Nigiri attemptNovember 14, 2009
I tried I really did….I tried for a good 3 hours before I sighed and resigned myself to the fact it just wasn’t going to happen Daring Kitchen got the better of me
The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.
We were being asked to make 3 types of sushi Dragon sushi roll (inside-out rice roll with a tasty surprise filling), Decorative sushi (nori-coated rice roll which reveals a decorative pattern when cut) & Nigiri sushi (hand-shaped rice rolls with toppings). When I first saw this challenge I originally balked, let me explain…
Just prior to getting married to the Husband he was “diagnosed” with a range of food sensitivities/allergies. He went to a specialist, got the fun prick test done on his arm, and spent a few days itching like made, doped up on anti-histamine. The long and the short of it was that whenever the Husband consumed: egg, soy, wheat, potato, tomato or corn, he broke out in a lovely rash of hives on his body. This resulted in a MASSIVE change in diet, especially with the removal of potato as an option. My grandmother is a vegetarian who can’t eat wheat (can eat gluten, just not wheat) or anything dairy, so I’d had a little bit of a “precursor” into the world of no wheat eating. However, the removal of corn and soy through a major spanner into my works – so many of the substitutes had these ingredients, and then take away potato as well…what were we left with? Essentially….rice!
Fast forward 18 months of eating rice everything….rice with all mains as his “carb”, rice noodles, rice pasta, rice flour baked goods, rice rice rice…….the Husband was over it big time. Thankfully, he was told to start giving these things ago again because it had been a bit of an odd on-set of this sensitivity/allergy and so he dived on the potato, no reaction, it was like all his Christmas’s had come at once. Slowly we began the reintroduction of the other ingredients. Fast forward 3 years and I now have a husband who essentially will not touch rice with a ten foot pole.
Sure he’ll eat it with sweet and sour chicken/pork, and when we have Chinese he wants the fried rice. But, try and serve it to him with a curry or stirfry and he looks at you like you’ve killed the cat. He’s not interested in the slightest, so with this challenge I wondered to myself what would I do with all of this sushi? Who was going to eat it? I couldn’t eat it all, and actually I’m not a big fan of it at any rate. Occasionally I get a craving and I’m good to go, but for the most part? Thanks but no thanks, I’m not a big starchy/carby eater really and so when I do have it, I find that I get full very quickly.
Dilemma then yes? Well I spoke to the Husband, explained the dilemma and in his wonderful way he consented to “giving it a go” so rubbing my hands together I headed to the shop to buy all the consumables required and then set to work.
I thought to start with what I thought was the easiest, the Nigiri, which are the ones in the photo. I chose a smoked chicken and wasabi for one and a roasted capsicum for the other. That worked for the most part, they weren’t beautiful but they held there shape and tasted good, isn’t that the important thing here?
Then I moved on to the dragon roll, and here I met my defeater. For nigh on 3 hours I laboured, I tore nori, I had my rice be too thin or to thick, the nori wouldn’t stay rolled together, problems, problems everywhere. And after all that time, I sat down looked at my pile of mess and gave up. I couldn’t do it anymore, I just couldn’t. I tried to read the decorative sushi instructions, but it all seemed like Japanese to me at that point and I gave up before I even tried that one.
Perhaps my heart wasn’t in it? I’d waited and waited to do it until I felt like I wanted sushi but that feeling never came, I was at the weekend prior to the reveal date and I knew I’d have no time during the week so it was my final opportunity. I also knew that the Husband was only going to try it out of the goodness of his heart and his love for me, so it felt like such a mission for something that neither of us really wanted.
In the end, we both enjoyed the Nigiri it was tasty and simple on the pallet, and I love wasabi so it was a nice little punch to the dish. But, the others? They all ended up in the bin, which did feel like a bit of a waste of food, but after working with it for so long, the smell of the nori turned me off, and there really wasn’t much rice left over once I’d struggled with it for so long.
I persevered which I feel was very important, and the reason I joined the Daring Kitchen was to push myself, learn new skills and improve. So I did feel like I learnt something from this challenge that was valuable. I just didn’t get a great deal of food out of it!