Gaby Soutar: 6 things I learnt on a sushi-making course at Harajuku Kitchen

Bored of supermarket sushi, tiny portions and over-priced tamaki, Gaby Soutar visited Edinburgh's Japanese bistro, Harajuku Kitchen, to try one of their new evening classes.

Published 14th Mar 2016
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

1. Sushi rice is stickier than Loctite. When cutting your sushi rolls, the sharp knife has to be washed between each cut, or it’ll be too gluey to cut cleanly. Also, you’ll find renegade grains everywhere for days afterwards. I discovered one behind my ear and two in my jeans pocket.

2. Those straight-backed prawns that sit neatly on top of an ebi nigiri aren’t born with excellent military posture. Before finding their way onto a neat clock of rice, they’re barbecued on a wooden kebab stick so that they lose their natural slouch.

3. Although they’re usually the more expensive option on a sushi menu, tamaki (hand rolls) are much easier to make than nigiri or maki. You just roll the dried nori seaweed into a police cone shape with the ingredients inside, no mat required.

4. Inari is a type of sushi that consists of rice stuffed into a pouch made of seasoned sliced and fried aburaage tofu, which is the colour of a fox. This type of sushi is named after Inari Okami, the Shinto (Japan’s main religion) God of fertility, rice, tea, sake, industry, agriculture and... foxes.

5. Sushi is a genre that relies on aesthetics. So they say. I found that my amateur sushi was pretty ugly, but tasted just as good as the beautiful stuff. Just eat the clumsiest looking pieces with your eyes shut.

6. Avocado will try to escape. It doesn’t want to go in a California roll. It will squish out the sides, like toothpaste, and try to liberate itself from its maki straitjacket. Your mission: to tame the avocado.

Harajuku Kitchen’s (10 Gillespie Place, Edinburgh, 0131 281 0526) next sushi class will be on Tuesday 15th March at 6:30pm, £50 per lesson including tea/plum wine and miso soup.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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