PREPARATION TECHNIQUES FOR PERFECT SASHIMI
THE RESTAURANT - KAIIKA, NIUE ISLAND, SOUTH PACIFIC
When we talk about hidden gems, this place surely takes first prize.
Niue Island is a lone atoll in the middle of the Pacific. Yet located there is a Japanese restaurant that takes full advantage of the ready supply of delicious fresh fish.
Rated on Japanese Trip Advisor as one of the top twenty sashimi restaurants outside of Japan, this place knows how to fully utilize the nearby ocean bounty.
THE CHEF - YUICHIRO (HAGE) KISHI
Originally from Japan, Hage is a long way from his homeland, here on the tiny island of Niue.
A trained Sashimi and Sushi chef, Hage enjoys the fresh ingredients he gets to work with, straight from the sea and out to customers.
THE RECIPE: PREPARATION TECHNIQUES FOR PERFECT SASHIMI
To get the most out of your fish, the most important thing is how it is handled directly after being caught.
Iki spike the fish.
Drive a sharp spike or knife into the fish’s brain to kill it quickly and humanely. The heart will still beat for several minutes once this is done.
Core the fish:
Larger fish can have the spinal cord accessed through the brain. Using a short length of stiff mono or wire, run it through the brain cavity and down inside the length of the fish spine. This stops the signals being sent into the fishes flesh that generates lactic acid, which causes the fish to go stiff
Bleed and gut the fish:
Cut out the fishes gills, slice down its stomach and remove intestines. Sometimes scrubbing brushes are used to remove the blood clots along spine and around head cavity where the gill plates were.
Shoal the fish on ice:
Shoaling, is where you store the fish as if it is in a swimming position. This allows any extra stomach enzymes to drain down and out of the fish, so as to not spoil the fishes flesh. Pack larger fish with ice to cool faster, cover the shoaled fish in ice, preferably salt ice as this last longer and prevents fresh water from mixing with the flesh.
Store the fish for 12-24 hours to allow the flesh to completely soften and relax. Its now ready to go to be cut into A grade sashimi.
Cutting fresh fish for sashimi is a lifetime pursuit.
Learning how to cut with and against the grain is one thing...but also learning how to cut fillets down, as different parts make for different sashimi.
It’s a fun pursuit to try and a few tips can help make the difference.
Sashimi cuts are always one continuous cut. Going back on a cut causes jagged edges, so always make smooth straight cuts.
Cut the fillets down into square blocks so that they are easier to cut down into sashimi sized pieces
Some sashimi is cut against the grain, some with it. Experiment to discover which works best.
Presentation is key: keep fish tidy and symmetrical and add vegetable garnishes to enhance the appearance of the plate.
Use a light soy sauce. If its too heavy it will overpower the taste of the flesh, likewise with wasabi.