Zen & the art of sushi making

Hindustan Times | ByShilarna Vaze, New Delhi
Apr 30, 2010 02:18 AM IST

Making sushi every single day has resulted in some insights into the Zen state of being in the moment.

Making sushi every single day has resulted in some insights into the Zen state of being in the moment. It starts with the prep work. Everything’s painstakingly cut into exactly the same size, the avocado has to be just right otherwise it dissolves into mush, and the tuna and salmon lovingly handled so as to not bruise the delicate produce.

HT Image
HT Image

While doing this endlessly repetitive work, one’s attention is slowly taken to one’s posture and breathing; if your attention wanders even for a second, it results in a massacre of the produce and your good intentions. The sushi rolling technique calls for an especially no-mind state.

The things that can go wrong are infinite, unless you apply a Zen attitude of just being there with your sushi roll. It’s no wonder there’re urban legends of sushi chefs in Japan who aren’t even allowed to touch the sacred sushi knife for years until they’ve mastered their own monkey mind. The writer runs a sushi business in Mumbai and can be reached at shilarnavaze@gmail.com

1. Keep all ingredients ready to roll — cooked sushi rice dressed with sushi vinegar, salt and sugar, 1-cm strips
of fish, avocado, cucumber, blanched asparagus and prawns, and wasabi.

2. On a bamboo sushi mat, place the nori (seaweed) sheet so the shiny part is on the outside. Cover with rice (leaving 1/2-inch on the top)

3. Draw a line of wasabi horizontally across the rice and place fillings (fish, veggies, prawns, etc).

4. Lift the bamboo mat and roll half-way, making sure the nori is tucked under. Lift mat and move it forward,completing the roll. Cut into 6 pieces, serve with wasabi, soy and pickled ginger.

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