Shopping around in Aalst, I had found a small Asian shop. Since I'm so in to Asian food, it was a true joy to look around and pick up all those tasty Asian ingredients. At the desk, some fancy business card got my attention. It said:
I had made sushi before, but I had never seen anyone make it professionally. I did watch some YouTube clips, but it's not the same. There are some specific techniques to make the perfect sushi and getting some extra information on the ingredients is very interesting to say the very least.
So I asked around to see who was interested in taking a sushi workshop with me. I didn't have to ask twice: right away, two sisters-in-law pointed their index in the air and yelled: we want to join you! And off we went..
Charlotte appeared to be a very energetic, attractive and fascinating personality. She was absolutely extroverted and eager to teach us all about the art of making sushi. Because it definitely is an art!
Six studious ladies were ready to roll up their sleeves and get going. Charlotte had 4 different types of sushi in mind for us. The first sushi roll we made, was a Maki roll, meaning it had nori (Japanese dried seaweed) on the outside and rice, crab sticks, strips of cucumber and yellow daikon (pickled horseradish) on the inside. That is the sushi roll most of us know and it's probably one of the most favorite ones as well. I must say: our rolls came out real well!
The next roll, I had never seen before: a Temaki roll or a cone shaped sushi roll, filled with rice, lettuce, raw salmon, avocado and black sesame seeds. A Temaki roll is packed in nori. Did you know that nori has more vitamin C than oranges? Don't be surprised to get a parcel of nori on Japanese airplanes instead of the more boring and fattening salted peanuts.. After all, the Japanese tend to be more healthy than us.. There's less heart disease and cancer in Japan than over here. So maybe it's time to get a grip and eat more Japanese food?
My favorite sushi was definitely the Uramaki roll: an inside-out sushi roll. It takes some skill to make an Uramaki roll, but we did it and it came out perfect! We sprinkled some panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and black sesame seeds on top of the rice, before we flipped it over to spread a spicy tuna salad on the other side. We rolled it up "inside-out" before we sliced it into 8 equal pieces. The crunchiness of the slightly toasted panko gave it just that something extra that I really enjoyed.
Our last sushi roll was a Nigiri roll. Those were real easy to make: a small egg shaped ball of rice, topped with a thin slice of raw salmon or tuna or even a square piece of Japanese omelette (baked in sesame oil and seasoned with soy sauce, salt and sugar - love it!!). A small ribbon of nori held it all in place.
All sushi rolls were to be eaten with chop sticks and were accompanied by soy sauce, fresh wasabi (I'll never have the tubed wasabi again) and pickled ginger. I'm a big fan of ginger, especially the pickled version. I did skip on the sake, because we had a one hour drive ahead of us, but I'm sure I'll have some next time. Maybe we'll have a workshop at my place then!
If you feel the urge to learn how to make your own sushi, feel free to contact Charlotte and tell her I said hi!