mayo in anything*[/li]
[li]Do not use cream cheese in anything*[/li]
[li]Do not use avocado in anything*[/li]
[li]Do not serve the fish with any lemon*[/li]
[li]Do not serve smoked salmon*[/li]
[li]Do serve salmon skin hand rolls**[/li]
[li]Use only the English type of cucumber[/li]
[li]Remove all seeds from your cucumber[/li]
[li]Make hamachi maki with sesame seeds and scallions[/li]
[li]Serve sake at body temperature (~F100°)[/li]
[li]Warm all sake containers and cups beforehand[/li]
[li]Be sure to serve gari (pickled ginger)[/li]
[li]Avoid hamachi with dark areas of meat in it[/li]
[li]Avoid the use of surimi products (krab legs etc.)[/li]

  • The first three items (mayo, cream cheese and avocado) are all greasy/oily foods that will coat your palate and prevent you from tasting the real flavors involved. So, unless you or your guests are hooked on California rolls (bleech!) avoid these ingredients like the plague. Lemon is included because it is inappropriate to Japanese cusine and its sharp tang destroys the delicate flavor of the fish. Smoked salmon is included for its overwhelming flavor as well.
    There is a good Japanese style bean sprout salad in my recipe thread. I believe it is on page four. Try to avoid the ubiquitous brown sugar/soy dressing though. If you use sesame oil, make sure it is roasted sesame oil. I’ll try to post my own recipe for it soon.
    ** Sake Temaki (Salmon Skin Handroll Recipe)

This is one of the most subtle and delicious sushi dishes. Broil the (unsmoked) salmon skin until crisp before using. Avoid having any meat attached to the skin. Include the following ingredients:

[li]Broiled salmon skin[/li][li]English cucumber[/li][li]Yama gobo (pickled burdock root)[/li][li]Green onion*[/li][li]Diakon sprouts[/li][li]Hanna Katsuo (flaked Bonito extract)[/li][li]Sushi rice[/li][li]Nori wrapper[/li][li]Sesame seeds[/li]* Use these ingredients sparingly

Amen to your “do not use” rules, Zenster. I grew up in an Asian community, and started eating sushi before the “haku-jin rolls” started becoming popular. I like my sushi simple, basic, ultra-fresh and JAPANESE.

Mr. Pug and I like to make up silly names for yet-to-be invented haku-jin rolls:

Dewey Weber roll
Tex-Mex roll
Atsa spicey meatball roll
Reuben roll
Pacific Rim/Tuscan/microbrew roll

etc., etc.

Dr_Paprika, Zenster knows whereof he speaks. He’s the Board’s best foodie, and everything he posted is right on.

I’m going to disagree on the matter of the temperature to serve sake. A premium sake can be ruined by heating it.

pug, I am so honored by your kind words. You make all the hours of work on the recipe thread worth while. I cannot count the times when I have had to request that the (Asian) sushi chef not serve the sake (salmon) with lemon. I have never tried a California roll and will never do so willingly. I still wince to see dairy, mayo or avocado brought out at a sushi bar. The Japanese are, quite possibly even greater food snobs than the French. I usually reserve Sake Temaki for the last thing that I eat. It is my sushi “dessert” (I’m sure that you understand).

I have yet to meet you, but look forward to doing so even more than before. Let’s do the “oyster bar” soon. I hope that your “lil’ shedders” are doing well. I’ll miss you at the Holiday Dopefest. All the best!

Ah, the sign of a true sushi afficionado, that they carefully consider the order in which to eat their servings. Me, I prefer to eat ikasashi first, and toro last.

BTW, let me add one more suggestion for proper sushi consumption. It is not necessary to use additional wasabi. Properly prepared sushi has the proper quantity of wasabi already in it, right under the slice of fish. All that is necessary is a light dip in the shoyu and you’re all set. I see some people coat their sushi with wasabi using a knife, like it was butter. Makes me ill just to see it. If you like wasabi that much, just eat it raw without the sushi.

[hijack]I like to start with tamago [egg omelet], because it’s so rich and heavy that it forces me to slow down and enjoy the more subtle items that are coming. I don’t have a sushi “dessert,” though–perhaps I’ll try the sake-skin hand roll sometime! :slight_smile:

[/hijack] {Didn’t think that this merited its own thread…

I’ll second that! I had some very fine sakes while living in Niigata, where the best jizake’s are made, and
it’s a rare good sake that needs heating.

The serving temperature of sake (the liquor, not salmon) is a matter of taste. Most sake served in US restaurants is served hot, because that’s the only way to make awful sake (like Gekkikan) palatable. I have 3 sushi-ya in my little town, but they all serve Gekkikan from a huge plastic-lined cardboard box. It’s crap. No wonder people don’t like sake. As a nihonjin woman friend of mine said, “Gekkikan?!? It’s not even good enough to cook with.”

But a really good sake, you can drink it hot OR cold. My preferred brand is Otokoyama, it’s an expensive premium brand, very VERY dry, and the label recommends serving it hot or cold. In fact, it recommends a specific temperature (I’m currently out of Otokoyama, or I’d cite the label temps). I personally prefer it hot. I even prefer hot sake in summer. People think I’m crazy to ask for atsukan when the temperature outside is almost 100 degrees, but that’s how I like it.

Don’t. It’s gross. Really. Mayo+Rice+Avacado is just vile, especially when it has faux “Krab” meat in it too.

Somehow the whole mess seems to end up with a “sweet” flavor and greasy texture that’s completely disgusting.

Fenris (who’s been bullied into trying “just this one piece! It’s different the way they make it here” several times)

I think it enhances your sushi experience to eat the sushi in this order:

Light-tasting fish first: mirugai, hirame, tai
Medium-bodied next: hamachi, shiro maguro, maguro, sake
Rich, oily fish next: toro, uni (yum!), saba, ikura
Sweet-tasting items last: tamago, unagi

Chas.E: Yes, I’ve seen people making a thick green “wasabi soup” in their soy sauce dish, and then soaking the unfortunate sushi in it until all the rice crumbles and falls away. Then they wonder, “How are you supposed to eat this stuff?” Alternately, they pick up enormous wads of ginger and soak that in the wasabi soup and then eat it. Yak! I also love Otokoyama (Man-mountain), and Onikoroshi (Devil-killer!) is great, too. I’ll be doggoned if Hakusan Sake here in Napa isn’t making some fantastic sake; I think it rivals some of the fine country sakes of Japan, and it’s a lot cheaper (like $9 for an issho). That could get dangerous.

Osakadave: I’m jealous. Do you still live in Niigata? I seem to remember that Niigata is Japan’s sake central, but I may be wrong. You know, the more I drink sake, the more I prefer it room temperature. I seem to be able to detect all the nuances much better that way. Maybe it’s my imagination.

Zenster: Well, it’s only the truth. Being a foodie myself, I respect those who know their way around chow. I know that to others, folks like us seem like snobs, but a better description would be hedonites. We just can’t help not caring if the food is well-prepared or not! Look out, Frasier and Niles.

Sorry about the hijack, Dr_Paprika. I didn’t know other folks around here cared so much about their sushi like me. I hope your cooking goes well. Let us know!

I’m not reall sure it was that much of a hijack. My friends deeply into this sort of thing prefer good sake cold. I’ll let you know how things go. Fish is plentiful in these parts.

I second the uni (mmmm).

Hey Doc, another simple to prepare dish that you might wish to try is a tataki. The recipe is as follows:


[li]Small cubes of maguro or other mild fish[/li]
[li]A small amount of finely minced scallion[/li]
[li]Dash of sweet rice vinegar[/li]
[li]Dash of soy sauce[/li]
[li]Dash of prepared wasabi[/li]For every 4 oz of fish add 1-2" of the white to green transition area of one scallion with ~1/2 Tsp vinegar, ~1/4 Tsp soy sauce and ~1/8 Tsp wasabi.

Mix all ingredients except the fish before hand, add the cubed fish and serve immediately.
Now, if any of you want to see your itami go all dizzy and start drooling, go to the freshwasabi website and order up the real thing. It’s not cheap, you’ll pay US$40.00 for three rhizomes (roots), but you will never look at the usual artificially colored horseradish powder the same ever again.
PS: If this doesn’t get you all sorts of goodies from your sushi chef I’ll eat my toque.

You can get fresh Wasabi root here in Seattle at Uwajimaia in the international district. It sells at $60.00/lb, but I imagine you don’t need much.