“Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”
– Jiro Ono
A few months ago I watched the documentary ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ which gives a fascinating insight into the life and work of 85 year old Japanese sushi master Jiro Ono.
Jiro’s outlook seems analogous to football- mastery of technique through practice and repetition, and like Jiro’s minimalist cuisine- football is often at its most beautiful when at its simplest.
For my Japanese World Cup Dinner, there couldn’t have been any other choice than making sushi. This was my first attempt at making it though….definitely more mastery of skill required, though it tasted great!
NIGIRI SUSHI & MAKI ROLLS
100g sushi grade salmon
100g sushi grade tuna
1/2 avocado sliced into strips
3 roasted seaweed sheets
Wash the rice three times, then drain and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Bring one litre/1¾ pints of cold water to the boil and add the kombu (if using) and the rice. Simmer with the lid on for ten minutes, then leave to stand without taking the lid off for another 20 minutes.
Tip into a large wooden bowl, sprinkle on the sushi vinegar and cut through into the rice with a slicing motion with a wooden spatula.
Fan to cool, with a wooden paddle (or an old tablemat), for ten minutes. Turn the rice over, fan for two minutes. Repeat this four times and the rice should be at room temperature and just sticky enough.
Use the rice immediately as it is past its best after a few hours.
Cut your chosen fish carefully into strips.
Take a ball of rice about the size of a walnut, roll it in your hands to form a long sphere.
Place a dot of wasabi on the top.
Place a fish strip on top.
Compress into place with a tapping motion.
Cover bamboo rolling mat in cling film ( to stop rolls sticking).
Cut sheet of roasted seaweed in half.
Cover with rice all over except for the edge facing you, leaving a 2cm border
Press the rice down firmly to give you a thin, even coating.
Line a thin strip of salmon and avocado, or tuna, in the middle.
Roll the mat away from you, catching the filling into the roll. Firm up with the mat.
Unroll, the with your sharpest knife cut into bite-sized pieces.
Serve the nigiri with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.