Lesson 8 – Make it And Shape it

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Lesson 8

Make it and shape it

The best kown form of sushi is probably nigiri sushi. Literally it means grip or handle. This refers to the way you’re supposed the handle the rice: by shaping it with your hand. The rectangular shape of the rice, topped with a slice of fish, is the image most people think of when they hear the word sushi.


Make it stick

Making nigiri is a great way to find out if your sushi really, really sticks. Because there’s no rolling in nori involved, the rice needs to keep its shape by sticking to itself. So the first order of business here is: make sure you know how to properly cook sticky sushi rice. When in doubt, repeat lesson 1. Because if your sushi rice is not sticky enough, you simply will not be able to shape it into nigiri.

In general you can make nigiri with any kind of fish or seafood you prefer. Instead of fish you can also use a topping of sweet egg (tamago). If you’re not sure the topping will stay on the rice, bind it with a thin strip of nori.


Wasabi …

The other common nigiri ingredient is wasabi. If you don’t use have real wasabi, use even less than Chef Devaux recommends, because fake wasabi is much more pungent than real wasabi.

Now give it a try for yourself and make shrimp nigiri. Watch the video closely; you’ll learn how to exactly prepare and cut the shrimp. This is very useful for many more recipes that include shrimp.


Fill it up

A special type of nigiri sushi is called gunkan maki. This means battleship roll, although there’s no rolling and definitely no battleship involved. Gunkan maki contains rice in an oval, hand-formed shape. A strip of nori wrapped around the perimeter forms a kind of vessel – with some fantasy that’s probably the warship – that you can fill with soft, loose or finely chopped ingredients.

Just so you know: some purists say gunkan maki is not nigiri, mainly because the word ‘maki’ is in the name. This naming issue doesn’t have any consequences whatsoever, but just in case someone brings it up, you now know what it’s about.


Edible battleships

Chef Devaux has a recipe available that makes your Gunkan Maki look extra spectacular. Make this Battleship Sushi to impress your guests. And no need to tell them that it’s actually quite simple to make.

Equally impressive is this Salmon Battleship sushi. The nori is replaced by a slice of salmon to keep the other ingredient (in this case salmon roe) in its place. Give it a try. You need the practice of hand rolling the rice anyway.


Play ball

Technically speaking the Salmon Battleship is a kind of temari sushi. Temari is Japanese for ‘hand ball’. It refers to a traditional embroidered ball, originally simply used to play with but these days more often used as decorative ornaments.  Temari sushi consists of hand shaped round sushi rice balls topped with ingredients of your choice.

That’s it for this lesson. Now get back to your kitchen and make some of this delicious sushi. After all: that’s what it’s alll about!

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