Last Wednesday, there was a CIEE-sponsored sushi making event! We got the opportunity to try our hand at making one of the foods we've been eating pretty regularly while in Japan. It was a lot of fun, and it was nice to spend the afternoon inside out of the heat!
The event was located just a few stations from school, so we got there soon after lunch (although we had been told to have a light lunch since we would be eating our sushi after we made it). When we got there, we donned our aprons, washed our hands, and then got orientated with the kitchen environment. First, we watched a demonstration by one of the staff members. She showed us how to make two types of sushi--makizushi and inarizushi. They had a step-by-step guide book with instructions in both English and Japanese – it was really cute!
The inarizushi, or tofu rolls, were pretty simple – we just took a premade fried tofu pouch, squeezed out some of the oil, and then stuffed some rice in. The makizushi, was a bit more complicated. The roll consisted of an egg, rice, cucumber, salmon flakes, ginger, and more rice. For the makizushi, we first cooked the egg in the frying pan. I don't remember what it was called, but it could best be described as an egg pancake--we beat the egg, then spread it out really thinly in the pan and cooked both sides.
In the meantime, rice had been cooking in a rice cooker, so we had to cool it down before we could roll it up. It was actually a pretty complicated process. We dumped the rice into a big wooden bowl, then were instructed to spread out the rice using "horizontal cutting strokes" while simultaneously fanning the rice. More than once we were instructed to fan more vigorously. When the rice had finally been cooled sufficiently, we took the egg pancake and covered it with a layer of rice and some pickled ginger. Then we rolled it up tightly and set it aside for later.
Next, we took a piece of mori (seaweed) and covered it with a layer of rice. Then we placed the egg roll in the middle and put a long slice of cucumber on either side, and another slice on top. Then we rolled up the seaweed with the help of a bamboo mat called a makisu, and used more rice to connect the roll together. Then we sliced the roll into six pieces – the cross-section looked like a flower! We finished it off with a pinch of pink fish powder. It was really pretty!
By the time everyone finished rolling their sushi, we were all pretty hungry. The staff also prepared soup and orange slices for everyone, so we ended the afternoon with a great meal! It was really cool to make the sushi ourselves, and the inarizushi were simple enough that I may try it on my own again~ especially if it turns out as well as it did below!