Do you remember your first time? Or maybe you’ve never even tried it before…
I remember mine; my hands were getting a bit warm which is less than ideal, my eyes darted around the room searching for reassurance, I was starting to get nervous. Anxious thoughts went through my mind at every step- is it supposed to be this sticky? Am I holding it too tight? Should I give it a squeeze when I’m done? But in the end I needn’t have worried, my first attempt resulted in a pretty passable roll of sushi.
A couple of weeks on and I still remember that moment fondly… none of the embarrassment usually related to first times (like those rock-resembling bread rolls or the raw in the middle but burnt on top lasagne) this was surprisingly triumphant and stress free! Given my love of sushi, which I’ve proclaimed to you at least once or twice before, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never really got my hands dirty and made my own so when the food-loving folk at Zomato invited me to their latest Zomato Meetup, a sushi-making class at Kuriya Keiko, I cleared the diary. Coincidentally, this meetup was another first for me but was far less daunting because what’s not to love about spending an evening with other food fanatics who don’t bat an eyelid at taking five shots of that plate of sushi from all angles.
After a couple of plumtinis, a few introductions and of course the mandatory hand-washing ritual, we donned our aprons and prepared to roll. I was really impressed with the set up Keiko has here; as I stood at the bench with my equipment at the ready, I was honestly imagining myself on one of those Masterchef masterclass episodes where John teaches everyone how to make the perfect Italian meringue or something. Every spot has a great view of Keiko and the woman herself is a wonderful teacher- her instructions were clear and simple, she shared tips and tricks along the way, and she was extremely warm and friendly. For someone being watched so intensely by 12 sets of eyes and having her every move documented by another 12 cameras, she was exceptionally composed- I briefly suspected her of being some sort of celeb in a past life…
We listened, chatted, rolled and then finally got to eat. I don’t want to be too smug but this was really the best part… oh the sweet taste of sushi success complimented by a bowl of rich pork miso soup. While we munched, Keiko showed us how to make the perfect gyoza– neatly folded and carefully cooked until we got that oh-so-necessary crispy bottom and steamed upper. There was of course a taste test to follow… washed down with a glass of an unusual sparkling sake. Kanpai!
And if you thought the eating ended here, you’d be wrong- we moved back to the restaurant area for more chit chat, a glass or two of wine and yet more tasty Japanese treats. We devoured baskets of crumbed tofu, sampled a citrus chilli chicken and teriyaki pork and salmon, but the best was yet to come. Let’s say I was pretty pleased with myself for soldiering on and making some room for the azuki bean cigar with vanilla ice cream.
When I finally decided to make a move, I left with a ridiculously full stomach, a new skill to add to my food belt, and some great new friends- I’d say that was pretty successful for a first time!
Thanks to Zomato for finally getting me into the roll of things, and if you too would like to take the first step towards being a sushi-sensei, go check out some of the classes at Kuriya Keiko.