From pre-packaged California rolls at supermarkets to high-end sushi restaurants where you can easily spend a week’s pay, the Japanese speciality has become popular worldwide and nearly ubiquitous in urban America. You can even get decent (if overpriced) sushi at many American ballparks! Many feel that sushi is an acquired taste, though for those who have acquired it, it can turn into a kind of madness — what was once a simple way to preserve fish has become incredibly complicated.
Sushi: Japanese Tradition, from Japanese comedy troupe Rahmen, made the rounds a while ago and pokes fun at the rules and manners of eating at a traditional sushi restaurant. Proper etiquette at a sushi bar can be intimidating, especially when dining out with a self-appointed expert who knows the difference between fake wasabi and real wasabi. Trevor Carson, author of The Zen of Fish, was featured in a short ABC news segment last year offering some handy tips.
Of course, what’s even more impressive than knowing the rules to eating sushi is having the skills to make your own, where you can be as creative and messy as you like. Becoming a taisho, or sushi chef, takes time to master — even if they make it look easy on Iron Chef. It all starts with rice, as the word “sushi” actually means “vinegared rice,” and it’s a laborious process. This recipe from VideoJug, How To Make Sushi Rice shows the traditional fanning of the cooked rice. Howcast’s recipe calls for real konbu (kelp) instead of instant dashi. ExpertVillage’s guide breaks it up into five steps. And there are at least three different videos at 5min along with plenty of other sushi recipes and tips.
Once you get the hang of it, making rolls, or maki, is actually pretty simple — all of the hard work is in making the rice and slicing and dicing the ingredients. Futomaki, or fat rolls, are great. With no raw fish involved at all (pickled vegetables and tamago, a sweet omelette, star), it keeps well for picnics and work lunches. And it’s pretty much guilt free when you consider overfished oceans, salmon and tuna shortages, high mercury levels in fish and even raw-fish rackets run by creepy cults.