I love raw fish with a passion, but it wasn’t always so. My dad was the one who actually turned our whole family onto sushi and sashimi. I can barely remember the first time my family went to a sushi restaurant, but I do remember that I refused to eat anything except chicken teriakyi. My dad tried to convince the whole family that sashimi was to die for, but I was just convinced that I’d die if I had to eat raw fish.
My parents weren’t the forcing type and since neither my brother or my mom were eating the slimy stuff, I was content with my sticky, saucy chicken. My dad was pretty happy too since he didn’t have to share. It wasn’t until much later and many more Japanese restaurant visits that the rest of us finally caught on.
Now, I can’t imagine living without sushi: I love the silky, melt in your mouth texture of the perfect piece of hamachi. I love the restraint, the balance and the thought that go into each bite. I’d be hard pressed to choose a favourite kind of food, but I know Japanese cuisine is in there for sure.
If you’ve been to Vancouver, you know, we have more sushi joints than Starbucks. They’re not all good, but there are definitely a few gems. The abundance of sushi restaurants means that I don’t make sushi at home; why make when I can go to my favourite Japanese restaurant where the chef has trained for years to learn his craft?
There are people who like making sushi at home, and for those, there’s Fujiya, where they sell sashimi and sushi grade quality fish. It’s where I picked up my hamachi and the chazuke I ended up using.
Chang’s cured hamachi recipe calls for wakame chazuke furikake, which is a Japanese rice seasoning. I asked a helpful stock boy at Fujiya if they had it, but he explained to me, that they were two different things. Chazuke is rice seasoning. Furikake is rice seasoning. But together, they are not the same rice seasoning. I decided to go with the Chazuke, because of the little rice puffs. Of course, I couldn’t resist the Pikachu chazuke; it has Pikachu faces!
I used a little restraint and didn’t use the Pikachu faces in the final dish. This dish is all about restraint and subtlety. Hamachi is cured in a Sichuan peppercorn, coriander seed, salt-sugar rub, then sliced at a slight 15˚ angle. It’s plated with a horseradish-edamame puree, whole edamame beans, pea shoots, and a sprinkling of wakame chazuke furikake, or in my case, Pikachu chazuke. The firm silkiness of the fish with the crunchy rice puffs and edamame puree is simple, subtle and delicious.