Sushi, contrary to what is commonly encountered in Germany, is a highly complex affair that is not just about putting a piece of fish on some rice. If you look at it seriously, it’s actually directly about everything: perfection in every detail, no matter how small. First and foremost, of course, the best possible basic products that you can get hold of. Because without it, no further step is worthwhile. Right in this discipline, probably 95% of all local sushi restaurants fail – probably much more. In the next category, preparation, things unfortunately don’t look much better. It is not without reason that it takes up to 15 years in Japan to be allowed to call oneself Sushiya or even Itamae. The itamae is the sushi master “who stands behind the board” and prepares and serves the nigiri to the guest, who is usually seated at the counter. In summary, sushi of this quality is rarely seen outside of Japan – and almost exclusively in metropolises like London or Paris.
We met in the beautiful kitchen of the Effilee editorial office overlooking the Elbe to approach this topic. Even if it was not at all about preparing perfect sushi, the prerequisites were not bad. We had five different fish at our disposal. Two nice cuts of tuna, especially noteworthy a small piece of toro, the particularly fatty belly piece of tuna. Next to it a small salmon and two char.
In addition, Vijay Sapre has fresh wasabi in the house. If you’re more familiar with the “wasabi-style” pastes and powders, you should definitely try the fresh tuber. Because what is true for rice and fish is equally true for the other components. The differences in ginger are also striking when you compare industrially produced slices with artisan fermented ginger. The rice we will be working with this afternoon is also of the highest quality and of course comes from Japan. Thus, we can put a tick in the quality of the output products: It really doesn’t get any better than this. Only different.
The first big question mark, however, is the preparation: Because this is where we lend a hand ourselves. The Tyrol-based manufacturer of high-quality knives Tyrolitlife invited to this event and immediately provided a wide range of its products from the new Darkline series. The special black coating that characterizes all the knives in this series ensures low resistance and high glide. So ideal to fillet the fish with it. Thanks to a short video conference, we still have the opportunity to ask some of our most important questions about the new knife series directly to knowledgeable experts at Tyrolia in Schwaz (Austria).
About Tyrolit and the new knives of the DARKLINE series
Design meets functionality. Since 2014, Tyrolit, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of grinding and dressing tools as well as a system provider for the construction industry, has been transferring its know-how and 100 years of experience in the development of optimum abrasive solutions to numerous everyday applications. Due to the great success and increasing demand of the Fly Wheel Cut knife, which won the prestigious German Design Award in 2018, a 6-piece knife series has been developed and designed: the Tyrolit LIFE DARKLINE.
Its development incorporated the expertise of the Tyrolean tool expert Stubai and the Austrian star chef Michael Schwarzmann. They have already played a leading role in the development of the Fly Wheel Cut knife. The two award-winning chefs Markus Niederwanger and Jürgen Gschwendtner have been using the Fly Wheel Cut knife for years and also contributed their know-how to the development of the new knife series. The result: aerodynamically shaped knives that impress with their exceptional cutting performance, elegant design and special lightness. Every single knife is made by hand in Tyrol. The Tyrolit LIFE DARKLINE thus meets the high demands of top chefs.
To ensure that nothing goes wrong when filleting with the sharp tools, Boris Kasprik from Hamburg’s Michelin-starred restaurant Petit Amour explains the little and big tricks. Previously, Boris worked for some time at the three-star Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo. There he learned the special cutting techniques of Japanese cuisine from the legendary Chef Seiji Yamamoto and learned that even the guidance of the knife can influence the result on the plate. Of course, we can only take a small glimpse into this art – but that is almost meditative. With the Filet Cut from Tyrolitlife, we also manage to make one or two cuts pretty well. The knife is easy to handle and has a very pleasant flexibility, which is very advantageous when working on the precious fish.
After the fish are filleted, we prepare the rice. Exciting: we can see two different techniques and then taste them. Nothing against Vijay and his talking rice stove, but the sushi rice that Boris Kasprik prepares from a clay pot imported from Japan over the Molteni stove can’t quite keep up with it. In both versions, vinegar, salt and sugar are then added to the rice and gently cooled down. However, not too much, because for a perfect result the rice must not be too cold at all.
And, also importantly, the nigiri are typically rather not as large as they are served in this country. A real itamae always has the guest in mind and hands her or him bite-sized pieces, adapted to the individual anatomy. By the way, in Japan it doesn’t matter at all whether you enjoy your sushi with chopsticks or by hand. There is, however, one important recommendation for enjoyment: Ideally, nigiri should be eaten with the fish side on the tongue. The difference in texture and aroma is astounding.
Of course, we have also prepared one or the other vegan variant. Vijay Sapre has surprisingly skillfully shaken different makis from the sleeve of the kitchen jacket. Green asparagus, avocado, eggplant, cucumber, topped with toasted sesame seeds, wasabi and a little saoja sauce. The rolls were easily cut into small bite-sized pieces with the lightly water-wetted Tyrolit knives.
An afternoon in which we learned a lot, laughed and ate well.
Many thanks to Tyrolitlife, the Effilee and Boris Kasprik!!!
The chic black knives are available directly from the Tyrolitlife online store. There you will also find the beautiful knife block with integrated sharpening stone, which I can also imagine very well in our kitchen 🙂