Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi

The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi
Includes 625 step-by-step photographs
by Jeffrey Elliot and Robby Cook

Hardcover, 306 pages

I love Sushi. Not really until I was in my twenties and a good friend with a great pension used to take me out for such treats. (Really, Toronto and surrounding regions are great for multicultural foods. You can find anything here, all ranges in prices and quality and authenticity and combinations thereof.)

Sushi has history and procedure and is interactive. It is an event as well as a great meal.
And you can make it at home. Seriously. I do. You can too.

The word Sushi refers to the rice. In Japan, junior sushi chefs spend a great amount of time learning the basics of perfect sushi rice. It is a skill, and it is worth learning, and us North American home cooks can be a little easier on ourselves than the Japanese Sushi Masters.

The Complete Guide to Sushi and Sashimi is the most comprehensive guide for us sushi enthusiasts that I have ever seen. It lays flat, does not assume you have prior knowledge, and gives you step by step instructions for making any and every kind of sushi, along with the basics to get you going.

By far the best guide to making sushi and sashimi at home that I have ever seen. And, being born in Japan and having quite a taste for sushi, I have looked at many a guide.

Happy Sushi! Feel free to invite me over for a taste. 

Hand-Shaped Sushi Nigiri


This is the basic technique for making nigiri. But even though it’s somewhat basic, it will require a lot of practice. Until you master hand-shaping the sushi rice, it’s best to limit the types of fish you practice with, to avoid any waste. Preslice the fish using the sogizukuri technique (see page 119) before beginning the recipe.

Flip Method (Yokotegaeshi)
2 cups    Sushi Rice (see recipe below), divided    500 mL
20    pieces sushi fish (about 1 lb/500 g),    20
    sliced sogizukuri-style
Dab    wasabi paste    Dab
    Pickled ginger
    Wasabi paste
    Soy sauce

Any type of high-quality fish can be used to make nigiri. Tuna, salmon, yellowtail and white fish are all excellent to use if you are a beginner. Once you become more proficient, you can try flatfish and shellfish.
To make these using the roll method (kotegaeshi), in Step 9 use the fingers of your guide hand to roll over the sushi so that it is fish side up.
When making nigiri, you will need to rewet your hands repeatedly to prevent sticking. If you prefer, use nonstick gloves.

•    Wet towel
•    Nonstick gloves, optional

For vegetarian sushi: Try using pickled vegetables found at Japanese supermarkets, such as cucumber (kyu¯ri), eggplant (nasu), burdock root (gobo), daikon radish (takuan), ginger shallot (myo¯ga) or Japanese turnip (kabu). You can also use fresh or lightly blanched daikon sprouts (kaiware). In fact, you can use any vegetable you have on hand, as long as it will stay on top of the rice (although you can use a piece of nori to help; see page 147).

Sushi Rice Shari


Making rice for sushi is the most important thing you will learn in this book. Without good sushi rice, you can’t make sushi. Apprentice chefs in Japan may take one to two years to perfect rice before they move on to fish. Using a rice cooker will take some of the guesswork out of cooking rice, but following this recipe will help you to cook it on the stovetop.

2 cups    water    500 mL
2 cups    sushi rice    500 mL
1    piece (4 inches/10 cm) konbu optional  1
1⁄2    batch Sushi Vinegar     1⁄2

•    Fine-mesh sieve
•    Large bowl
•    Heavy saucepan with tight-fitting lid
•    Hangiri, optional
•    Rice paddle (shamoji) or spatula
•    Fan, optional

While your rice is cooking, soak your hangiri and rice paddle in cold water to prevent sticking. Drain and wipe dry before adding the rice. If you don’t have a hangiri, use a wide, shallow non-reactive bowl or a clean wooden salad bowl.
If you don’t have a Japanese rice paddle (shamoji), use a wooden or silicone spatula, lightly moistened with water.
Your finished rice should be subtly flavored, free of any clumps and firm but tender, never mushy.

When making nigiri, it is important to work quickly. If you go too slowly, you will transfer too much body heat to the fish and rice, which will make it too warm for serving (sushi should be served at room temperature). This is why it is best to practice making rice balls without the fish, until you develop comfort and speed.

Courtesy of The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi by Jeffrey Elliot & Robby Cook © 2015 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Image credit: Andrew Scrivani

From the Back Flap:

These easy-to-follow recipes come from two of the leading experts in North America, who explain everything there is to know about sushi and knives.

Sushi isn't tricky to make so long as you have the right utensils and instructions, and have the patience to get acquainted with the various techniques. All it takes is some practice and in no time at all, you'll be making sumptuous sushi that will wow family and friends.

This incredible book provides all the information needed to get started--from ingredients and knives, to equipment, fish butchery, and plating techniques, making perfect rice and so much more.

With full color throughout, lots of recipes, a very user-friendly concealed wiro-bound hardcover binding, 500 photos and hundreds of tips and techniques, this sushi book is sure to become the go-to guide for sushi and sashimi lovers, novice and experienced alike.

You'll learn about how vitally important knives are along with the differences between Japanese and Western equivalents and substitutes. Ingredients certainly take center stage and here Robby Cook shares his extensive experience whether he's sharing his expertise about Fluke (Hirame), Octopus (Tako) or Red Snapper (Tai).

Sushi, maki, sashimi, nigiri, oshizushi--it's all here. From the California and Dragon Rolls we're all familiar with, to tantalizing clam and sea urchin recipes. 

About the Authors Jeffrey Elliot and Robby Cook

Jeffrey Elliot
has a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and has cooked at prestigious restaurants such as Le Cirque, and Le Bernardin in New York, he was also the Executive Chef of a group of Japanese restaurants in Miami. Since leaving the kitchen he's gotten an MBA, been a stockbroker, and worked for Share Our Strength, a not for profit dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in America. After that, Jeffrey was the Director of Culinary Relations for four of the world’s largest luxury housewares brands; Zwilling JA Henckels, Miyabi, Demeyere, and Staub, as well as the Executive Chef and Brand Ambassador of Zwilling JA Henckels USA.
During his time at Zwilling, he coauthored the ZWILLING JA HENCKELS Complete Book of Knife Skills, which was praised by Good Housekeepingmagazine as “the ultimate book on the subject”. Jeffrey is the president of Culinary Relations, a full service marketing and PR agency that specializes in housewares. He resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniawith his wife Jill Sloane, sons Henry and Parker, and Havanese Ruby.

Robby Cook
is the executive sushi chef at one of New York City’s most respected and influential sushi restaurants. He has been making sushi professionally for the past 11 years. Robby’s hobbies include collecting Knives, Shoes, Frogskins, Craft Beers, and Vinyl Records. Dj’ing.
Watersports (wake surfing and wake boarding).
Robby was nominated for Rising Star Chef 2013.
He resides in New York.