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19 August 2012 (Sushi Sundays)

August 19, 2012

Yuval’s sushi, June 2010, Canon EOS Kiss Digital X

*My dear English readers,
Since I wrote this entry originally in Japanese, the English translation follows below.*

特に決めたわけじゃないけど、いつからか日曜日の夜ご飯はいつもお寿司を食べるようになりました。

お寿司と言ってもイスラエルで手に入る食材で作るユバルの特製イスラエル・スシ。
お刺身として食べられるお魚はこの地域ではほとんどみないので
中身はツナマヨにアボガド、きゅうり、赤ピーマン。

ご飯はスーパーで「Sushi Rice」と言う名で売られているものを使い、
白ワインビネガーと、みりんと、あれば瓶詰めのアンチョビの付け汁をちょっぴり入れるらしい。
スーパーには「すし酢」をおいているところもあるのですがそれはまだ使ったことはなく、
でもユバルの特製すし飯、これがなかなかいける。
週によってはもちろんできの差があるのですが、それもまた楽しい。

わさびは最近までは日本製の缶に入った粉末のものを買っていたのですが
ここのところお店で見なくなってしまった。
その後試してみたイスラエルのブランドの粉末ワサビはいまいちだったし
韓国製のチューブ型のものもなんかボケた味だった。
でも今日買って来たチューブわさびは日本製ではなかったけど今までで一番良く、
こういう小さなことでも嬉しくなってしまいます。

小さなことと言えば、イスラエルに来てから初めてお家でお寿司を作った時
海苔の袋を開けてにおいをかいだ瞬間もう懐かしくて
それだけで泣きそうになってしまったのを覚えています。

こっちに来て間もない頃はテルアビブやエルサレムに行く機会があるたび
日本食レストランに行っていたのですが、あるSushiのチェーン店のメニューを読んで
まずぎょっとしたのは多くのsushiにバタータが入っていたこと。
バタータはさつまいも。さつまいもですよ!
なんでもいいからとにかくバタータが入っていないものを頼みました 笑

でもそこは何よりもご飯がタイ米のようにパサパサしててまずくて、
ほかのことは余り覚えていません。
カルフォルニア・ロールなど、外国人が生み出したスシの中には
おいしいと思うものもたくさんあるのですが
イスラエルでは今の所残念ながら出会っていません。
こういう経験からもイスラエルではイスラエルが一番得意とする料理のレストランに行こう!
と思うようになりました。

そして母国の食べ物が恋しくなった時は家で再現を試みるのが今の所一番良し。
以前行った日本人会で話題になったのは、
恋しさの余り日本にいた頃は自分で作ろうとも思わなかった料理を
イスラエルで作るようになった人が結構いたこと。
(その時は白玉ぜんざいとこしあんのおはぎを全部手作りした人がいました!おいしかった〜)
それをすることによって、余計日本の食べ物や文化を感謝でき、
もっと好きになることをみんなと共感したのを覚えてます。

It’s not like we planned it or anything, but we always have sushi for dinner on Sundays now.

I say sushi but this is Yuval’s original sushi Israeli, made up of ingredients available here in Israel. We still have yet to come across fish edible as sashimi in this area, so the usual filling consist of canned tuna with mayo, avocado, cucumber, and red pepper.

For the rice he uses what they sell in supermarkets labelled “Sushi Rice” and has come up with his original flavoring with white wine vinegar, mirin, and a bit of the oil from a jar of anchovies. Some of the supermarkets do sell “sushi vinegar” to mix with the rice, but Yuval’s own interpretation is actually really good. The result differs a bit each week, but that is part of the fun.

We had a bit of wasabi drama recently (we are lucky to not have much other drama!) when the Japanese canned powder version we so depended on disappeared from the local store. We tried an Israeli brand that wasn’t so good, and then a Korean tubed version that was rather bland, but we were overjoyed when another tubed version Yuval bought today fit the bill. Oh, how the little things make all the difference sometimes.

Speaking of little things, I remember when we had sushi at home for the first time since I came to Israel, just opening the bag of nori and catching a whiff of the smell nearly brought me to tears. It made me miss home so much.

Shortly after arriving here, whenever I had an opportunity to go to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem I always sought Japanese restaurants. In my first Israeli sushi chain restaurant (and probably my last) I was shocked to read in the menu that most rolls had batata in them! Batata means sweet potato, and I’m sorry, that just won’t do in my book. I asked for anything that didn’t have the batata in it.

I nearly cried when the food arrived and discovered that the rice tasted like anything but Japanese rice, all dry and flaky. That’s about the only memory I have of that meal.

There are many interpretations of sushi by non-Japanese (the California roll would be a good example) that I find delicious and an innovative spin on the original. (Although I don’t consider them Japanese sushi but a whole different entity.) I just haven’t come across it here in Israel yet.

I’ve learned that the best thing to do is to go eat what Israel does best! And Israel being an immigrant state the options are endless.

And when I long for food from home? Trying to recreate it in my own kitchen is my best bet so far. When I attended a Japanese gathering a few months ago, one of the girls had made shiratama (mini mochi balls) in zenzai (red bean soup) and ohagi (rice balls covered with sweet red bean paste) all from scratch. (Oh, it was so good.) She said that ever since coming to Israel, she has started to cook dishes that she never would have even considered cooking at home (or actually ever needed to) back in Japan. Through reproducing these foods she appreciates our culture and country even more.

While my recreations are not nearly as complicated as hers, I totally understood what she was saying.

Much love,
Kaori

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2012 7:32 pm

    Hi Kaori, I can guess which sushi chain you went to, and it isn’t considered very good indeed… I don’t eat sushi (I can be picky), but I know there are Japanese restaurants which Japanese people approve of, such as Onami in Tel Aviv (which is a bit expensive). There is also a restaurant in Hod HaSharon called Yamatoya, which is owned by a Japanese woman, so I supposed her standards are higher🙂

    • August 21, 2012 6:08 pm

      Hi Yael! I have been to Onami and was very impressed by their menu for the authenticity. Their sushi was pretty good (although they were out of avocado that day), and everything else I ate there was very good.
      I’ve heard of Yamatoya and have wanted to go there for a while🙂

  2. August 22, 2012 5:50 pm

    Oooh that sounds great – you both enjoy whipping up different variations of sushi! I know what you mean about finding authentic home food in Israel… I’ve never had the courage to try the Japanese restaurants here but now I’m going to give Onami a try! We made sushi once using smoked salmon. That’s hardly close to the sashimi I’m missing!😛

    • August 23, 2012 5:15 pm

      Well, smoked salmon is better than no salmon at all🙂

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