Making my own sushi has been on my list of things to try for years now, but I’m not known for my tidy, careful ways in the kitchen and I always assumed my clumsy fat fingers would be something of a hindrance in the delicate art of sushi.
So when the team at Yutaka got in touch to see if my kids might be up for having a go at rolling their own sushi, I had to volunteer them. If Yutaka reckon children can make sushi, then surely I can have a go too?
Sure enough, the guys at Yutaka were right. Making sushi is like child’s play. OK, I realise our sushi doesn’t quite have the same artistry or craftmanship as that created by a true itamae or sushi master who has trained for years and years. But we were pretty darn chuffed with our efforts, and what’s even more pleasing, it tasted fantastic too. Boom!
We were provided with a superb sushi sampler, including a bamboo sushi rolling mat (it only took us a couple of minutes to realise we were trying to roll the mat the wrong way…), black and white roasted sesame seeds, sushi rice, organic tamari soy sauce, Shaoxhing rice wine, wasabi paste, roasted seaweed sushi nori, sushi ginger, a nigiri sushi maker, Japanese rice vinegar, and Japanese mirin rice wine.
Apparently, getting the sushi rice right is the most important first step in making good sushi. It’s got to be beautifully seasoned with sushi vinegar (rice vinegar, sugar and salt) and perfectly sticky. Thankfully Yutaka have created this short video with Japanese cooking instructor, Akemi Yokoyama to show us how.
Once your rice is ready, then it’s simply a case of spreading it out over your seaweed nori sheets, filling with whatever takes your fancy, rolling and slicing. This is the bit the children loved – it’s when the magic happens!
Top tip: as the rice is super sticky, using water on your fingers and the knife makes it much easier to spread the rice and cut through the sushi roll, and a good sharp knife is pretty important too.
Initially, my youngest wasn’t keen on the idea of sushi as she isn’t a big fish fan. But the beauty of making sushi is you can fill it with just about anything you like and it’s perfect for using up those small amounts of leftovers lurking in the fridge. For our fillings we went for roast chicken and avocado, smoked salmon with cream cheese and asparagus, and ham and cucumber – not exactly authentic Japanese flavours, but winners with my children at least.
You could go completely veggie if you prefer, or even fruit for a sweet treat. And once you have the sushi rice already prepared and in the refrigerator it is a breeze to pull out and assemble a quick and nutritious meal.
Sushi is a brilliant way to get kids involved in making and eating healthy nutritious food. If you’d like to give it a go with your brood, look out for Yutaka’s new starter kit, which contains all the basics you’ll need to create 12 nori rolls – you just need to supply the fresh filling ingredients. The starter kit features boil-in-the-bag sushi rice, seasoning, two nori sheets, ginger, soy sauce and a rolling mat together with illustrated instructions. It costs around £4.00 and is available from Sainsbury’s and other food retailers as well as online via Amazon.
Disclosure: I was supplied with complimentary products from Yutaka in order to write this blog post. As ever all views expressed are mine and those of my family.