Setsubun & Sushi

Would you believe that I have lived in Japan for (almost) five years and never made sushi?  Why would I need to make my own when I can get perfectly good, fresh sushi from any supermarket or convenience store?

Just for fun I decided to give it a whirl last weekend.

It wasn't completely random.  You see, Monday was Setsubun, a Japanese holiday which marks the start of spring on their old calendar.  Some traditions that go along with Setsubun include eating and throwing dry roasted soy beans, terrifying children with the possibility of demons coming into your home, and of course, eating sushi.  (Of course, this must be done silently, while facing the lucky direction for the year - ENE for 2014.)

What more could you ask for in a holiday?

For the last few years, B has made my sushi rolls for me.  There are certain fillings you are supposed to incorporate for luck and he knows all of this, so I always left it up to him.  But, he's not here.

I could have gone to the local supermarket and picked up a ready made sushi roll and avoided the hassle, but that wouldn't have made for a very interesting blog entry, would it? (Here's the Instagram of the sushi roll I bought...) Instead, I decided to give sushi making a try, and you know what?  It was easy!

Since I'm not Japanese, I decided it would be ok to make western-style sushi (aka a California Roll...they don't exist in Japan).  I like them and didn't trouble myself with researching all of the traditional ingredients for Setsubun, so California roll is was.  I also made a few tuna (as in canned tuna) rolls just to keep things interesting.

I roughly followed the directions for preparing sushi rice from this website.  It also gives some recipes and easy to follow instructions on filling and rolling your sushi.

To keep things really un-Japanese, I mixed up some spicy harissa mayonnaise to use as a dipping sauce, as opposed to soy sauce and wasabi.

My sushi might not have been the prettiest but it was pretty good!  I was really proud of my first solo sushi attempt, and might even be tempted to try it again sometime.

(I must admit I was pretty bad about Setsubun this year.  I had no idea which direction ENE was, and I *gasp* cut my sushi when I should have eaten the roll whole.  Also, instead of eating my age in beans plus one, I just ate the whole bag.  Oops...)

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