In the very early ’90s, sushi became popular in New Zealand and I found out the sushi that I already loved, wasn’t cherished among my peers. Not then anyway. Before this discovery, my sister and I had been happily enjoying raw fish sushi in uncool bliss. At school, instead of bags of chips, we snacked on small packs of dried seaweed.
When The Koala and I visited Osaka, Japan in 2008, we were surprised to find sushi we are familiar with here in NZ, is quite different to Japanese sushi. Like so many imports, sushi has morphed away from tradition. Tried and true is great, but weird reproductions can be great too. NZ was not ready for raw fish in early ’90s. There had to be another way. Chicken sushi, which is novelty in Japan, converted hoards of New Zealanders to sushi and it’s unlikely you’ll find a sushi joint in NZ that doesn’t offer it. Where would we be without wacky combinations to humour our palates?
Some less than authentic sushi I’ve enjoyed over the years:
- Smoked chicken sushi
- Smoked salmon sushi
- Canned tuna sushi
- Deep fried oyster sushi
- Green curry chicken sushi
- Pineapple and cream cheese sushi
- Bacon and egg sushi
I must have eaten sushi an average of once a week over the last 10 years. That’s over 500 times yet I’ve never made sushi. Lamenting I should have learned long ago, I commandeered my mother and requested her sushi method. Mum first learned sushi-making by spying on professional sushi makers and the rest is down to experience.
We gathered a bounty from what we already had and trips to several stores, Dad sliced salmon fillet into fingers of orange-pink and Mum and I prepped the rest.
2 cups cooked and vinegared sushi rice
5 sheets nori (seaweed)
4 rashers streaky bacon
4 anchovy fillets
1/3 cup mayonnaise
10cm length of cucumber
5 large cooked prawns
3 peach slices
80g salmon fillet (cut into fingers)
We made 1 regular roll:
- Salmon, avocado, cucumber and mayo
And in true kiwi style, we made 2 experimental rolls:
- Prawn, peach and avocado
- Bacon, anchovy, mayo, cucumber and avocado
I wish I could post a “How to roll sushi” guide or give you a step-by-step from a beginner’s point of view or even tips, but I cannot. I am proud of how my sushi rolls turned out (for a beginner) but I’ve far from mastered the art of sushi. I’ve got a long way to go yet! They were all delicious and I’m excited at the prospect of future experiments. Got any good combinations to aim for?