Any chef will tell you that excellent knives are the most important tools of the trade. Especially when it comes to sushi, where precision is essential.
I love everything about sushi. It embodies all that excites me about creating great food: exceptional freshness, taste, texture and presentation.
Preparing it is a joy, especially if you have the right equipment and the best ingredients to hand. As far as both go, there’s no reason why you can’t get everything you need in a local supermarket, though a speciality Japanese store, if you’re lucky enough to live near one, will provide you with better quality.
But if, like me, you are a big sushi lover and intend to prepare it regularly, a dedicated sushi knife will be an investment you won’t regret. I love my Santoku knife – from the Japanese meaning ‘three virtues’ – it slices through fish, meat and vegetables with the precision required for perfect sushi.
Of course us chefs are always hammering on about using fresh ingredients – believe me it’s ALWAYS best. But when you’re dealing with raw fish, it’ll be obvious to anyone that that you’d want to source the best and freshest available.
When I’m serving sushi at events, I always keep in mind that there will be some guests who have never tried sushi before. Get that first experience right, and it’s pure joy to see someone enjoy something they never thought they would. Get it wrong, and they’ll never try it again.
I find Californian Rolls are something sushi pros and novices can both enjoy. Crab meat is less daunting than many raw fish options, and the avocado adds a familiar edge which appeals to most.
What’s more these little beauties look sensational and are incredibly easy for sushi newbies to make at home.
Avocado sushi rolls
- First, prepare rice by washing until the water becomes almost clear. Drain and set aside for 30 minutes. Place in a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil uncovered. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, remove from heat and allow to stand uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Prepare sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and place on low heat until sugar dissolves.
- Spread the hot rice into a large plate and sprinkle over the vinegar mixture before folding in quickly.
- Cover a bamboo rolling mat with cling film to keep the rice from sticking.
- Slice the nori in half and lay one sheet towards the bottom of the mat before topping with a small amount of rice.
- With wet fingers, spread the rice out to the edges of the nori in a thin even layer. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds, then flip the rice and nori.
- Along the bottom edge of the nori, place a few strips of cucumber and avocado before topping with some of the crabmeat.
- Using the bamboo mat, roll until the rice covers all the filling to create a cylinder.
- To slice the rolls, use a long sharp knife, and place the back edge of the blade at the very center of the roll. Pull the knife towards you, letting the weight of the knife cut through the roll. Repeat cutting each half into thirds to make 6 pieces of sushi.
- Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.