by Graham Duncan
Two things got me thinking about making sushi. 1) Finally getting around to watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the documentary about Tokyo’s renowned sushi chef and his awesomely barebones restaurant. 2) Sanagan’s now carries high quality sushi rice and deluxe soy sauces. It was time to get rolling.
When you say sushi, you’re probably thinking of the Japanese cuisine — like going to a sushi restaurant. More accurately, sushi is Japanese-style short grain rice seasoned with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt. It is this rice preparation, combined with seafood, egg or vegetables, that comprises what we commonly call sushi. The quality of your sushi rice is going to go a long way to defining the quality of your sushi. That’s why we carry Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice.
You may be surprised to discover that Tamanishiki is grown in the Sacramento Valley, but Californian sushi rice is some of the best in the world. After: washing; soaking; boiling; seasoning with the vinegar mixture; and cooling it (you fan it like it just fainted), my sushi rice might have earned a dismissive half glance from Old Man Jiro. In other words, it was delicious and seemed a perfect midpoint of sticky but not gluey. The only problem was I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s hard to roll sushi when all the rice is gone.
Once you’ve made your sushi rolls, bowls, or nigiri, you’re going to want to flavour it with some Japanese soy sauce. Kuyo Murasaki started making soy sauce in the late 1880’s. They’re now into the 5th generation and are renowned for their premium soy sauce. Almost syrupy, It has an irresistible vegetative, fermented complexity and a relatively low salt profile. If you can get sushi grade fish, don’t think of using any other soy sauce.
If you want a more upfront salt bite to your soy sauce, the sort of condiment perfect for fattier rolls and tempura, or as an full-flavour ingredient, try the specially imported Kikkoman Prime Umami Soy Sauce, made with only water, soybeans, wheat and salt. It comes in a really smart non-BPA bottle with a collapsible inner liner to help keep it fresh.
Our new line of imported and locally produced foodstuffs continues to be a source of inspiration. I realize that may sound like marketing BS but it’s really what I’m experiencing. You get some jar of something, you find a recipe, employ a new technique, maybe feel like you’ve gotten a little closer to another culture, it tastes great; it’s like leaving home without leaving your kitchen.