Monday, December 13, 2010

Sanbiki's Sushi School

I remember my first time. Twenty years ago, chaos ruled in my tiny, steamy student kitchen. Rice boiled over on the stove and bottles of vinegar lay knocked over on the counter. A side of fresh, orange farmed salmon sat disintegrating on the chopping block. Sheets of seaweed had rolled up in defeat, dead, dead, dead from all the heat and humidity. My first attempt at sushi making was not safe, let alone delicious...

If only there had been Sanbiki Sushi School! I would have known that fresh raw salmon is a no-no (it must be frozen at some point to kill potential parasites) I could have made properly seasoned rice that was not a gooey mess. My rolls would have tasted good even if they weren't too pretty.

Monday nights in the cold Kamloops winter tend to be slow at Sanbiki. We had an idea...customers had been asking us for tips on sushi-making at both the restaurant and next door at Mori Mori Grocery. Why not convert the far side of the restaurant into a sushi classroom once a month?

We could move the tables in the window apart to provide a work station for participants in the class. Masato could demonstrate from a table at the front and our staff could assist students at their stations. We would start with the basics; cooking the rice and seasoning it properly. With vinegar, yes; but equally important is the addition of sugar and salt. Masato could show our guests how to use sushi mats to make California, tuna and other rolls. Time permitting, we could introduce people to chirashi and nigiri sushi making.
And so sushi school was born...usually once a month on a Monday. We keep the classes small to ensure everyone gets the attention they need. 10 people maximum. Two hours is enough time to get a handle on the basics and early evening is a convienent time for pretty much everyone. After, eat your sushi with your "classmates"...or take it home for a midnight snack. Right now, we are showing people how to make California, veggie and tuna rolls. Also "Inari" sushi; sweet and savoury fried tofu pockets stuffed with sushi rice...a traditional favourite in Japan.

So far we have had good feedback from our participants. It is easier to learn when you can watch someone demonstrate and ask them questions. Masato will point out mistakes that will slow you down and make for less than perfect rolls. You'll learn how to cut rolls properly and tips on proper Japanese presentation too.

All this what cost you ask? Only $50! You'll need to buy your own sushi mat ($1.99 next door at Mori Mori) but everything else is provided at Sanbiki and you can eat the fruits of your labour afterwards. Or take it home for snacking! Call or come down to Sanbiki to register for our next class. Sushi School makes a great gift too. Rescheduling in classes is possible if the recipient of the sushi class coupon cannot make a certain date. Other gifts ideas...Gift Certificates from Sanbiki or Mori Mori! Visit Mori Mori for unique gift ideas...Asian dishware, bento lunch boxes, toys, stocking stuffers and more!

Have a great week...more next time!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

HM Private Parties!

There is a lot to love about Sanbiki's new location! One of the best things is that the design accomodates groups and private parties in a way that was impossible in our previous space. The far side of the restaurant has tables that fit together to form a "communal" eating area. While still connected to the goings on in our open kitchen, the area offers a nice degree of privacy.

Recently, Sanbiki hosted a 40th birthday party for the Shouldice family. We worked with the hostess to put together a menu that would offer a combination of hot and cold dishes. The sushi platters were a combination of raw and cooked rolls and nigiri. Veggie rolls, yam fries and shiitake mushrooms in tempura offered yummy meat-free options for the vegetarians.
Sushi Roll Platter B

A buffet area was set up where guests could serve themselves. However it is crucial that certain foods be served immediately. Examples from this menu included Japanese-style calimari and tempura yam fries. Small plates of these dishes were cooked continually through the night and servers passed them around as guests socialized.

Ika Tempura ("Calimari")

Sushi is a perfect finger food and the other offerings were also designed for easy eating. Kushikatsu (panko breaded pork on skewers); Yakitori (seasoned chicken on a stick) and Chicken Karaage (crispy Japanese style chicken wings) required neither chopsticks nor cutlery and were popular with the guests.

Smoked Sockeye Salmon Roll

Assorted Nigiri Sushi Platter

Private parties can choose to pay "cash and carry" for their drinks or may arrange for wine, beer, sake or other beverages to be available "on demand". We offer "Party Pigs" of local, organic draft beer courtesy of Sorrento-based Crannog Ales. Premium chilled sakes from Granville Island Sakemaker Masa Shiroki can be pre-ordered and we always have organic French red and white wines on hand.

For the holiday season, we are offering Sanbiki's dinner guests the option of ordering our very popular lunch menu "Bento Boxes" for evening parties. Pre-order required and minimum 4 guests please! But at $10 for a complete meal you cannot go wrong! Even raw food lovers can enjoy our Sashimi Bento for only $13 including green tea. So there is no excuse NOT to organize your next get together at Sanbiki!

Chicken Bento $10!

NEXT TIME....Go back to school...SUSHI SCHOOL that is! Learn to roll your own...with Masato and Kishino's expert advice of course....!