Dina and I went to visit our friend, Miki, for a lesson on how to prepare Sushi. The first piece of Sushi equipment she showed us was a large wooden barrel called a hangiri. A hangiri is a traditional Japanese wooden tub that is used in the final steps of preparing sushi rice. The flat bottom and short sides allow for the sushi rice to be spread out and cool quickly. Also pictured is a Japanese towel which will be used to cover the rice as it cools, nori sheets and a bamboo roller mat. I am adding a hangiri to my list of items I need to purchase in Japan. Fortunately, Miki said I would be able to purchase this at the Homes store.

First, we prepared the rice for the rice cooker and then mixed the vinegar and sugar. Pictured below is the recipe for Sushi rice.

Miki selected a variety of sashimi for us to enjoy. A picture of the sashimi we would be eating.

Miki has received extensive training to be a chef. She ordered a knife with her name engraved on it. Yet another item I need to add to my list of Japan items to purchase.

Miki also showed us what to look for when purchasing sashimi grade fish. Notice the three symbols in the brackets on the second line. Those mean sashimi grade fish – meaning it is ok to eat raw.

She also gave us the other important hint about sashimi grade fish. She said it will usually come with a pack of wasabi! Dina and I both agreed it would be much easier to look for a pack of wasabi in the fish than trying to read the Japanese writing.

Dina was put to work slicing the fish. We had two types of tuna and salmon.

Pictured here is tamago (sweet egg), a wasabi pack, canned tuna fish, Shiso leaves and sliced radish in the strainer. All of these items would eventually be displayed neatly and available for consumption.

Miki showed us how to clean the WHOLE squid. She made it look so easy. Here she is holding onto the tentacle part, peeling a strip down the back of the squid and then pulling out the “guts” from the inside. The guts remain attached to the tentacles.

Guts and tentacles remain in the sink. The part of the squid we will eat is on the cutting board.

Using a paper towel for traction, she peeled the tough outer brown skin off the squid.

Next she carefully sliced open the squid and worked to remove the next layer of tough skin on the squid. Removing these layers makes the squid easier to chew.

The squid properly prepared and sashimi ready!

Not letting anything go to waste, Miki cleaned the tentacles by removing the eyes! I asked if they were used in squid eye soup. She laughed. No! Gross! I couldn’t agree more!

Squid sashimi sliced and ready! Dina and I were amazed with her ability to quickly and easily clean the squid. We asked her how she learned to clean the squid – did she learn in her cooking training or from her mom. She said from her mom! We both were yet again impressed. Neither of our mothers would be able to teach us that skill nor would they be interested in even eating the squid raw! No offense Mom… You have taught me plenty in my life and for all of it I’m grateful!

Once the rice was finished, Miki showed us how to prepare the hangiri. Using the vinegar sugar mixture, she coated the bottom to prevent the rice from sticking.

She told us a very funny story about the rice. When the rice comes out of the cooker, it is very hot. It is then given a vinegar bath to cool down. To cool it further we fan it. She acted each phase out. It was adorable. I wish I could have recorded her!

Using the rice paddle, she separated it. You can see the steam rising!

Miki gradually added the vinegar rice mixture. The cool bath!

And then she carefully cut the rice with the vinegar and sugar mixture. She was very gentle taking care not to smash the rice.

Next up, we fan the rice!! Haha!

Once the rice was prepared, Miki covered it with a damp linen towel and then set it in a cooler part of the house to continue cooling down. Once it was cool enough, we prepared the table for our meal. Our platter of sashimi.

A little bit of everything we ate for lunch! Under the plastic wrap is ground tuna.

We ate our Sushi family style. We used nori (seaweed) sheets to spread rice and selected our choice of fish to place on top. It was a casual and fun way to enjoy our sashimi and time together. Dina and I were relieved we didn’t need to make sushi rolls. When you come to visit, we will definitely enjoy sushi together made at home by ME!