18 May 2013

GUEST BLOG: Rice magic

By guest blogger CHRIS YOUNG

A room full of excited participants assembled at Chorlton High School on the evening of Tuesday 14 May. Only a few had previously tried to cook Japanese cuisine or sushi so everyone was eager to learn how to make miso soup and sushi with a delicious dipping sauce.

Chef Kim Irwin started the session by talking about the different ingredients we were going to use and explained that Japanese cooking is all about subtle flavours and that you should uncover different layers as you taste the food. She then showed us how to chop the vegetables in different ways to make the presentation more interesting, and shared some tricks and tips, and the participants got cracking and did very well!

The miso soup was made by first soaking some kombu (kelp) in cold water then heating it up without boiling (as it turns bitter if it boils), then the resulting dashi was used as stock for the soup. The chopped vegetables were quickly fried and the dashi was added, together with the other ingredients.

For the sushi, we cooked a special sushi rice, leaving it to steam for 15 minutes. It was then spread out evenly on a baking tray to cool to room temperature. Kim showed the group how to put the sushi together: she flattened out a bamboo sushi roller and placed a nori seaweed sheet on top then she added the rice, chopped vegetables, some umboshi plum paste, wasabi paste and finally a piece of fish. She then put some water on the top end of the seaweed sheet to act a bit like glue and slowly rolled while pulling on the mat. Once rolled, the mat was removed and the sushi slice into bite-size pieces with a sharp knife.

The participants then all had a go at making their own sushi, some veggie versions, some fish, and we all sat down to eat. I'd never had sushi before and I wasn’t sure if I was going to taste it, but I'm glad I did - I liked it a lot! Thank you to Kim, to the participants and to the volunteers – you all did a splendid job!

There are more photographs from this session on our Facebook page.

Kim will be running the Turning Japanese session again on 4 June at our Altrincham Cookery School. Click here for more details and to book, please contact Andrea Lacon at Altrincham Grammar School For Boys - telephone 0161 928 0858 or email alacon@agsb.co.uk.

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