Wednesday, July 05, 2006

DIY Sushi Karen - Sushi Karen, Culver City

After frequenting Sushi Karen nearly 7 times and achieving the Cheers (where everybody knows your name) status, I decided to try my hand at this. I took J there last week and she really liked SK's Amberjack Jalapeno Kanpachi sushi: a thin slice of fish similar to Hamachi (yellowtail), fresh pureed garlic, a jalapeno slice and fresh yuzu soy sauce.

We went down to the Mitsuwa market in Little Tokyo and bought a decent block of yellowtail for about $9. We couldn't find fresh yuzu, so we purchased the bottled kind for about $5. If anyone knows where I can find FRESH YUZU fruit, please inform me. I will gladly grow a Yuzu orchard in my front yard. Once we got back, we used a sushi rice recipe that we found from Ming Tsai that called for mirin, vinegar and sugar. J had already made some rice and we unplugged the rice cooker, leaving the rice to cool down a bit. If the rice is too hot, it'll cook the raw fish. No goohr.

Since I didn't own a sashimi knife, I made sure to bring my Global Santoku knife for slicing the fish. I made 2" diagonal cuts on the beautiful block of fish, which yielded nearly 20 slices. This was my first time making sushi as I was quite nervous and afraid they'd look ugly.

Here goes the first one. I made an oval-shaped lump of rice and added the fish on top of it. I then topped the fish with some freshly-pressed garlic, a thin slice of jalapeno and a few drops of soy sauce/yuzu.

Everything tasted really good and fresh, only the rice could've been better. The rice didn't clump together as I had hoped, and I think we put too much vinegar and sugar. We will try less next time. Overall, you can't complain about a $10 sushi meal.

Does anyone know a good place to get sashimi knives for a reasonable price?

Thanks for reading.


BoLA said...

I love it! DIY Sushi! Niiice. Your plate of Yellowtail Jalapenos look delicious! Can't wait for Napa this weekend! =)

Foodie Universe said...

That looks delicious. Where do you think the best place to get fish for sushi is? I can't stomach a lot of the grocery store stuff because it does that wierd crunch thing. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Jeni said...

The sushi was sooooo yummy! Gochisosama deshita EDNM-san!

nipponfan said...

wow.. this looks really delicious.. considering it was your first time making sushi, you did so well. now i'm hungry.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

This looks awesome. I love buying the blocks of sashimi at Mitsuwa too, although my husband always threatens to take a big bite out of the salmon one since it's soooo good. For the rice- you can dump the hot rice into a big, shallow dish (or baking pan) and sprinkle the vinegar while fanning it with a handheld fan. That's the "traditional" way to both cool off the rice and get the right consistency.

So I guess this means the next blogging dinner will be sushi at your place made by you two?! Cool.

rick james said...

d-man, i didn't even know Yuzu was a fruit.. for some reason i thought it was a Tuber... whatever that is...

anyways, everytime i read your blog i swear i get smarter!!!

if you wrote more entries.... i would be like... really smart.

Kirk said...

Hey EDBM - Try Marukai for decent (starter)sashimi knives - you are right handed, correct? Sashimi knives come in both left handed & right handed models. I'm lobbying for a yuzu tree for our back yard, since we just got rid of the huge pepper tree, I'll let you know if I'm able to get it - then it's "Yuzu for everyone", nothing like home made ponzu. BTW, Yuzu branches have really huge thorns, if I remember.

elmomonster said...

You make it sound so simple! I might give this a shot, although I already know it won't look as good as yours.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Foodie U, since you're on the Westside, you can just go to Mitsuwa, Nijiya and those other 2 markets just north of Furaibo on Sawtelle. NEVER buy fish from Ralph's, Albertson's or the 99 Cent Store... they inject additives to redden the color of the meat. The crunch I'm thinking about comes from the fish being frozen, and thawed out... is that what you mean? I've experienced that at crappy sushi joints... it's quite unpleasant.

Jeni/Bola, making sushi is quite therapeutic. I wanna do salmon next.

Nipponfan, thank you. The rice sucked though!!!

TAG, I'm tempted to take a big slab of salmon and throw it in between a panini with some hollandaise. Can you share your sushi rice recipe? The fan technique sounds really interesting. This technique wouldn't be too good with Fish Sauce haha.

Thanks Ron James, i hear Yuzu is expensive. This is one fruit that won't be sold on the corner of the street. I'd buy a case if I saw fresh yuzu.

Kirk, thank you. I noticed that sashimi knives are a little bit off-set for more cutting control/power. I'll check out Mitsuwa. Do you know someone that sells Yuzu trees? Send me some seeds! Great another thing to add to my list:

(1) Big Kahuna Burner
(2) Yuzu tree
(3) Sashimi Knife

Elmo, this will taste good once I find a good rice recipe. I'm already thinking about what i wanna do next.

Thanks again guys for the Big Kahuna burner info.

Kirk said...

Hi EDMB - I think Elmo will know the name of the Nursery - it's right next to the 60 freeway in Diamond Bar off of Colima(or is it where it becomes Golden Springs). Anyway, I've seen Yuzu, and even Donut Peach trees there.

Daily Gluttony said...

wow! EDNBM-san! I am impressed!!!

(Just don't do anything stupid and add cilantro to it to mess it up. LOL!)

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Haha Pam, i know cilantro is your Public Enemy #1. We should meet up sometime to eat sushi in Lil' Tokyo.

Pirikara said...

Ahh yuzu... I visited a Japanese American farmer (Nagatoshi farms) in Oxnard last month who grows them to no end. Amazingly fresh and tasty. I ended up snagging one when the farmer wasn't looking. I'm actually on a mission to get fresh yuzu as well. Hashimoto nursery on Sawtelle can order a pot for about $150. I don't think there's thorns on them so don't worry.

elmomonster said...

Kirk and EDBM,

I think I know of the nursery you're talking about. It's off of Golden Spring. My dad buys bonsai trees from there. I don't know if they have yuzu trees or seeds since I never looked for them, but I am apt to trust Kirk's memory than my own. There's a phone number for them so perhaps it'd be wise to check before making the drive.

Here's the address if you're interested:

Oriental Nursery
1035 Banning Way
Walnut, CA 91789

(909) 595-0712

k said...

ooh...the slice of jalapeno. i've had that somewhere else..i think it was katsu-ya. and i loved it.

eatdrinknbmerry said...


thank you. i found a nursery in San Gabriel that carries Yuzu trees in a 5 gallon pot for $39.99 - but with no fruits. I found out why Yuzu is so expensive... it only grows fruit ONCE A YEAR during the Spring. I am probably going to get it soon and i'll just have to wait like a good boy for it share its wealth.

Keri, the jalapeno/hamachi combo isn't a new thing. I think Sushi Karen changes it up by adding a Yuzu/soy sauce to it. Yum.

DEe said...

i think the problem with your sushi rice is that you're using the wrong type of rice. You need shortgrain don't you? the one in your picture looks like regular long grain. Thats why the rice was not sticky enough and didnt hold well. the vinegar has nothing to do with the stickiness.. that is for the flavour..

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Dee thank you. What is short grain rice called in Japanese?

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