June 14, 2019

Sushi Rolling 201 at Benihana — Rainbow Roll & Shrimp Crunchy Roll

This post is sponsored by Benihana. All opinions are my own.

What’s the most important part of the Sushi making process?

The Rice! I was lucky enough to help the Sushi Chef at the Puente Hills location make this batch!

In Japan, a sushi apprentice isn’t allowed to touch the rice until they’ve proven they’re worthy of mastering this sacred ingredient. The word “sushi” refers to vinegared seasoned rice, so when you say sushi you are actually referring to the rice, not the fish. 

Sushi rice must be “folded” with a special rice paddle (seen below).  It should be fanned to cool, then kept at room temperature.

I’ve had so much fun partnering with Benihana in the past: from becoming a chef for a day, to making a California roll, and learning the difference between sashimi and nigiri! The next courses in my Sushi Rolling education are the Rainbow Roll and the Shrimp Crunchy Roll!

Rainbow Roll

The base of a Rainbow Roll is a California Roll! I learned how to make them in my first Sushi Rolling class at Benihana. I detailed the steps in this blog post.

The Benihana Rainbow Roll features tuna, salmon, cooked shrimp, yellowtail and red snapper.

After making a California Roll, it is time to thinly slice each fish with a very sharp chef’s knife. This is a LOT harder than it looks!

The fish is placed on top of the roll, then slices of avocado. Plastic wrap is used to securely keep everything in place while you shape the roll with a mat. After removing the mat, the roll gets cut into 8 pieces.

Shrimp Crunchy Roll

It is important to start with the right tempura batter. The basic ingredients are egg, water, and flour. The goal is to make a light, fluffy, crisp batter that doesn’t absorb too much oil when it’s fried.

Pro tips for the best batter:

  • Use ice water in your batter for the best crispy tempura
  • Make the batter right before frying
  • Do not overmix the batter, clumps are okay
  • Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel
  • Dip shrimp in flour
  • Dip shrimp in tempura batter
  • Fry in oil between 340 – 350 * F

The basis of this roll is also a California Roll, with the addition of the Tempura Shrimp. It is then shaped with the mat, cut into 8 pieces, and drizzled with eel sauce. Yum! It’s the most comforting sushi roll — slightly warm, a perfect crunch, and a bit of sweetness from the eel sauce.

Sake

I got to taste through a few of Benihana’s Sake offerings!

Sake is often thought of as rice wine, because it’s bottled like wine, but sake is actually brewed and fermented, like beer.

Special rice, called sakamai, is used for sake. It’s much larger ane more expensive than table rice. Sake rice is polished, washed, soaked and steamed. The more of the outer shell that gets polished away, the smaller the kernel. Sake made with smaller kernels is usually more expensive.

Sake Meter Value (SMV):

Sake can take on different characteristics, flavors and aromas. It can be dry, sweet or somewhere in between. The SMV helps understand what to order, from a range of -70 (the sweetest) to +70 (the driest.)

Pro Tip: Just remember: the higher, the drier.

Mio Sparkling Sake is rated -70. It’s delicate and bubbly, and makes an excellent aperitif. 

Benihana TYKU sake is rated +5.4, making it on the drier side. The Benihana Special Edition Tyku Sake is crafted to complement grilled seafood and meat.

Nigori sake is minimally filtered making it milky and creamy.  Sho Chiku Bai Nigori is rated -20, and makes a delicious dessert sake.

I was surprisingly very fond of the sweeter sakes!

Sake Cocktails

Sake is a versatile ingredient and great for use in cocktails. Benihana features several sake cocktails including the Benihana Mojito, Tokyo Mule, Blue Ocean Punch, White Peach, and Red Plum Sake Sangrias.

My favorite, The Benihana Mojito is an Asian twist on the classic mojito. It’s made with silver rum, Benihana sake, fresh limes and mint.

What do you think I should learn to make next at Benihana?!

Kanpai!

Corey, Miss Foodie Problems

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, I love to have a home base in such a food-focused city. Whether I am traveling out of the country, around the US, or exploring the culturally diverse expanse of LA I feel at home while meeting new people, eating new foods, and expanding my outlook!

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