After 10 years of making my own sushi I jumped at the opportunity to go to my first sushi and sashimi class.
At the time I was quite bored with the salmon and avocado sushi I kept churning out time after time and needed some inspiration. Even more frustrating was that my rice left much to be desired. There was nothing wrong with the actual rice but, as I was to find out, my (lazy ass) method of preparing it. The stuff didn’t come out sticky!
The class takes place in Reiko Hashimoto’s home in London. Beware though, the nearest tube station is Wimbledon Park, not Wimbledon as I learnt the hard way to read travel instructions properly.
A maximum of seven people can attend at a time and the attendees were from all walks of life.
Boy, did we learn a lot. Have a question? Reiko’s got an answer. She is self-assured, knowledgeable and is a great teacher.
We learnt about the basic ingredients used in Japanese cuisine and how to cook sushi rice correctly. Being a very hands-on course we prepared plenty of maki and inside-out rolls. Nobody could resist nibbling in-between; after all our fingers were constantly covered with sticky rice.
Those bright yellow eggy things that are served in sushi restaurants I’ve always steered clear off. Good job really, because most of the time Tamagoyaki isn’t actually prepared in the restaurant’s kitchen. One reason why is that it’s quite a long, patient process where you have to keep waiting for each layer to cook and caramelise before you can roll it up further. It was such and exciting discovery that afterwards I rushed to by a rectangular pan.
Fresher than fresh salmon, tuna, yellowtail and seabass were obtained from a Japanese fishmonger and used for sashimi.
After all the hard work’s been done we sat down for a feast with a plethora or platters on the table, accompanied with miso soup and sake. Plenty was left over to take home.
All in all it was a great experience. A folder with all the recipes covered is included as well as a goodie bag with basic ingredients to give you a kickstart. I always thought it’s better to go to a country and learn more about cuisine by taking a cookery course over there. I changed my mind. My realisation is it’s even better to have a native, in this case Japanese, person teach you over here, because 1) it’s less expensive to travel, and 2) you learn where to buy the ingredients and equipment locally.
A few weeks later I made some maki, inside-out rolls, sushi sandwiches and Tamagoyaki at home. The rice came out perfect, Tamagoyaki moreish, sandwiches satisfying and rolls pretty. It just goes to show what a big difference some mentoring from an expert makes.