September 2, 2004, 3 hours- Joanne

Sur La Table
Cooking Class- Review

Show Stopping Sushi
with Chat Mingkwan

On arrival we were presented with a clipboard with the classnotes, coupons, class calendars for the next 3 months, and a pen. After a brief introduction to the elements of sushi Chat went through what we were going to do and had a deeper discussion on rice – which apparently is the *most* important part of the sushi roll – if the rice is not the right consistency, the roll will fail. It has to be sticky enough and not mushy and taste good. The method of achievement is virtually experimentation with water and new rice to see what the cooking ratio should be. Actually aged rice is better for sushi. Chat made the rice for us for the class.

All students had an identical station with pre-cut ingredients, (almost ready), a cutting surface, rolling mat, water bowl, apron, knife. We had to julienne the cucumber and red pepper to start. We then worked our way from a basic cucumber roll to California roll, Philadelphia, then a rainbow roll and a caterpillar roll. About 8 rolls in all. It was amazing how your technique would get better with practice. I’ve always been rather dubious about being able to create sushi rolls and it was surprisingly easy – the hard part of course would be re-creating the rice. The caterpillar roll with its scales of avocado was spectacular. In the middle of the class a 15 min break was given to stretch our legs, do shopping and have a snack of miso soup, Green bean salad and any of our sushi. Each of us was provided with a plate to take home all of our sushi rolls or to eat from throughout the class as we wished and we were further indulged with a little sake.

The teacher was well prepared, the stations small but workable, the kitchen staff well prepared the class. There were a few items we had to ask for refills on like nori and rice – but generally the organization was very high. The only negative is that the refrigerators are very noisy and it sometimes makes it harder to hear the instructor. Chat Mingwan is knowledgable and personable. The classes he's taught at Sur La Table have all been fantastic. (I've taken 3). I highly reccommend him as a teacher. Also check out his two new books which are great.

Chat Mingkwan 's Cookbooks:

The Best of Regional Thai Cuisine
by Chat Mingkwan

Buddha's Table: Thai Feasting Vegetarian Style
by Chat Mingkwan

Our individual take-home sushi plate of what we made.
Trent couldn't wait for the
picture to be taken...

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