So, I am very experimental with my food, but as soon as I say this, I also have to say nothing fills my tummy like Butter chicken, Garlic Naan loaded with butter, Green chutney and Pickled onions. However, one fine afternoon, in pursuit of curiosity, I tried Sushi. Somehow, the thought of eating raw fish never appealed to my senses. Though, I am not particularly averse to sea food. In fact, I love my lobsters, prawns, fish, crabs and oysters. In that order. When opportunity presented itself in form of Octopus sushi, I did not hesitate one bit, and ate it. Moments later, I spat it out. Well, that was years ago.
A beginner’s guide to eating Sushi
- Always eat Sushi with hand. Hell, Japanese eat it that way. Unless, it’s Sashimi then you can use Chopsticks.
- Choose your restaurant carefully. Preferably a Sushi bar. It can be a deal maker or breaker in your Sushi eating experience. If something goes wrong the first time you are most likely to not want to try Sushi ever.
- Some of the most popular fillings are Sake (Salmon), Maguro (Blue fin Tuna), Tai (Red Snapper), Tamago (Sweet egg), Masago (Caviar) etc
- If you are unsure about what to order, it’s always best to leave it to the Chef and tell the Chef that you are a first timer. My suggestion would be to go slow and easy by starting with Maki (thin slices of fish wrapped in nori sea weed and rice) or the easiest breeziest Califronia Roll (which has little or no raw fish), and then to an overall Sushi platter that the Chef fixes for you. Levelling up with each Sushi.
- Yes, there is Sushi that’s actually made without the fish! Just in case you didn’t know, let me surprise you with one more thing, there’s actually a Sushi that is made with chicken too (more on this later)!
- What commonly comes along with Sushi is Wasabi, Soy Sauce, and the best part Pickled Ginger. Be forewarned that Wasabi, the green colored paste should be had in a very little quantity as it is very high on spice. Though it is not highly recommended to dip all your sushi in Soy Sauce and Wasabi, mixed together, but I have found that, that is one of the ways I enjoy Sushi the most, it in odd ways brings out the flavours that please my taste buds all the time! Remember, that you too, like me, may end up loving the Pickled Ginger, but it’s main purpose is to cleanse your palate before you move on to your next bite of a differently flavoured Sushi.
My favourite Go to place for Sushi in New Delhi
Hands down, it has to be B- Bar, Guppy By Ai, Nom Nom or The Yum Yum Tree. I am so glad that all these places and more, accept my Exclusive Delhi card and help me get massive discounts at the end of my meals.
Firsthand experience at Sushi Making and Sushi Eating
Last month when I got invited to sample the best of Sushi, with none other than Chef Vadim Shin of B-Bar, to feast my senses, it was an offer that I just could not refuse. B-Bar, is an ideal place for sampling Sushi, with it’s stunning decor of high central dome framed by an imposing statue of a Samurai at the entrance. Zen like ambience, perfect lighting and incredible music adds to the overall experience of one’s meal.
DIY Sushi: Art of Making Sushi, basics I learnt from Chef Vadim Shin at B-Bar, Select City Walk, New Delhi
Chef Vadim Shin explained that an important ingredient of Sushi is rice, and it is it’s texture that gives the actual flavour. It is important to note that the rice used is Japanese rice which is very different from the commonly used Basmati Rice. The difference lies in the Japanese grain and the stickiness in it (Sticky rice). While washing the rice, it is important to note that the rice should be considered as properly washed only when the water is completely clean by the end of repetitive washes. Rice is generally mixed with Sushi vinegar to make it soft. After the rice is cooked, it looks very shiny.
- NORI SEAWEED
This is essential to make the wraps around the sushi, and typically on which the rice sticks.
- JAPANESE KNIVES
Chef Vadim Shin of B-Bar suggested that it was very important to have professional Japanese Knives which have stainless steel as they donot stick to sea food or vegetables
- FRESH FROM SEA WATER OR FRESH RIVER WATER FISH
If you are going to eat the fish raw, you might as well just ensure that the fish is fresh. This is the most crucial point that actually should move you to eat sushi only at known and highly recommended places which serve quality. It is wise to eat at High end restaurants like B-Bar for quality Sushi.
BEGINNER LEVEL WITH MAKI
Insider tips from Chef Vadim Shin on preparing Maki
- CLEAN HANDS
Once you have your ingredients sorted, it is required that you always keep your hands clean. Like Chef Vadim Shin said that best Sushi chefs have the cleanest of hands and nails properly chopped. Oh boy! He was definitely not lying. His hands were truly clean looking for sure.
- CHILLED WATER
Chilled water is required so that you can keep dipping your hands in cold water. This helps in keeping your hands cold, thereby ensuring that rice doesn’t stick to your hands.
- RICE ON NORI SEAWEED
Spread the nori seaweed and place rice on it. It is advised to not press the rice too much on the nori seaweed. Once rice is placed on the nori, it should appear to completely fall in line with the pressed sea weed.
- BLUE FIN TUNA
Blue fin Tuna is the best Tuna. Take the backside of the Tuna to make your Sushi. Make sure that you don’t over stuff the the Sushi with Tuna filling as it might get too difficult and messy to fold the sea weed later.
Always use Wasabi and spread and press it in the middle then place the Tuna in the centre.
Leave some space at the edge sea weed, so that while folding, the rice doesn’t come out.
INTERMEDIARY LEVEL WITH CALIFORNIA URAMAKI
At B-Bar, Chef Vadim Shin made me sample California Uramaki sushi, which is an inside-out sushi, it was extremely beautiful with rice on the outside and filled with Japanese mayonnaise, Avocado and Crab. In the end, the Chef added color to it with stunning orange eggs of Flying Fish. One can top it with sesame seeds too. It is a perfect healthy fast food choice in my opinion. So quick, so simple and so very yum.
ADVANCED LEVEL WITH SASHIMI
also tasted a very thin Sashimi, which is a sushi made without the rice, it was prepared using salty Salmon, where a hole was made in the middle and it was turned to give it the shape of a curve and garnished with red radish. It is the most simple form of Sushi. I also believe it is one of the most difficult eats. In case of preparing Sashimi, always make the plate that is to be served, ready beforehand. The lesser the time the fish is in your hands the more fresh it will be. Cut the fish as later as possible so that the fish doesn’t lose temperature.
FUN SUSHI: CHICKEN DRESSED UP IN OVERALLS CALLED SUSHI
Reincarnation of Chicken Caesar Salad
Chef Vadim Shin spinned magic with his secret ingredient ‘love’ in all of his cooking but, ouch, this was my favorite sushi. The ‘Chicken Caesar Salad’ sushi or Chicken Maki !!!!!! Kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it? Sushi without the fish? But then again, in the very beginning I mentioned, that I am more of a chicken person! This will definitely make you drool, in case you squirm at the thought of eating raw fish or just get cold feet while you are finally at the Sushi bar. Which you ideally shouldn’t, if it is with Chef Vadim Shin! Coming back to the Chicken Maki! It uses exactly the same ingredients like Chicken Caesar Salad, like, Cheddar or Parmesan Cheese, Ice berg, and my favourite, Chicken. But, of course.
Giving a fishy start a chickeny end kind of a faffer,