Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Pseudo Sushi & the Avocado
I don't understand why there is even a debate about a substitute for traditional Sushi ingredients when we already have the avocado. Since Ichiro Mashita the Sushi Chef at The Tokyo Kaikan tried substituting avocados for Toro, the avocado has become standard fare for Sushi...outside Japan.
Since the basic premise for Japanese cuisine is using the freshest ingredients in season - why even think about eating raw fish in inland areas faraway from the ocean? During my days as a production coordinator for television commercials I remember how the Japanese staff from Tokyo would cringe at the thought of eating Sushi deep in the mountains somewhere in some rural town. I guess the American crew just thought they should be eating Sushi since they were in Japan because it was the vogue in those days to do this, but well....fresh saltwater fish deep in the mountains where the hotel didn't even have decent toilet paper? Then after not heeding the advice of the Japanese coordinators that it wasn't a good idea to eat Sushi at all, the American crew would invariably complain that the Sushi wasn't good as the Sushi in New York.
I'm sure it wasn't and they put way too much sugar in the rice and I thought it was disgusting.
People from Tokyo are awfully proud of their Sushi, but if you ask the fishermen in the small fishing villages, they'll turn their noses up in disgust because the fish is 'half-rotten' according to them. These people are used to fish as fresh as can be you see.
Anyhow what you see in the photograph is not Sushi because the rice needs to have vinegar in it to be called Sushi and I don't like vinegar. It's just glorified rice balls rolled in toasted sesame seeds, garnished with a slice of ripe melt in your mouth avocado marinated in lemon juice and drizzled with a mixture of Wasabi and soy sauce. The green stuff you see on top of the avocado are chives.
I often eat what the Japanese call Temaki Zushi (which is pretty much DIY Sushi at the table), and I just use freshly cooked rice. Avocado, wasabi, soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds is a golden combination that makes an excellent substitute for real Sushi and this is how I get my Sushi and Sashimi fix when I need it.