Sometimes your best friends are the hardest people to buy a birthday present for. You know that person inside and out and all year you are bursting with ideas on what to get them…only come the occasion you’re left changing your mind and panicking. One of the best, (if I do say so myself), presents I’ve given one of my guy friends is a sushi making course. It’s soy much fun. It’s a present that means you get to spend time together, that will leave lasting memories and with the ultimate
cherry wasabi on top of the cake,maki, being that you’ll eat more sushi than you thought possible; what more could anyone want for a birthday present?
I hadn’t got a clue on how to make sushi, I’ve always been far more interested in the finished result, but it swiftly became apparent, during the 3 hour lesson, that I will certainly still be buying shop brought sushi for the foreseeable future. We went to the sushi class held at Tsunami restaurant in Clapham. It’s very interactive; you sit on tables facing a demo spot, watch the chef make the chosen sushi, listen to their explanation on what their doing, don a plastic bib and recreate what they’ve done. N.b. the chefs make the process of rolling/stuffing the sushi look the easiest thing in the world and trust me it definitely isn’t!
There is nothing like drooling over your friends to remind them how strong your friendship is…..and I practically started slobbering over the table when we sat down and had the ingredients brought to our table; the freshest fish, the ripest avocado and the fieriest of gingers were all present and correct.
My drooling problem only escalated when we were given the menu of what we would be recreating during the class. Can you blame me with a line up of tuna truffle rolls, soft shell crab rolls and seabass nigri to name but a few? (P.s. keep the sheet of paper so when you get home and show off your finished creations, you know what it is that you’re pointing to!)
The most important thing when it comes to sushi is the rice. Whether it’s undercooked or overcooked, poorly cooked rice will have a knock on effect on everything from the taste, to the roll shape and to your general satisfaction/stress levels. Luckily, Tsunami whip out an endless chorus of ‘here’s some we made earlier’, and pre-made rice that is cooked to perfection lands on your mat. (Sadly, I couldn’t get the recipe of how to cook this holy grail of sushi rices as it’s top secret. *Sigh.*
To make a basic maki, you roll rice out onto the seaweed paper, from left to right. Easier said than done if you are right handed -I definitely used that as an excuse to cover up my appalling spreading technique.
You then lay your chosen ingredients onto the middle of the rice and roll. This is another seemingly easy, but in reality fiendishly tricky stage. I kept finding that my roll would collapse with bits of fish/veg consequently flying out – always a good ice breaker having to retrieve bits of your meal from your neighbour’s mat.
You can eat as much of the sushi you can during the class; the best incentive to pay attention to the chef and roll roll roll!
Demolishing roll after roll of fresh, homemade sushi makes you realise how sad and lifeless most shop-brought sushi is; and yet, even from a high street chain, it’s always one of the most expensive lunch options.
There were numerous contenders, but my favourite creation we made was soft shell crab encased in homemade batter, (avoid if you’re coeliac.) If you do come to Tsunami for a meal, order this immediately. I couldn’t even take a photo without a hopeful chopstick trying to swoop in!
Prawn tempura, although this was probably my least favourite out of all of the creations we made and impossible to eat in a vaguely attractive manner.
The class started at 12.30 pm, so we felt that it was more than acceptable to get drinks from the handy bar situated at the back of the class. There were a number of people who started off on soft drinks, but by 2.30 pm and a couple of misformed rolls, everyone had decided to hit the booze which helped people’s rolling skills no end. It was a jolly atmosphere with everyone nattering away to their friends- I would say that 2-3 people is the perfect group size. We spotted quite a few ‘first daters’, and decided that a sushi making course is a pretty darn good place to test out a relationship – and if it doesn’t work out, you could just say ‘It’s not me, Itsu.’
We left with a tray loaded with sushi. The sushi has to be eaten within 24 hours, hardly a problem; moreover the real problem is not eating the entire thing before you’ve even made it home. Again, it does make you wonder what some stores put in their sushi to make it have a shelf life of more than a day…..
Tsunami’s sushi making course wasabi(g) success. Maki(ng) the sushi was such good fun although udon how hard it is until you try it. You have to book super far in advance as only 14 are allowed in a class, which is perfect as it means the chef can help correct any dodgy rolling techniques. At £30 for a three hour class with generous portions of fresh ingredients and more sushi than you can eat, I couldn’t recommend this more. You’ll leave clutching your bag of homemade sushi, determined to have people over for supper and to recreate the class ….only to realise that you have to perfect making the rice first….
Find Tsunami restaurant at 5-7 Voltaire Rd, London SW4 6DQ
For details of their sushi cooking classes click here.