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Recipes from Sashimi and Nigiri Class, March 19.

Sushi Rice

Use "Short" grain rice or rice labeled as "Sushi" Rice such as Lundberg Farm Rice. To cook rice, wash the rice in the water a couple of times. Drain water put it in a rice cooker, then add water - the rice: water ratio is 1:1.1. (I used "Lundberg" Organic Sushi Rice - available at Whole Foods Market) Let it sit for at least fifteen minutes in summer and up to thirty minutes in winter before cooking rice. This helps the rice cook better and brings out sweetness from the rice. Using mineral water or filtered water dramatically increases the taste of rice (which is what I do). Key Points: 1. Use mineral water to wash the rice 2. Let rice sit in water for 30 minutes before cooking 3. Use organic ingredients


  • 3 cups Organic Short Grain Rice Sushi Vinaigrette:

  • Ratio - Rice Vinegar:Sugar:Salt=5:3:1. For example, 5 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of salt.

  • 1 1/4 cup Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar (Available at Whole Foods Market or Natural Grocery Store)

  • 3/4 cup Organic Cane Sugar

  • 1/4 Sea Salt


  1. In a bowl, put rice and pour mineral water to soak all the rice. Quickly drain water. Repeat one more time. ( you can use tap water for the second time, but for the first rinse, use mineral water)

  2. Pick up a handful of rice and rub it gently with your hands. Do so with entire rice.

  3. Pour water (tap is OK) all the way so that all rice is underwater. Stir the rice with your hands gently, then drain the water.

  4. Repeat step 2&3 one more time

  5. Put washed rice in the rice cooker, add 3.3 cups of water and let it sit for 30minutes. This will bring out the sweetness more flavor rice.

  6. (If you are using a pot, place rice in a pot and add water.)

  7. To mix sushi vinaigrette, add rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix until sugar and salt are dissolved. (you can heat the mixture over low heat if sugar and salt do not dissolve at room temperature.)

  8. Cook rice. Make sure to let the rice cooker sit for at least 15 minutes after the "cooking" light is off. (If you are using a pot, medium high heat for 10-15 minutes or until all the water evaporates. Turn off the heat, let it sit for 10-15 minutes for steaming. Important: never open the lid, as this will release the steam and pressure inside the pot necessary to cook the rice.) 3cups of uncooked rice should make about 8-9 cups of cooked rice.

  9. In a "handai" (sushi rice mixing wooden bowl) or a stainless bowl, put cooked rice. Using a wooden rice spatula, pour sushi vinegar over it and distribute it evenly to the rice.

  10. Mix rice with sushi vinegar in a slicing motion to keep each grain of rice intact. Avoid smashing, putting too much pressure and mixing too much. We use about 1/3~1/4 cups of sushi vinegar to 4 cups of cooked rice.

  11. Let it cook until the rice is about the same temperature as palm of your hand. Turn the rice over to let the other side cool to the same temperature.


What to look for in fresh fish

Just like you know what to look for in a fresh tomato - firmness, color, shininess, and fresh scent - looking for a fresh fish is the same thing. You want to look for firmness, color, shininess, and fresh scent.

Fresh fish looks moist and close-grained, with a bright, clear color and no hints of the yellowing or browning that result from oxidation.The older the fish gets, the more "liquid" it loses, thus losing firmness and shininess.

The color of the meat becomes, generally speaking, milky or cloudy for whitefish and a dark black tone for tuna.If you are looking at a whole fish, two things you should look for are gills and eyes. A fresh fish has gills that are bright red and eyes crystal clear as if you can see the bottom of the ocean. As the fish gets older, the gills get burgundy color and the eyes become cloudy. If you see blood in its eyes, it's a sign that the fish was handled poorly (like being thrown).

"Fishy" smell comes from bacteria, not from the fish itself. Fresh fish smells like grass or sea plant. A good example of fresh Tai/Red Snapper with eyes that are crystal clear.

How to Fillet A Whole Fish?

  1. First you cut through the head

  2. Gut it by Removing the intestine and wash with running water

  3. Cut from the stomach side first

  4. Then cut from the backside

  5. Tale on your right hand side, move the knife toward its head

  6. Flip it and cut from the stomach

  7. Cut the backside

  8. From its tail, slide your knife toward the head to separate the meat from the bones

  9. You should end up with three pieces like the last photo


Shime is a Japanese technique of curing fish with salt and vinegar.

Shime is required for some fish including Saba/Mackerel and Salmon in order to kill parasites.

Here are the steps for traditional Shime using Salmon. (in the class, Saba was used and for salmon, it was salt/sugar mix instead of curing in salt, as you see in the following pictures.)

Step 1: Place fish in salt

Step 2: Cover the fish with salt and let it sit for 1-2 hours.

Step 3: Rinse in water to remove all the salt. Dry with a paper towel.

Step 4: Soak completely in vinegar for 10-20 minutes

How to Fillet Tuna?

Seen from the side, first, you cut the top part and the bottom as indicated in the black lines above.

You should end up with blocks like these

You need to slice it against the grains as seen in the photo above

How to make Tuna Sashimi?

You "pull" your knife and move each piece to your left. The knife should move in slightly circular motion.

How to make Nigiri?

(from left to right)

  1. Wet your hands and grab some sushi rice (about half the size of fish) and form a football shape ball

  2. Pick up fish with your left hand

  3. Place wasabi right in the center of the fish

  4. Place sushi rice on fish

  5. Press the center of the sushi rice with the thumb

  6. Press the top and bottom of rice with fingers

  7. With your index finger, press down the rice

  8. Turn over so that the fish is now on top

  9. Squeeze the side

  10. Press with two fingers from the top

  11. Turn upside down

  12. Squeeze the sides

  13. Press the top one more time

  14. Ready to serve

About Wasabi

Recognized as one of the strongest antibacterial edible plants against salmonella and E. coli.

A recent study shows that wasabi has:

  • Antioxidant benefits

  • Improves blood circulation

  • Suppresses hay fever allergy symptoms

  • Controls the spread of cancer cells

  • Stimulates healthy appetite

  • Eliminates “fishy” smell from sashimi

  • Goes well with raw fish like Tuna

Wasabi is a root vegetable and is different from "horseradish" - the one you put on your roast beef. Wasabi is commonly called Japanese Horseradish, but not really from horseradish spices. What is typically served at sushi restaurants in the US is a combination of (western) horseradish, mustard, and green food coloring, containing no real wasabi. There is some wasabi that contains real wasabi or wasabi powder made from 100% wasabi root. However, because real wasabi is expensive, most restaurants use non-wasabi powder. It is the mustard that gives strong burning "hot" sensation in your mouth and clears your sinus. Cultivating wasabi is very difficult, requiring clear and pure spring water, cold temperate, and controlled sun exposure throughout the year. Nagano and Shizuoka are the two main regions of Japan that produce wasabi. There are several farmers and companies who sell fresh wasabi in the US including Real Wasabi in Oregon, Halfmoon Bay Wasabi Company in California, and The fresh wasabi has a rather sweet and wonderful aroma, unlike the powder kind. It also has a very subtle hotness. If you haven't tried fresh wasabi, we strongly encourage you to try it because it will literary blow your mind. It's unlike anything you've tasted before. You can order through Real, or go visit your local Japanese market to see if they have them. In San Francisco Bay Area, Tokyo Fish Market in Albany and Nijiya Market in Japan town carry them.

They are, rather expensive - $50-$150/lbs! To Buy Wasabi Online Halfmoon Bay Wasabi Company Real Wasabi WHERE TO GET SUSHI-GRADE FISH AND OTHER INGREDIENTS

Your best bet in finding so-called sushi-grade fresh fish is to ask your fish seller if it's suitable for raw consumption. It takes years to acquire the skill to be able to tell if you can eat a fish just by looking at it. Generally speaking, you need to look for firm, shinny skin tone.

Tokyo Fish Market

1220 San Pablo AveB

Berkeley, CA 94706


Probably the best retail Japanese market to get sushi grade fish and all the ingredients you need to make sushi


19750 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014

Good prices fresh sashimi grade fish are available.

Here is a blog post about Marukai.

Nijiya Market

Several Locations in Bay Area

If you are cooking Japanese food, this would be the market to go

Mitsuwa Market Place

675 Saratoga Ave.,San Jose, CA 95129


The biggest Japanese Grocery Store in US

Monterey Fish Market

1582 Hopkins St. Berkeley, CA 94707

Excellent sushi grade fish all caught in a sustainable way. We get fish from their wholesale on Pier 33. They cater to Chez Panisse and French Laundry.

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