Thursday, May 13, 2004

Sushi News

A shocking revelation! According to a recent article in the New York Times "Food and Drug Administration regulations stipulate that fish to be eaten raw--whether as sushi, sashimi, seviche, or tartare--must be frozen first, to kill parasites." The article went on to discuss the merits of "superfreezing" to temperatures of 70 below zero. It also outlined which sushi products are virtually always frozen such as shrimp, salmon roe and octopus. While the FDA does not enforce the frozen fish rule, it is more than likely that much of the sushi sold in sushi bars has been frozen at one point or another, some of it up to two years before being served. But perhaps you already knew this, being a sushi aficionado.

Sushi has been growing in popularity for some time now in the US. It has gone from being seen as exotic to being a supermarket item. But making sushi at home has yet to really catch on. Why? First off there was the belief that sushi chefs needed years of training to learn their craft--a myth, the actual skills take very little time to learn, and then there was the misconception that the fish must be super fresh, not frozen. Or that you even need raw fish to make sushi. There is lots of delicious sushi made from cooked or cured fish and vegetables, and other ingredients like roe and cooked eggs, tofu, etc.

For almost twenty years, the Baycliff Company has been selling Sushi Chef kits, including most of what you need to make sushi. In addition, you can buy the individual ingredients like the seaweed sheets, picked ginger, soy and mirin. But if using a kit seems like too much bother, there is a new product on the market that was originally designed for supermarkets and sushi bars, and is now tweaked for home use. The sushi machine. Sushi@Home sells both a maki rice roller and nigiri rice press. You can order it on their site or from Frontgate or Amazon. If this seems like sushi for dummies, you're wrong. There actually is Sushi for Dummies, from the popular line of do-it-yourself books tempting you to "discover how easy it is to roll your own sushi at home!" And maybe we will.