January 2, 2011

Sushi for Supper/夕飯に寿司

On the second day of the new year, my family had sushi for supper, as I had planned.
新年の二日目には、計画通り、家族で夕飯に寿司を食べました。

One factor determining the quality of nigiri zushi (< sushi) at least at the traditional sushi shop level in Japan, as opposed to the kaiten zushi (conveyor-belt sushi) restaurant level and the supermarket level, is the temperature difference between shari (vinegared rice) and neta (topping). At decent sushi shops, sushi chefs take utmost care to maintain their shari at "hitohada" (human skin temperature) and individual neta (toppings) at appropriate lower temperatures.

To determine how important it would be to ensure a proper temperature difference between shari and neta, I decided to keep the shari and the neta separate and place the neta on top of the shari just before eating.

日本の伝統的な寿司屋のレベルでは(回転寿司屋やスーパーのレベルとは対照的に)、握り寿司の質を決める一つの要素はシャリとネタの温度差です。まともな寿司屋では、職人がシャリを人肌に、個々のネタをそれより低い温度に保つよう細心の注意を払っています。

シャリとネタを適切な温度差に保つことの重要性を調べるため、シャリとネタを別々にし、食べる直前にネタをシャリの上に載せることにしました。

To make sushi rice, you first cook rice with 5-10% less water than usual.
寿司飯を作るには、まずお米を通常より5~10%少ない水で炊きます。


You don't necessarily have to use a wooden sushi oke (lit. sushi tub). Any nonmetallic bowl will do.
必ずしも木製の寿司桶を使う必要はありません。金属製ではないボールで十分です。

Each shari base should be about 20-25 g in weight.
シャリの重さはおよそ20~25 gにします。

Bigeye tuna, salmon, and buri (adult yellowtail):
メバチマグロ、サーモン、ブリ:

Use a sharp knife to slice each fillet into neta (toppings).
鋭い包丁でそれぞれを切って、ネタを作ります。

I used my Shigefusa petty knife because it can cut better than my sashimi knife. Each neta should be about 6-8 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, 0.5 cm thick, and weigh about 10-15 g.
私の場合は、重房のペティナイフのほうが刺身包丁より切れるので、そっちを使いました。ネタはそれぞれ、長さ6~8センチ、幅2~3センチ、厚さ0.5センチ程度、重さは10~15 gとします。

A favorite of my daughter's, ikura (salmon roe):
娘の好物、イクラ:

I, for one, don't care much for it.
私自身はあまり好きではないです。

I forgot to take photos of my sushi, except this one:
これ以外の寿司を写真に撮るのを忘れました。

Ikura gunkan maki ("warship" roll)

My wife made this nimono:
妻はこの煮物を作りました:

It contains dried shiitake, satoimo (taro), carrot, daikon (not visible), and fu (gluten). It is supposed to be an osechi dish.
干しシイタケ、里芋、ニンジン、大根、お麩が入っています。御節料理の一つです。

Conclusions: The neta that I kept in the fridge were simply too cold. I didn't enjoy having hitohada shari with fridge-cold neta. I didn't bother to measure the temperature of neta, but I think that neta at 10-15C should be much better. But, quite frankly, I don't mind at all having shari and neta that are both at room temperature because I've been used to such sushi since childhood, like most Japanese. I think I'll make nigiri in the normal way next time.
結果:  冷蔵庫に入れていたネタは冷たすぎです。人肌のシャリと冷蔵庫の温度のネタを一緒に食べるのは楽しくありませんでした。ネタの温度をわざわざ測りませんでしたが、10~15度程度のシャリのほうがずっといいと思います。でも、率直に言って、共に室温のシャリとネタを食べるのは全然気になりません。大半の日本人同様、子供の頃からずっとそんな寿司に馴れているので。今度は握りを普通の方法で作ろうと思います。

5 comments:

Rose said...

Wow what a great meal for the New Year! Happy New Year!

YSC said...

Happy new year! That looks so delicious!

Hiroyuki said...

Rose and YSC: Thanks for your comments! Sorry, wait until I complete the post!

Kiki said...

What a nice fish collection and the beef looks good too. I envy you. We had a little sashimi, inside out rolls and persimon sushi on new years eve as appetizers. The price for high quality fresh thuna was something to remember. They ripped me off.
Besides I use a cheap big wooden salad bowl from Ikea for the sushi rice - works pretty well.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: I envy you! I have to feed my family with my mediocre income, so eating out occurs once every two or three months or even six months!

In days of old, we were supposed to have osechi on the first three days of a new year, but such a tradition has now gone. My humble osechi on day 1 reflects my indifference to osechi, and I had planned to have something else on days 2 and 3.

Now that we are on the 4th of January, I want to go back to normal (humble) meals.