Thursday, April 11, 2013

Saba - Cured Mackerel!

Hey guys, I'm posting a recipe for Saba, or cured Mackerel. You can find this at pretty much every sushi bar around and it's very simple. 

First off:
There are a lot of types of Mackerel out there, but this one is Atlantic Mackerel. Mackerel are very oily fish, so they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. However they can spoil very quickly so they are commonly preserved, but fresh Mackerel is very delicious too! 
In sushi bars Saba is easily recognizable because of it's color, smell and taste. Some have an extremely fishy smell, but if cured right it's not so bad. Usually pre-packaged Saba has stronger smell and taste which can be too much for some people. 

You will need:
Saba (cleaned)
Sushi Vinegar
Kombu (dried kelp)

Place the Saba in a container and generously cover both sides with salt. 
Cover the fish and refrigerate for 2 hours!

After two hours is up, clean the salt off and place back in the container. 
Pour in enough vinegar to cover the fish. (They will float a little, but that's ok.)
Along with the vinegar add a piece of Kombu. For most recipes using kombu you usually use a piece roughly the size of your palm.
Cover the container again and place back in the refrigerator overnight.

When you come back in the morning you will notice a color difference and change in the texture of the fish. I wrapped the saba in paper towel for a few minutes to remove the excess vinegar.
Don't forget that some further cleaning is required. 
The fish will still contain some pin bones (unless earlier removed) and a top layer of skin should be peeled off. You will still see the blue and silver color even after removing the skin.

Now it's done! :D

This has a salty flavor, but by doing it on your own you have more ability to control that. It's best served with a little grated ginger, green onion and ponzu.

Enjoy <3

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter! Time for Sake!

Hey you guys! It's already Easter and we've got lovely weather in Seattle for once!

I'm celebrating this year with some friends with a sushi making party! I'll post more about the actual party after it happens, but of course you can't have a party without sake!

As most of your know, sake is Japanese rice wine with many different varieties nowadays. It comes hot or cold, it can be fruity or dry, there's even sparkling sake. There are kinds to fit everyone's palate. 

For today I'm looking for a Junmai Dai Ginjo. 
This type of sake can be served hot or cold, but it's also made from high quality rice that has been polished. For this type of sake the rice has been polished down, over 50% which removes fats and proteins that can cause hangovers. Yes, this sake is supposed to leave you hangover free! There are also no other additives. 

Usually when someone asks me about cold sake I will tell them that you'll like it if you enjoy dry white wines. If that's not the case for you there are flavored sakes out there, but being sweeter they can cause hangovers. Same goes for unfiltered sake (Nigori.) In a bottle of Nigori you will notice some sediment that looks like a white cloud. It's left over from the grains of rice. It should be chilled and then shaken well before serving. Nigori is good for beginners because it has a sweet/fruity/floral taste.  

It is also recommended that the whole bottle of sake be consumed after opening because it will oxidize, therefore changing the flavor.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit about sake :)
For those of you wanting to kick it up a notch: Sake goes great in some cocktails and don't forget sake bombs! I shot sake dropped into a glass of beer :D

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easy Spicy Mayo.

Hey y'all, I know it's been a while, but I'm going to try my best to catch up with this. Gonna start off with something easy! 

Anyways, most of you know what spicy mayo is. It's commonly found as a topping on rolls (usually cooked stuff.) A lot of people really love it. Personally, it's not really my thing when it comes to sushi, I'm just not a really big fan of using mayo that way. However it's pretty good as a dipping sauce or spread too. I've put it on a burger before and was pretty pleased. 

Since I'm making this for the bar it's going to be a large batch, but you can scale it down and tweak it. Just remember that tasting as you go is important. I believe it helps you get a better product. 

I used:

Mayo - 1/2 gallon (I used light mayo)
Sriracha - 3/4 of a bottle
Sugar - about 2 cups
Lemon - 1

Whisk the mayo and sriracha together first. You can add it all at once, but doing it gradually is recommended if you're looking for a certain spice level. 
Next I gradually add in the sugar. Some types of mayonnaise have stronger flavor so you could end up using more or less than 2 cups; just remember to keep tasting it was you go. For instance, the Japanese Kewpie mayo tastes a little strong to me so I usually end up using a lot more sugar. 
Finally you want to cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. Be careful not to get any seeds into the mixture. Do keep in mind that adding lemon juice will thin out your sauce. 

There you go!

Of course all restaurants have their own variations. Some places use different hot sauces, some sweeten it with orange juice or sprite. All in all, a very simple thing to make. You can mess around and create your own if you so desire.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Spicy Tuna recipe!!!

So I've decided to post the recipe that I use for spicy tuna. I was going to make a video, but I don't have everything with me. 

Anyways, in the past I've been pretty exclusive to who I share this with, but I think it's better to share ;) Some chefs will keep things like these secret because it could give them some kind of upper hand. However, I was once told that: It's not about the recipe, but the hands that make it. Over time I've realized that this is very true. You could give multiple people the same recipe, but it doesn't always turn out identical.

On with the show...

When it comes to tuna, you want ground/minced tuna. You can usually find this at most Japanese markets or you can get a block of tuna and then mince it yourself. If you're using a block you want to watch out for all the sinew (that stringy white stuff.) It doesn't look good, it's hard to cut and hard to chew. Best to remove it. If you use a spoon to scrape at the meat (so that it kind of flakes away into small pieces) it's easy to pull all the sinew out. AGAIN, make sure your fish is SUSHI GRADE.

Spicy tuna mix:
5-6 large cloves garlic (minced fine)
Diced green onions (the amount should be equal to that of the garlic)
4 generous pinches of Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese chilli powder)
1/2 cup Sriracha
1/4 cup Sesame oil

Mix all of the ingredients together (leave the tuna out for now.) The oil will separate naturally so if you still see a little floating on top, that's ok. 
This recipe will yield about a cup of sauce. If that's more than you need you can always refrigerate it. (it goes great on just plain rice too.)
Take your ground tuna and gradually add the mixture. You want the tuna to be well saturated, soft and shiny. Don't be afraid of adding too much because it will eventually soak in, and by using more sauce it helps keep the tuna from drying out.

Hope you guys give this one a shot! It's very easy and if you don't have tuna around it's a great condiment for whatever you want :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back to Basics - Food for Thought

Sushi is becoming an extremely popular food in the US and it's spawned great creativity in the world of rolls. There are a variety of them with many ingredients and beautiful toppings. It's all very delicious, but lets not forget about the simpler things.

I really enjoy making up rolls and new "fusion" style sushi, but I admit I kind of forgot how good just simple pieces of sushi are. 
A little while ago I started some part time work at a new sushi bar. I really enjoy it there and of course I couldn't resist tasting everything. I was reminded how good just a piece of fish and some rice is. Not much to it, but with good quality fish there's not much room for improvement. Honestly, as beautiful as rolls can be, there's usually just so many components that you get lost in a vortex of textures and flavors. All together they create something good, but you have to be able to appreciate each ingredient for what it is. All these sauces and toppings you usually find in a roll just mask the taste of the fish inside. I understand that to each their own, but everyone should try to take the time to get back to the basics. 

Love the food for what it is, don't try too hard to turn it into something it isn't. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sushi vinegar revisited

I am doing a new post, another recipe for sushi vinegar. Again, this one is very simple, maybe even easier than the last one i posted.

I picked up another job at a Japanese Izakaya downtown and lucky for me, the chef there has been making sushi for 23 years! Yuji-san is very, very talented and I'm so excited to gain new knowledge from him, and I'll be posting it here too!

So you will need:
Rice vinegar

There are 3 numbers you should remember: 6,3,1. 6 parts vinegar, 3 parts sugar and 1 part salt.

Combine all ingredients with a whisk and make sure everything is disolved. Don't worry about heating it up. Once everything is mixed add a piece of kombu, about the size of your hand. Now all you have to do is let it sit and you can use it the next day!

This recipe may taste saltier to some, so you can add more sugar if desired, but I think the saltiness really compliments raw fish.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sushi Basics - California Roll

(img from California Sushi & Teriyaki)

So today I'm going to post something basic, something that I probably should have put up first to help you guys get into it quicker.

Everyone knows what a California roll is, in my mind it's like the peanutbutter & jelly of sushi, but it's simple and pretty much everyone likes it. 
For those of you who don't know, it contains:
-Crab or Kanikama (kanikama is like crab salad, usually made with mayo. Also "kani" means crab.)
-Cucumber cut into strips

Very simple list of ingredients. (excluding the rice, nori and sesame seeds, but that's found in pretty much all rolls.) Also there is no raw fish in this so it's an easy starting point for people who are new to eating sushi. 

You will need-
 Nori 1/2 sheet
4 oz sushi rice
Roasted sesame seeds
Avocado (2 - 3 slices)
Cucumber cut into strips
Crab/kanikama (about 2 oz)
Sushi mat
Sharp knife.


Remember to spread the rice over the rough side because it will better stick to the nori. You also want the rice to stay soft and fluffy, so don't press it down too hard. Once you've evenly spread the rice out, sprinkle some sesame seeds over it and then flip it over, seaweed facing you. 
Next step is pretty self explanatory. make sure all of your fillings are spread evenly across the seaweed.
Almost done! Now gently pick up the edge facing you and roll it over the fillings. You want to stop part way so that the opposite edge is still showing because that little bit will help seal the roll. You should squeeze it slightly so that everything is tight and then finally finish rolling it over so the seam is on the bottom.
After you're happy with your rolling - take the sushi mat (flat side down) and shape the roll. I usually press inwards, making the roll a bit taller and keeping the top rounded. Some people make their rolls square, others make them round. It's really up to you. You can also shape them into triangles and so on, I'll post about that later.
So finally you're going to cut your roll. Usually rolls are 8 to 10 pieces. The easiest way to get even sized pieces is to cut your roll in half, then quarters and then eighths. The actual cutting motion can be tricky for some people. It's a rocking, heel to toe motion. Heel being closest to the handle and toe being the tip of your knife.

And now you can plate it! :)

A cool little tip to make handling rice easier:
A lot of people use water on their hands, but cooking spray works great! Just spray a bit into one palm and then rub it in both hands.