Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sushi Party!

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Sushi is such a popular cuisine and today I hosted a Sushi Party with friends and family. It was a great time playing with such a colorful table of ingredients, fragrant rice and getting hands on with the rolling maki and forming nigiri sushi. We also had fun testing out a new sushi gadget called the 'Sushezi'!...

If there's one cuisine that my friends and family really enjoy, it's sushi. We all know how expensive how dining out on sushi can be, but for a fraction of the price we had more fun throwing a sushi party where we made it ourselves. For the party, I purchased a platter of sashimi, or raw sliced fish which included salmon, tuna, mackerel, white fish, and yellowtail. Together, we also prepared spicy tuna, which was finely chopped fresh tuna mixed with a spicy kick of sriracha and mayonnaise. I also purchased some steamed ebi (shrimp) and unagi (broiled eel).


Rather than hashing out the same thing, here is a *great* website with sushi info and more. Everything from making rice, rolling techniques, etiquette and even history is included. In the Chicago area, here are the places I recommend for sushi supplies and fish:

Chicago Food Corp / aka Joongboo Market

3333 North Kimball Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60618
(773) 478-5566
* Be sure to call and place your order for sashimi platters before hand. You won't be able to purchase them without calling first since they are made to order and need ample time to prepare. Sashimi platters are sold in 3 sizes - small ($20), medium ($30) and large ($50). On Wednesdays, they have a sashimi platter special where the medium platter is on sale for $20.

Lawrence Fish Market
3914 W Lawrence Ave
(between Harding Ave & Springfield Ave)
Chicago, IL 60625(773) 267-6838
* Be sure to call and place your order
for sashimi platters and maki sushi rolls before hand. You won't be able to purchase them without calling first since they are made to order and need ample time to prepare. They don't have a website but they are familiar with all maki rolls. I suggest having your fave sushi menu handy and ordering from it when you place your order. Lawrence Fish Market is also a major supplier of sushi/sashimi of local sushi houses, which allows them to keep their prices very, very reasonable.


The Sushezi gadget is interesting and it took a bit of practice to get a decent roll. It's important to really pack in the rice to ensure a nice, tight roll that holds its shape. Once you have it filled with your preferred fillings, you gently push the roll out and it maintains a beautifully, perfect cylinder shape. To complete the maki roll, carefully roll it in nori, or seaweed paper. Allow the maki roll to rest a few minutes to soften the nori (seaweed wrapper) before slicing and serving. I purchased this gadget through Amazon.




Although the Sushezi made rolling maki easy, I think I prefer rolling it by hand with a bamboo mat for a more rustic look...

To cut the maki roll into eighths, it's best to cut it in half... and then each half in half... and then each new half in half. Supposedly cutting it in slices as you would a loaf of bread is bad luck. Here are some shots of the maki friends made...


We can't forget the nigiri. For these, pads of rice are topped with fresh sashimi. To make the pads of rice, take a small ball of rice and form it into an oblong or football shape. Dab a bit of wasabi over the top of the rice and lay a piece of sashimi over it. Ideally, nigiri should be consumed in one bite so it's best not to make them too big.

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