Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sacrilegious Sushi Dinner

Sacrilegious Sushi Dinner

I bought some sashimi-grade salmon from Uwajimaya, the giant Asian grocery store in the International District of Seattle. I trust their sashimi-grade fish more than I would, say, Safeway's. This is only 0.2 pounds of salmon, and was enough to leave me stuffed. (Only half of that is shown in the photo in this post. I kept the other half in the fridge until I was ready to eat it.)

I've heard that it's hard to make good sushi yourself, and I'm sure someone with real sushi chef training could have filleted this salmon better. But really, I just slid the knife along the "flakes" of the salmon and it practically fell apart on its own.

Then I got sacrilegious on its ass. ;) Normally, when I order sushi at a restaurant, I try to hide from the sushi chef as I cut my nigiri into 6–8 smaller, (my-)bite-size pieces. But after filleting the salmon, I realized that I might as well pre-cut the salmon into the bite-sized pieces I like. No sushi chef here to hide from in shame when I'm in my own apartment!

I'm not sure how you could have a more mutilated Japanese dinner experience. Let me count the ways:

  1. That's a huge bowl full of long grain rice (rather than Japanese short-grained extra-glutenous rice), moistened with seasoned rice vinegar and sugar (rather than proper sushi vinegar). Note that it's not in separate little rice pads for the salmon.
  2. Soy sauce with ground mustard instead of wasabi. (This substitution was suggested via a quick Google search. It worked surprisingly well, actually.)
  3. Salmon cut into tiny cubes, piled in a heap with absolutely zero presentation value.
  4. A fork for stabbing said cubes, and a spoon to shovel a bite of rice behind the salmon on the fork.
  5. Served on Western-style plates, not sushi plates.
  6. A glass of milk, something I'm sure isn't commonly served in a society of lactose-intolerants. (I appreciate my mutations!)
  7. A coffee mug for the tea (at least it is jasmine tea...). Said tea was brewed in a drip coffee maker.
  8. And Pocky and Hi-chew for dessert. Also not served in nice Japanese restaurants, although these are Japanese candies... :P

Not sure how I could have made this more sacrilegious and still resemble a sushi dinner. :) Regardless, I very much enjoyed my meal, which is really what counts when cooking for yourself, ne?


John Cowan said...

Wikipedia says that essentially all wasabi served in sushi bars, even in Japan, is basically horseradish, ground mustard seed, and green food coloring anyhow.

Arthaey Angosii said...

I knew that most "wasabi" served in restaurants wasn't real wasabi (which Uwajimaya sells for $60/lb!), but I thought they were just using some other, more common, variant on horseradish.

Shane said...

Is Japan really that lactose-intolerant? I doubt you'd see milk served at a sushi bar, but nearly every drink vending machine had cafe au lait or milk tea in it.

Maybe it was some milk imitator or mixing it with something else helps.

Arthaey Angosii said...

Wikipedia says, "[C]ultures such as that of Japan, where dairy consumption has been on the increase, demonstrate a lower prevalence of lactose intolerance in spite of a genetic predisposition. ... Chinese and Japanese populations typically lose between 80 and 90 percent of their ability to digest lactose within three to four years of weaning. Most Japanese [81%] can consume 200 ml (8 fl oz) of milk without severe symptoms."

Its source is Studies on the etiology of milk intolerance in Japanese adults, but I can't find a full-text version of the article.