Tips from the gourmet kitchen: how to make the best sushi

Uramaki or nigiri – what started out as a method of preserving freshwater fish became Japan’s most popular fast-food dish. Sushi chef Kim Phan explains the best way to prepare these bite-sized morsels that have become a part of haute cuisine all over the world and offers some key preparation tips.

Illustration sushi

1. ‘Rice is essential for sushi. The best choice is a Japanese short-grain rice with a high starch content. That makes it nice and sticky when boiled.’

2. Rice vinegar is used to give the rice its sour taste. Start by mixing the vinegar with salt and sugar as well as mirin or sake and bring the mixture to the boil. Then add this mixture to the boiled rice.’

3. ‘To make the sticky sushi rice easier to handle, dip your gloves briefly in oil. If you are not using gloves, moisten your hands with water.’

4. ‘A sharp knife is a must-have tool for preparing sushi. I also recommend using a bamboo mat, as they are easier to roll than other mats. You also can’t go wrong with a rice cooker.’

5. ‘When it comes to choosing fish, it’s important to ensure that it is fresh. This best way to judge this is from the eyes and gills of the fish – the eyes should always protrude and be moist and clear; the gills must also be bright red. The individual gill filaments should also be clearly visible.’

6. ‘Don’t roll the sushi too tightly. Pressing down firmly will crush the rice, making it hard and dry.’

7. ‘If you don’t eat fish, you can also fill your sushi with vegetables or marinated tofu. To do this, marinate the vegetables in rice wine vinegar and sugar for around 1 hour. Radish or pumpkin are particularly popular choices.’

8. ‘When it comes to filling the sushi, there are no limits. Experiment with different elements and let your imagination guide you. My favourite is sushi filled with mango, rucola and parmesan.’

9. ‘When serving the sushi, make sure that the individual pieces are at a slight angle and are not packed too closely together. This makes them easier to pick up with the chopsticks.’

10. ‘Serve them with some pickled ginger on the side. This neutralises the fish taste, which means you can switch between different types of fish without problems.’

11. ‘The best soya sauce is a Japanese brand with a slightly salty note. If the sauce is too salty, it masks the flavour of the sushi. Tip: on nigiris, only dip the fish sitting on top into the sauce, not the rice.’

Freshly-caught variety

Kim Phan has been preparing sushi since he was 18 years old. He has been running the King Fusion in Düsseldorf since 2017. The restaurant combines Asian and European cuisine: in addition to traditional salmon and tuna makis, the menu also features truffle, fillet steak and parmesan fillings. Ensuring the freshness of the produce is a top priority – with METRO’s support as Europe’s leading fresh fish merchant. Every week, 180 tons of fresh seafood is delivered to wholesale stores, from popular classics such as salmon to exotic species such as parrotfish. Here, METRO focuses particularly on sustainable procurement as well as the traceability of all products: METRO sustainable procurement approach for raw materials

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