Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Happiness In"...Temaki Sushi Cooking Class Report

Last night's "Setsubun" Temaki Sushi Dinner Celebration class was a lot of fun.

February 3 is a day of "Setsubun" in Japan. It's a day before the beginning of spring in the old calendar. On Setsubun Day, usually a guy in the family wears a ogre mask, and we throw beans at him/ogre, by saying "Evil out! Happiness in!". Then, we wish for the healthy happy life in the new season.

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Tonight's class was featuring Setsubun-style futo-maki sushi (thick sushi roll) called, "Setsubun Eho-maki". It's basically an uncut thick sushi roll which you eat by facing the lucky direction of the year (according to the lunar calendar zodiac). While eating the Eho-maki, you make a wish but without uttering a word until finishing the whole uncut thick roll! This practice was originated in Kansai region (western Japan), but now it's becoming more common nationwide.

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After my demonstration, everyone tried making the maki sushi. We did both cut rolls and uncut "Eho-maki" rolls.

The main course was Temaki Sushi (hand rolls). We had a variety of fresh seafood and the sushi rice, which was cooked with our donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". Temaki sushi was served with various condiments including the homemade "Tosa Shoyu" (sashimi soy sauce) and "Gari" (pickled ginger). Everyone was impressed by how these homemade condiments make a big difference in the home sushi dinner. They totally upgrade the experience!

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We also made Akadashi miso soup and Spinach "Ohitashi" (spinach in light broth). Spinach "Ohitashi" was made in the manner which upscale Japanese restaurants normally do. Instead of just pouring the dashi-based broth, we took time and soaked the cooked spinach in two steps. Again, my guests loved how upgraded the spinach tasted after this extra step in the making.

I also selected the perfect sake for the occasion. Yes, it's got the ogre face in the label! This Junmai Ginjo was very dry, so it paired wonderfully with the sushi rice.

Here's the menu we had. We ended the night with the soy bean scattering. I could already feel the good luck coming. You can find our upcoming cooking class schedule on toiro's website.

Spinach “ohitashi”
Akadashi miso soup with tofu and wakame
Setsubun Eho-maki – Madai snapper, ikura salmon roe, tamago-yaki,
avocado, and shiso
Temaki sushi with donabe sushi rice – assorted fresh seafood,
“tataki” tuna, vegetables, etc., served with
“Gari Shoga” (pickled ginger) and “Tosa shoyu” (Sashimi soy sauce)

Sake Selection
Hananomai, Junmai Ginjo (Shizuoka, Japan)