Thursday, February 3, 2011


I love sushi.  My love for sushi began back many many years ago.  I was in high school and had the day off for some reason or another and went to go have lunch with my mom.  She suggested a sushi place (Kampai) that she had been with her friend Sandra.  Knowing that Sandra is a connoisseur of anything food related I was excited to try it. 

When we got there we were seated at a large round table with Sushi Chefs in the middle preparing all kinds fun looking items and placing them onto little boats that circled around in front of us.  I loved that we could see what our choices were and could eat as much or as little as we liked.  At the end the waitress tallied up our little plates and we left.  I remember leaving and thinking what a cool experience that was and that I definitely wanted sushi again.

Today restaurants like the one I described above are all over the place.  When living in Saint Charles, a few years back, we had a floating sushi bar directly across the street and would patron it quite often (House of Tokyo).  I recall several times where we had a sushi eating contest in which our group ate until we could eat no more and then counted our individual plates to see who had the most.  I am proud to say that there was one particular time that I won and even out ate the boys!

I have always thought that it would be great to learn how to make sushi and have tried several times to no avail.  I even received a sushi making kit complete with a step-by-step guidebook and all of the tools needed and still it did not turn out like I had hoped.

This past Sunday my friend Lauren and I decided to take a sushi making class at Kendall College in Chicago (Kendall's Upcoming Classes).  It was a one day class and I must say it was FABULOUS!!  It was so much easier having an instructor to teach rather than trying to follow along in a book, plus we got to wear chefs hats and aprons :)

The class taught us how to make the rice which is in my opinion the hardest part and why my sushi always failed.  Our first attempt at rice in class turned out much like mine always did at home, mushy on the outside and hard on the inside.  Luckily our instructor was there to correct what we did wrong and in the end we made a pretty darn good batch! 

Once we had the rice the rest came easily and allowed us to use our creativity to make Nigiri (formed sushi), Maki (rolled sushi) and hand rolls (cone shaped sushi).

It got a little messy...

But we had so much fun and really learned a lot!

To anyone who has tried making sushi in the past, and has had a hard time with it, I highly recommend finding a class, it is well worth it!  For that reason I will not be posting the recipe that we used.  Honestly, it is the same recipe that is in the majority of the sushi making books and online sources, the real trick is in the technique that we learned in class and would be hard to replicate online.

Another suggestion... buy pre-made sushi rice and then assemble as you like.  Japanese restaurants or sushi counters at the grocery store are both great places to inquire.

Here is how it went at home:

Fillings: red peppers, cucumbers, avocado and crab meat mixed with a little cream cheese.

Put one Nori sheet on the bamboo mat, add the sushi rice in a thin layer to 3/4 of the Nori, add the fillings at the bottom, roll, slice and serve!

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