Adventures with sushi

My adventure with sushi had begun in the cookery school. I got a proposal to participate in the culinary contest. The topic of the contest was “Against the rules”, and we had to think up a new dish.

How to think up a new dish when everything was already thought up? But I didn’t give up. I thought about the topic of the contest. I decided to mix two cuisines: Polish and Japanese and I wanted to prepare Polish version of sushi. So, the idea was very good but I didn’t know anything about sushi and I never it ate. Sushi in Poland is expensive, and it is considered as favorite dish of celebrities.

I've looked everywhere for information about sushi. How to prepare it? What are basic ingredients? I started to read.

History of sushi is long and at the beginning it didn’t look the same as today. In the past meat was preserved by means of pickled rice. This way of preparing this dish was very expensive because people didn’t eat the pickled rice and the taste was tart. First sushi tasted only to aristocracy. Only in the eighteenth century people started to eat the pickled rice too. Next the boiled rice replaced pickled rice with vinegar and it was the beginning of the modern version of sushi. This dish was treated as Japanese fast food for the poor workers, but not only. After The Second World War the method of preparing sushi began to spread in North America and it reached Europe too.
Now this dish is very popular because it is fashionable, tasty and healthy.

There are several methods of preparing sushi. Some of them are easy, others are difficult. I already knew how to prepare rice and nigiri- sushi, and it was easy. On the other hand norimaki belongs to the more difficult types of sushi. I wanted to find someone who could teach me, but in Cracow sushi masters are very busy and I only watched them in restaurant. I found my teacher - and it was the internet! This is where you can also discover the following things: sushi recipe, Sushi maki, kazari maki-zushi, how to eat sushi ,and about tradition and eating ritual of sushi in Japan

So, I learned very quickly because time put pressure on me to make and send my application to the contest. I had only one month to make application and second month to prepare to the contest. It was very little time, and a lot of work to do.

Once I know how to prepare Japanese Sushi, I needed to prepare Polish version. It wasn’t easy. First, I had to find new ingredient instead of rice. In Poland “Kasha” resemble rice but there are many types of kasha. I picked two kinds: buckwheat and pearl barley.

So I planned two kind of Polish sushi. I took ingredients from two famous regions in south Poland.
First kind was “góralskie” from Podhale. Podhale is the mountain region, where typical food is lamb, oscypek ( smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk) , and sauerkraut. These ingredients compose the first kind of sushi.
Second kind was “krakowskie” from Cracow. There are many typical ingredients because Cracow was the capital of Poland and it is very receptive city influenced by many nations. So, cuisine of Cracow has many dishes borrowed from different cultures. People in Cracow love eat simply and much. Very popular are pork, pickled cucumber, sauerkraut, cabbage and spices – especially salt, black pepper and caraway seed. Caraway seed is basic spice in my second type of sushi, because it is added to pork and served with lettuce and pickled cucumber.

My dish won the prize for taste and selection of ingredients. I was very satisfied.

I discovered that home-made sushi is cheap and tastes the same as in restaurant. I was preparing and eating it every day before the culinary contest because I wanted to be as good as a sushi master. After the culinary contest I was fed up with sushi, but my sushi adventure has not finished with the end of the contest. Now I often prepare this dish for me, for my husband and for my friends, and I learn a lot of Japanese cuisine.

To sum up: sushi is easy to prepare and cheap and we don’t need many ingredients. We can replace nori with any other food to prepare new style sushi .

Below I present recipe for the “krakowskie” sushi.

• 100 gram pork meat

• Marinate:
½ onion
1 clove of garlic
3 tbsp. vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. caraway seed

• oil
• 100 g. pearl barley kasha, optional use Couscous
• 1 egg
• 2 medium pickled cucumber, optional use fresh cucumber
• butter lettuce
• 2 sheets of nori
• Wasabi
• Soya sauce

1.Prepare marinate one day earlier. Cut pork into thin chops about 0,5 inch . Put in a bowl, add caraway seed, black pepper, bay leaf. Cut onion and garlic to slices and add to meat. Boil 300 ml water, when it is cold add vinegar and pour water on meat.

2.Next day, take out meat with marinate. Fry meat on hot oil a few minutes on either side. Add a little water and salt and stew meat 10 minutes. Cool down.

3.Boil pearl barley kasha in 200 ml water with salt. Kasha boils the same like rice.

4.When water is completely absorbed and kasha is boiled but still very hot, add an egg and quickly mix very well. Wait until it cools down.

5.Cut meat and cucumber to stripes.

6.On top of the Makisu, place a sheet of Nori toward you.

7.Put some kasha on top of Nori. Spread the Kasha from left to right. Leave about an inch of space on the bottom and the top of Nori.

8.Gently spread a little of wasabi on the kasha, then place a leaf of butter lettuce, meat and cucumber.

9.Slowly lift the Makisu in order to roll it while keeping Nori steady. Make sure both left and right sides are even. Roll it up forward. Cut the sushi into 6 pieces with a very sharp knife.

10.Prepare next sushi with remaining ingredients.

11. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. We (as some of many friends of the author) have thoroughly tried this Middle European style sushi! Worth preparing at home. Filling up. Quite surprising connection, light, salty, pleasantly oceanic seaweed and stewed pork.



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