Learn to make simple sushi at Krasl Art Center

May 20, 2013

A sushi roll from Kru, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in Sacramento, California. Please note, this is not a picture of the sushi recipe described in this story.
A sushi roll from Kru, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in Sacramento, California. Please note, this is not a picture of the sushi recipe described in this story.
Credit AP Images

Krasl Art Center in Saint Joseph presents a workshop on making sushi on Saturday, May 25. Foodie Mark Toncray of Coloma will teach the class. He wants to demystify the process of making sushi.

He teaches an “Americanized” version of sushi- making, a lot of which does not include raw fish.

Chef Mark Toncray
Chef Mark Toncray

“This isn’t traditional, Japanese, or a high concept of sushi," he says. "That’s a very involved process. You know the time period of being a sushi chef of regard in Japan is 10, 20, or even 30 years of apprenticeship. So, once you realize that it doesn’t have to be made by wizened men in a sushi house, that housewives and kids can make it, then there shouldn’t be the apprehension. There’s more of a comfort level with sushi as food.”

Basic sushi ingredients include sheets of dried seaweed, called nori, and sticky rice, which is simply any type of rice with a couple of small additions.

“Binding agents include sugar and vinegar, about a tablespoon each per cup of rice. That makes it sticky," says Toncray. "You can use white rice, Uncle Ben’s, whatever you are comfortable with. You may decide that you like to do this, then you can try a fancier rice. The shorter the grain of the rice, generally the stickier it is.”

For the workshop, Toncray is making what he calls his Buffalo Tuna Roll, using canned tuna. He emphasizes that you can make sushi using many other ingredients, personalizing it to your own tastes. He describes his recipe:

“I use tuna, ranch dip and hot sauce mixed together and come up with a spicy tuna salad. Lay that into the sushi, along with a nice piece of celery, to give it some crispness and some coolness. Roll that up and you have spicy tuna buffalo sushi.”

The trickiest part may be in the assembly. For this you need a sharp knife, a small mat made of bamboo and some patience. Toncray makes it look easy.

“I put an even layer of rice on about half of the piece of nori," he says. "I put in a couple crunchy pieces of celery, or scallion would work well, then some of the tuna mixture. The nori was placed on a bamboo mat, kind of like a small placemat, and the strips of bamboo are sewn together, and that gives you some structure and form while you pick up the front edge of it and try to fold it over and begin to make a roll. And then you use that to press and shape and stretch and straighten and continue your roll. Voila.”