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Sushi Questions: Ask Me Anything About Rolling Sushi at Home

 

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by Bryan Sekine in Blog
April 26, 2015
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Ask Your Sushi Questions Here!

When I first started training to become a sushi chef, I had a million questions. Luckily, I had my own mentor to watch, learn from, and answer all of my sushi questions.

I can’t imagine how long it would take someone to learn how to roll sushi without being able to ask questions and get real, credible answers.

So I decided to take on a rather ambitious role of being the guy that you can come to with questions. It doesn’t matter how simple or complex the questions are, as long as it applies to making sushi at home!

*Please* don’t be afraid to reach out. I’m here to help. I think learning is important and I believe that no question should go unasked. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

As I stated in the video, I will be answering all of your questions either via email, or in the comments section on this website and/or YouTube. If I get enough questions of a similar nature, I’ll even record a short video to thoroughly explain the answer!

Please allow a reasonable amount of time to get to each question. I can’t guarantee that I’ll make a video for each question, but I will at very least answer your question through email or as a reply in the comments section.

Why are you doing this? What’s the catch?

There’s no catch. No hidden fees. I’m not selling anything. To put it simply: I’m doing this because I want to help. I want to know what you are struggling with and what content I can create to help you with those struggles.

Okay, cool! Where can I learn more?

For additional insider tips on making sushi (and possibly answer sushi questions that you didn’t know you had!), be sure to sign up for my email list.

You can sign up by clicking on the box in the top right corner of each page.

After you sign up, I’ll send you an awesome PDF guide on 13 Ways to Tell if a Sushi Restaurant is High Quality! After that, you will receive regular emails with insightful tips for rolling sushi at home.

I’m excited to get to know you and answer any sushi questions that you may have! Ask away!

Bryan Sekine

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Comments

comments

  • I wish you lived closer to NY!

  • CupOfCheese

    Hi Bryan,

    I have been studying sushi for about 10 years now, by reading everything I can find, and watching every video online. I also frequent sushi restaurants multiple times a week. This, however, is making me poor. So I have been making it at home for about 6 years, but find it very time consuming, and my favorite recipes still elude me. I was hoping you could address the following:

    1. Crispy spicy tuna. How do you properly make those slightly crispy rice blocks that you serve spicy tuna on top of?

    2. Potato crispies. How do you make those thin crispy potato strings to top rolls? Japanese mandolin? I see people using tempura flakes, but they are not as good IMO.

    3. Spicy tuna. I have seen it with whole pieces of tuna, diced, and very finely scraped. I would like to perfect the scraping method.

    4. Nori brands. I know darker is typically better. Is it necessary to briefly toast the nori sheets over the stove top? What brand is most often used in high end restaurants? I noticed a lot is made in China. Is that bad? I don’t like eating things from China, due to their lax rules on sanitation.

    5. Sushi seasoning. Is it necessary to mix rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt, or is Seasoned rice wine vinegar for sushi adequate?

    6. I have never been able to nail a really good teriyaki recipe. The dark, thick stuff. Do you have a good recipe?

    7. Imitation crab. I know there are many brands, and have been told Osaki is best. Does it really matter much? How come when I make sushi, it seems the kanikama is watery? Do sushi chefs squeeze it a bit before using?

    8. What are the typical ingredients for spicy crawfish? Is it just crawfish and spicy mayo? My father loves the stuff, and I can’t stand it, so I don’t really know what goes in it.

    I know you said to “ask you anything”, and instead I asked you everything ;). Thanks in advance. I’m really glad you took the time to make this website.

    I couldn’t find an email for you, so I posted here. Hopefully you will see it. Do you have an email address I can contact you at in the future?

    Thanks,
    Alex

    • Wow! I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions, but some of them will need a little more elaboration. Obviously different areas of the world will make sushi differently, so there are a few parts in your questions that I have not encountered in my experience as a chef. That being said, I can try my best to answer your questions with what I do know.

      1. I’m not familiar with crispy spicy tuna. I assume that they lightly torch the top of the rice before applying the spicy tuna, but that’s just a guess. If you could email me a picture of what you’re talking about I could probably tell you with more certainty on how they do that.

      2. Potato Crispies – again I’m not familiar with these. I would assume that they are using some sort of mandolin or cutting them by hand. After they are cut they are most likely fried until golden-brown. Pictures would help with this one, too!

      3. I’ve seen spicy tuna in all three forms as well. The scraping technique is done with a spoon and you scrap against the muscle tendons to get the best results. Go slow at first and don’t apply so much pressure that you tear the tendons apart.

      4. I’m not sure which nori brands are used by high end sushi restaurants, as that’s usually a proprietary secret. However, I can say that I prefer to use Japanese brands of nori (typically they are farm grown for the intended purpose of being used in sushi). Toasting them on the stove isn’t necessary, but it will help activate some of the flavor of the nori.

      5. Seasoned rice wine vinegar is adequate, but I usually don’t strive to be adequate. Making Su (this is what we call the seasoning for sushi rice) is very easy and it can be stored for over 2 years without needing refrigeration. Here’s a link on how I make my Su: http://www.secretsofsushi.com/how-to-make-sushi-rice.html

      The key to making your own Su is adding enough sugar and salt. Most brands don’t use quite enough for my taste, but Su recipes also vary from restaurant to restaurant.

      6. I don’t have a recipe on teriyaki sauce posted, but you’re the 3rd person to ask about it so I think I’ll publish one soon. 🙂

      7. I’ve used osaki kanikama for several years now and I do enjoy their product, but I don’t know if they are the best. Most people that eat kanikama won’t be able to identify the differences in flavor from one brand to the next. At the sushi bar, we unwrap each stick and place them all onto a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. Then place another paper towel on top and gently press down on them. Let them sit for about 15 minutes and then you can store them on a covered plate. You can also squeeze them before use if you are finding that they still contain too much water.

      8. Here is my recipe for making crawfish salad: http://www.secretsofsushi.com/crazy-cajun-roll.html

      9. Adding konbu and a splash of sake is used to add additional flavor to the rice, which is fine, but the konbu will discolor some of the rice. Most sushi bars don’t do this anymore and instead use a special additive called Miora. It’s a powder additive that essentially does the same as konbu and sake. It’s typically labeled in English as “potato starch and glucose,” but it’s really enzymes called Amylase and Protease that help break down starch into glucose and protein into amino acids, respectfully. Be careful when you purchase this online (if you decide to) because it may also be labeled with the ingredient “kelp flavor” which is a poor translation for MSG. Haha

      For the record, it isn’t necessary to use any kelp/sake or additives to make good sushi rice.

      10. Typically they tempura fry the entire roll for about 60 seconds. This is either done before they cut the roll, or they will cut the roll in half and then fry it. After the roll have been fried they will cut it into smaller pieces. Here’s a link to how I make tempura batter: http://www.secretsofsushi.com/heaven-roll.html

      In that tutorial, I am using osaki kanikama and tempura frying them. For tempura frying an entire roll, you will want to make the batter a little bit thinner so that the layer of tempura isn’t so thick that you can’t comfortably fit the pieces into your mouth.

      I hope this answers all of your questions! For the first two questions, email me some pictures to reference and I will get back to you.

      I see that you signed up for my email list so now you have my email address!

      Cheers,
      Bryan Sekine

  • Progressive_Prime

    Hi Bryan! About your nikiri sauce – would it be safe to substitute soy sauce or light soy sauce for “tamari”? I’ve never heard of tamari, but pretty sure it’s available at Tokyo Central.

 

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