Introduction to sushi making: how to make standard sushi rolls (chapter 5)

I have not had my internet set up in my flat yet, but since I am waiting for my car to be serviced at BMW service workshop, might as well use their high speed internet to do some blogging and uploading!

I realised that I have not yet posted my introduction on making standard rolls. So here it goes!

First of all, lay a nori sheet on your sushi mat which has already been cling filmed.

Spread the sushi rice across the nori sheet as shown in the diagram.

Lay chicken in the centre..

Put some japanese mayonnaise, and line the avocados.

Try not to be too greedy in lining up too much ingredients or you risk being unable to close your sushi rolls.

After lining the ingredients, bring the sushi mat forwards as shown..

…just enough to cover the ingredients. put gentle pressure on all sides..

Lift the front of the sushi mat up…

Push the whole roll forwards once with the mat…

Gentle pressure again…

Side view…

Cutting the rolls…

Cut the roll midway…then line the half lengthways roll side by side as shown below///

Aim again for the centre of the half lengthways rolls.

Then aim midway of the length of the rolls again….(this is difficult…maybe I should consider making a video on how to make sushi rolls..)

You can also substitute the chicken for some breaded fried chicken: https://stephylicious.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/introduction-to-sushi-making-how-do-fry-the-chicken-for-rolls-or-katsu-curry-chapter-3/

A link to one of my entries on how to fry the breaded chicken.

Or you can use raw salmon! yumsss!

Now you are all ready for a sushi picnic!

Dorayaki recipe (Japanese red bean pancake recipe)

I decided to make dorayaki, after skirting through some photos of dorayaki on Facebook.

I thought….pancakes bah….shouldn’t be tooooo difficult I hope.

It was pretty difficult to control the fire in my kitchen. Somehow, I think an electric hob does a better job than gas when it comes to making pancakes? But I may be wrong. My theory.

I remember how I used to watch doraemon when I was a child and love how doraemon really loves his dorayaki! Makes me wonder how does dorayaki taste like…

Dorayaki is basically a red bean filling sandwiched between two pancakes. A wonderful Japanese dessert.

I used to eye how 4 dorayaki was sold in a package in the freezer compartment in the chinese supermarket for £6! Does feel like a rip off doesn’t it. Guess it’s more worth it making this at home!

My wonderful attempts to make dorayaki. I would not dare to take any praise for these as they look browner in appearance, not burnt. Still taste pretty good, just not quite as presentable. I probably should have reduced the amount of water added into the batter, or perhaps measure the amount of baking powder I was adding into the batter. Also, it would have helped to have my standing mixer in helping me whisk the eggs. I think that would have really helped as I don’t think I have whisked enough.

Nevertheless, taste great.

You can find better picture illustration on how to make dorayaki on this website below:

http://justonecookbook.com/blog/recipes/dorayaki-japanese-red-bean-pancake/

Guess one advice for myself would be not to make dorayaki after a cooking spree of chicken rice and kueh tiao soup as I lost my patience completely while waiting for the dorayaki to cook….maybe that’s why they look browner. Lack of attention to detail, lack of patience to control the heat and timing.

It is crucial that the pan has to be fairly medium heated so that the dorayaki will rise whilst cooking, as if the heat is too low, it takes almost 15 minutes to cook one side and the dorayaki did not rise (you don’t see bubbles rising on the surface). I had experimented with the extremes of heat and settled for medium heat. Even so, I can’t stop my dorayaki from looking so brown, not burnt.

Just means more practice…

But I put the recipe on for those who have requested for it.

Just a few pictures below to entice my readers on what I cooked for dinner tonight.

My usual chicken rice

and….

Kueh tiao soup.

Kueh tiao soup was a bit of a failure…cuz I have transported most of my ingredients over to my new flat and hence lacked the authentic sarawak white peppery taste. What a shame. Also…felt that I could have been more generous with using more chicken carcasses to enhance the taste.

Oh well…

Anyway, the dorayaki recipe which I will reference from this website:

http://justonecookbook.com/blog/recipes/dorayaki-japanese-red-bean-pancake/

Dorayaki recipe:

Ingredients:

4 eggs

140g sugar

2 tbsp honey

160g all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1-2 tbsp water

1 18oz/520g can Ogura-An, or homemade sweetened red bean paste

Steps:

1) In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and honey and whisk well until the mixture gets fluffy.

2) Sift flour and baking powder into the bowl and mix. Keep in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.

3) Stir in ½ Tbsp of water at a time to get the right consistency. It should be a little bit thicker than pancake batter. If the batter is too thin, Dorayaki buns will be too flat and not fluffy.

4) Heat a large non-stick frying pan on medium-low to medium heat. Dip the paper towel in oil and coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. The pan should be slightly oiled but shouldn’t be visible. That’s the secret to get nice texture on the surface of Dorayaki. With a ladle, drop the batter from 1 foot above the pan to create 3 inch diameter “pancake”. When you see the surface of batter starts to bubble, flip over and cook the other side. Transfer to a plate and cover up with damp towel to prevent from drying. Continue making pancakes

5) Make sandwich with red bean paste. Put more red bean paste in the center so the shape of Dorayaki will be curved (middle part should be higher). Quickly wrap them with saran wrap until you ready to serve.

 

 

Will definitely practise again. This time using my standing mixer to whisk the eggs till totally fluffy and repost the pictures. 

Introduction to sushi making – How to make inside out rolls (chapter 4)

Ok. I will let the pictures do the talking.

First of all prepare the sushi rice. I tend to use nishiki brand as that is the only reliable sushi rice brand I know of. I have tried a few other brands in the past as they were cheaper and to be honest with you, there is a huge difference in the quality of sushi you make. I once used a sushi rice of some unknown japanese brand which was like 50p cheaper and I thought won’t make much difference one lah…it’s all sushi rice anyway….but you know what, the cooked sushi rice refused to stick to the seaweed. My housemates who were also ex-sushi chefs didn’t believe me and tried as well before we all declared the sushi rice was just pure nonsense as it just won’t stick to the seaweed! I ended up throwing the whole pot of sushi rice in the bin! 

In summary, don’t cut cost on sushi rice. You really pay for what you get! Nishiki brand, and no other.

As to how to prepare the rice, I cannot stress enough the importance of not putting too much water into the rice before you cook. Check your water level is correct with your finger (cook like how you are cooking normal rice but with slightly less water) and also double check with your rice cooker instructions i.e. if you cook 5 cups, make sure that the water is at the level ‘5’ on the rice pot. If your rice is very wet, you are in for failure so don’t even attempt or you get sushi mash. If you get sushi mash, you might as well not make because no one is going to eat your sushi as it will taste like glue.

Wrap your sushi mat with cling film just to make your cleaning up easier at the end.

After trying tesco, sainsbury, morrisons, costco avocados…the best is still the ripe and ready sainsburys avocados. Tesco, morrisons etc just cannot make it. No questions ask. You can try avocados from other places if you want, don’t say I never warned you. The taste and the texture of the sainsbury avocado is exactly what I am looking for.

Next, take out the seaweed. Can you see how there are horizontal lines across the seaweed?

I want you to count and cut it across the middle just like the picture

Put your seaweed meeting the end of the sushi mat.

Spread rice across the seaweed. No higher above 2 grains of rice thickness.

Pour sesame seeds on it

Flip it the other way round now. Can you see how I have some rice overlapping out of the top of the seaweed?

Line whatever you want in your sushi on the seaweed. I put japanese mayo, chicken katsu and avocados across… don’t be greedy and put too much ingredients because you are only asking for trouble when you realise you cannot close your rolls.

Roll like the picture. Put some gentle pressure on the ingredients to stop them from falling forwards when you roll the sushi forwards.

Close the mat over the ingredients……just like the next picture as well…

Just like this…..

From the side view….

Then…with one finger on each side, slide your fingers across the mat horizontally with equal pressure. Not too hard or your rice will get flattened….lift up one side of the mat and roll sushi forwards, cover with the sushi mat and equal pressure sliding across again…

Tidy up the sides.

You get a inside out roll

There you go…some inside out rolls for you to drool at….

I will teach how to cut another time and also how to make other rolls.

Introduction to sushi making – How do fry the chicken for rolls or katsu curry (chapter 3)

Sushi rolls does not necessarily have to contain raw fish. You can be a bit more imaginative and include yummy fried chicken or roast chicken if raw fish is not one of your favourites.

In this post, I am going to teach you how I fry my chicken for either the katsu curry or to include into the rolls as seen in the picture below.

Crack 2 eggs into a bowl, season with salt and black pepper. Beat well.

In another dry bowl, pour in some japanese breadcrumbs.

Deboned chicken thighs. Or you can use chicken breast depending on what you prefer.

That’s the brand of the japanese breadcrumbs I have been using for many years. Get everything ready before you start. Pour some oil in a pan enough to cover 2/3 of the chicken.

To start, coat the chicken thighs in egg, then transfer to the bowl with breadcrumbs and make sure the whole chicken is evenly coated. (I have recently tried a new method where I coat the chicken thighs in plain flour first before dipping into the egg..it’s up to you how you want to do it.). In summary, what I meant is either you can either:

a) Dip into egg -> breadcrumb -> oil

or

b) Coat with plain flour -> egg -> breadcrumb -> oil

Either way works.

When the oil in the pan is hot enough, put in enough chicken to deep fry till golden brown.

Don’t you feel the deep fry chicken calling out to you!!!

Next entry on sushi making chapter 4 will be on how to roll the chicken rolls!

Introduction to sushi making: How to cut nigiri and sashimi (chapter 2)

So what happens if you buy a huge salmon as such?

Due to high demand of requests from friends who wants to know how to do this, I will use pictures to illustrate how I slice my salmon into sashimi and nigiri.

As you can see, I have given instructions to my fishmonger to take the skin off for me. This was because I was in a rush for time. Normally I take the salmon skin off myself for hygiene purposes.

First of all, orientate yourself with the salmon. You can see that there is a line in the middle of the salmon. If following the above picture, on the right is the thicker part of the salmon so this is used for sashimi, the left is wider and thinner so this part is used for nigiri. 

Divide the salmon in the middle.

when I say middle, can you see the line in the middle of the fish? The line has to be towards the nigiri (the thinner side) side as shown below.

Slice the part with the line off as shown in the pictures. This is because that part is quite ‘fibrous’. But it won’t be wasted, save it for making rolls.

There you go! the whole strip where the line was is completely sliced off now!

Flip the nigiri part over and trim off all the salmon fats…

After trimming all the fats, slice off the side to make it look neater. You can save the trimmings for the rolls so don’t throw them away.

Now we can start slicing. The most important thing about slicing is make sure the blade of ur knife is at 90 degrees to the salmon lines. This is how you get lines on the nigiri pieces which makes it look pretty. Can you see from the above picture how that is done. (I am regretting not photoshopping the photos and putting in arrows to illustrate better)

Angle your knife at 45 degrees.

Slice in one direction and one motion preferably from the end to the tip of the knife. Not in a sawing motion!

There you have sliced off the firs nigiri piece.

Repeat the steps to slice the rest…

There you have got all ur nigiri pieces lined up.

Now for the sashimi! Turn the other part of the fish around and start trimming the fats.

Turn the sashimi part back again to its original position after trimming the fats and start slicing as above. Approximately 1cm thick? Again, slice in one motion starting from the end of the knife to the tip of the knife. No sawing motion or you going to destroy the fish!

I supposed a video of me doing this would help. But hope the pictures useful! Speaks a thousand words~

Now you have loads of sashimi to eat to your heart’s content!!!

Chicken katsu curry recipe

Chicken katsu curry is one of my favourite japanese dish.

It is something I have been making for 6 years now. But the katsu curry I learnt from the hashi cookbook is definitely slightly better than the one I had been making.

Love it! Love the crispiness of the chicken.

Chicken katsu curry recipe adapted from Hashi cookbook by Reiko Hashimoto:

For the chicken katsu:

4 deboned chicken thighs

60g plain flour

salt and white pepper, to taste

2 eggs

100-150g panko breadcrumbs

vegetable oil (at least 1 litre), for deep-frying

About 1.2kg freshly cooked piping hot rice. (a medium size bowlful of cooked rice per person), to serve

For the curry sauce:

2 tbsp vege oil

1 1/2 large onions, finely chopped

3 carrots, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, grated

2 chicken drumsticks/with skin on

220ml dry or medium white wine

2 litres boiling water

200g japanese curry roux mix

First prepare the curry sauce. heat the vege oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic and chicken drumsticks and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly and taking care not to let the ingredients burn.

Add the white wine and cook for about 1 minute. Add the boiling water and bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and add the curry roux mix, breaking it up as you go. Stir it well until all the roux mix has dissolved. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the chicken drumsticks and set aside to cool for another use (you may like to eat these with salad or as a snack another time – refrigerate once cold).

Meanwhile, as the curry sauce is cooking, make the chicken katsu. Debone the chicken thighs. Season the flour with a little salt and pepper and put it on a plate. Put the eggs into a shallow dish and beat them lightly. Spread the breadcrumbs over a separate plate or shallow dish.

Dip the deboned thighs first in the flour, covering them all over, then shake off any excess. Next, dip the floured chicken in to the beaten egg, covering them completely, then finally dip the chicken into the breadcrumbs, ensuring each chicken thigh is completely covered with breadcrumbs.

Heat the vege oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan or a wok over a medium heat until it reaches 170 celcius.

Slide the chicken portions into the hot oil. Deep-fry the chicken for about 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness), turning them occasionally. Once the breadcrumbs coating becomes light golden brown in colour, remove the chicken from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Leave it to rest for 1 minute, then cut the chicken into 1cm thick slices.

Spoon the hot cooked rice into 4 individual flat bowls or plates. Place the sliced chicken katsu on top. For each portion, pour some curry sauce over half of the chicken katsu, so that one half of the chicken is covered with sauce and the other half remains dry. Serve immediately.

Introduction to sushi making (chapter 1)

Most people wondered how is it that my sushi looks professionally done.

Trick is…

Practice!

Ok. Probably not as simple as that. Definitely practice in important but life is easier if a professional teaches you how to do it properly.

I learnt how to make sushi 7 years ago. I was working part time as a cleaner in my first year of med school. Then, I got kind of fed up and decided to try something different. Thanks to my friend, I managed to get a part time job as a sushi chef in Yo Sushi. Prior to being employed, they taught me how to make sushi very briefly. I managed to pick up the skill relatively quickly and conjured up some pretty good-looking sushi. I was trained and worked every saturday for 2 months before I eventually gave up as I felt that they were underpaying me.

After I left Yo sushi, I managed to secure another post as a sushi chef in another sushi shop. The shop at the time was not yet officially opened. I started off being the pioneer and trained all the other part-timers on how to make sushi.

Even when I was completing my foundation training as a doctor, I do occasionally work with my previous employer in huge sushi events for weddings, birthday parties etc. It is not because working as a doctor has a low salary, but the fact that I love making sushi so much.

Sushi is a good way to gather people together. I am grateful God has blessed me with this gift so I can bless others in the same way God has blessed me.

This was the first ever occasion I decided to make sushi at home. I never thought I could do this until I tried. (year 2008)

Glad that first time sushi-making at home is a success. Never say impossible!

It then became a norm to make sushi whenever somebody visits me and specially request sushi…

Calls for a celebration for my graduation in 2010…

For a close friend’s birthday in 2011

My cell leader’s birthday 2010

My cell leader’s birthday in 2010

Rolls of sushi ready to be cut

Chew Fatt’s farewell do

Chew Fatt’s farewell do

Then it started looking a bit more professional….this was for a visiting friend from London in 2011

For cell members in Glasgow 2013

This was when I visited my friend’s place in Edinburgh Jan 2013

To satisfy craving on a normal day…..

I love making sushi and seeing the joy on other people’s faces is priceless.

First of all, Iet me introduce to you a Japanese cookery book which was given to me by my foodie friend (CF).

This is probably one of my favourite Japanese cookery books. Delicious, mouth watering recipes. A worthwhile investment. It tells you the basics, equipments you need, store cupboard ingredients. It also has step-by-step pictures on how to make inside-out rolls. I would say that the book contains more recipes on how to make Japanese dishes, rather than sushi. Probably 15% of the book is on the types of sushi you can make, which is quite informative and good enough for me. 

Another issue that troubles me everytime I relocate for work purposes is looking for the right fishmonger. I am extremely particular when it comes to buying fish. Any hint that the fish has been defrosted and has lost its texture is immediately ‘disqualified’. Since I came to Glasgow, I tried the salmon from Maccallums and was greatly disappointed. I then found the scottish fishmonger who does free deliveries and quality of the fish was pretty good so I sticked with them for a couple of months. But in the last week or so, I tried wholefoods market’s salmon which is the most amazing salmon I have ever eaten. Fresh, firm and deliciously ‘fishy’. Wholefoods market will be my new salmon supplier from now on!

The key to making good sushi lies in the freshness of the ingredients you used. To ensure freshness, buy the fish on the same day. The fish I tend to go for are salmon, tuna and sea bass.

Also ensure that you have a very good sharp knife or you will be cursing your way through while cutting the fish.

Anyway, I realised that I do not actually have photos of me making sushi step-by-step. So the next time I make sushi, I will make sure I have a photographer who is kind and patient enough to take photos of the whole process so I can share with my readers.
Till the next entry on how to make sushi rolls…Stay tuned!