Last week, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa was in town for a few days visiting his new Nobu Honolulu restaurant that just opened up in Ward Village. (That whole area is booming!) We had the great pleasure in joining him for a private sushi making class with a few others that was quite memorable to say the least. Each of us had our own little sushi-making station setup with delicious fresh fish to make nigiri and hand rolls. Nobu started off explaining that he follows a six-step process for making nigiri and let’s just say, it’s so much harder than it looks!
You first start with a moistened hand and pick up a slice of fish, laying it on your four fingers of your left hand. With your right hand, you pick up a little ball of rice, rolling it around like a dice to form a round shape to put onto the slice of fish that is on your left hand. Add a smear of wasabi with your right pointer finger on the rice. This is the step that gets tricky, but you basically gently press down on the rice, shape it, turn it around, shape it, turn it over, shape it and place it angled on the plate. Did you get that? Haha! It’s such an art for one piece of nigiri!! When you eat it, he said not to use so much soy sauce and wasabi. When dipping it into the soy sauce, you turn the piece of nigiri over so that the rice doesn’t crumble in the soy sauce. The right way to eat sushi is using a chopstick or even with your fingers and eat the sushi in one bite. One thing that Chef Nobu shared is that he uses Monk Fruit as a natural sugar in making sushi rice which is a lot healthier than other sweeteners that are normally used.
After making our four pieces of nigiri, we then went on to making two of the most popular hand rolls everyone is familiar with: spicy ahi and California roll. The first step, you place the shiny side of the nori out in your left hand Add double the amount rice we used for making nigiri. The trick he taught was to open up the rice in the middle with your four fingers on the right and pull back and forth spreading out the rice. Add a touch of wasabi. Then add the imitation crab, avocado and cucumber. You finish it off by pulling the bottom right corner up and keep rolling it from the bottom till you have your cone. For the spicy ahi, you repeat the steps to make your hand roll adding scallions and the spicy mayo sauce.
Chef Nobu said there’s rule #1 when it comes to making sushi and that is, make it from the heart. He was so personable, funny and warm, that we got to enjoy a really nice conversation with him while we ate our sushi creation taught by him. With over 32 Nobu restaurants worldwide, he travels 10 months out of the year visiting his restaurants around the world. The other two months he spends in his home base of Los Angeles. With a grueling travel schedule, he always finds the time to get in a workout and enjoys swimming. It was truly an honor to learn how to make sushi from one of the best sushi masters in the world.
1118 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96914