maguro and ebi sushi


A flavorful rice is prepared with vinegar and sugar. The rice is pressed into the palm of one hand with the index and ring fingers of the opposite hand to form oblate sticky rice balls. 

A wad of wasabi is formed with water and real wasabi powder. The wasabi is smeared on top of each rice ball.

Shrimp is cooked in boiling water. That is, the water is brought to a boil and then removed from the heat source. Cold shrimp is placed in the hot water that is no longer boiling. The temperature of the water drops to approximately 180℉/82 as the shrimp quickly turns pink. The shrimp is removed immediately to ice water. 




Sushi chefs steam rice then dump it into a large shallow flat woven bamboo bin. An assistant fans the rice while the chef turns the rice with a bamboo paddle careful to avoid breaking the cooked grain while simultaneously pouring a thick sticky vinegar and sugar sauce over the rice. Eventually all the rice is cooled and coated with the sweet/sour sauce which imparts a golden sheen.

This sushi rice pictured here employes a shortcut technique that would guarantee the chef be promptly booted from the National Sushi Association of Japan that exists in my mind

One cup short grain white rice, one tablespoon white sugar, one tablespoon cider vinegar, two cups tap water, are all brought to a boil together at once. After the water boils and bubbles and clouds the pot bottom is scrapped to avoid sticking, covered and lifted from the heat source while the heat is cut way down to as low as possible. The steaming action is initiated and assured, the freedom from sticking is assured, the pot is replaced on the heat source, now greatly reduced. A timer is set for 25 minutes steaming action on low heat. Then without removing the lid and so retaining the steam, the timer is set for another 10 minutes with no heat at all. The rice absorbs the vinegar and the sugar while it cooks instead of being coated with a sweet/sour sauce after it is cooked, and that is not traditional and unacceptable in a proper sushi establishment. I should fire myself, but the truth is, I cannot tell the difference. 

Alas, for my seafood is frozen, but that is the best that can be done in any case this far inland. The tuna is kept in its frozen state, sliced in near frozen state, kept nearly frozen, even served still partially frozen. It never had a chance to fully thaw.

The shrimp is sliced lengthwise through the bottom, severing  the  connective tissue that runs laterally and causes the shrimp to curl. The shrimp is much easier to handle and tends to lay flat on the rice ball because the shrimp is barely cooked in hot water and because the curling tissue is cut from underneath, keeping the top surface of the shrimp intact. Some sushi chefs insert a wooden skewer from neck to tail before cooking the shrimp to prevent curling. 

I realize that I sound like a corrupted MP3 file, but wasabi is not Japanese horseradish. Wasabi is a plant different from regular horseradish. Wasabi requires particular growing conditions namely running water, wet sandy soil, shade, and cool temperature. Regular horseradish plant is much more forgiving with a tendency to run rampant wherever it is grown, so you can see the economic advantage of substituting horseradish for wasabi and dying it green. 

Both wasabi and horseradish produce isothiocyanate which is shown to inhibit certain bacteria growth, thus the suggestion for wasabi toothpaste, apart from the prank element and apart from the culinary paste marketed in toothpaste tubes, both wasabi and horseradish actually do contribute to healthy dental hygiene. Go on then, I dare you to add a little wasabi powder to your toothpaste.  Science

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