24 07 2012

Apparently one of the things you do when you have in-laws is have them around for dinner.

Truth be told my relationship with my lovely in-laws hasn’t really changed since they went from the parents-of-my-partner to parents-in-law. Although, in the same way that something subtle has shifted in the landscape between the Architect and I since the rings-swap, there’s been a slight change with the in-laws too.

It’s hard (and probably a bit pointless) to articulate what that is, but here’s a try. Our communities and societies have rituals, big and small, imbued with socially accepted meaning. It’s a cultural shorthand, really. Over many conversations with a clever friend on this topic, we agreed that sanity exists in balancing trying to change the system and trying to live within that system.

So deciding that I wanted to get married was partly deciding that I did want to access the socially accepted meaning and, I suppose, validate it. That last part being the bit I overthought and struggled with. The thing is, because of what they are, those rituals have a huge amount of power. To be married, to say “this is my husband”, puts our relationship in a certain framework that is built on a whole bunch of assumptions and social rules. That I am definitely not outside of or immune to. Nor is my husband, or his family. Or mine, I suppose. So I think it affects us whether or not we want it to or are conscious of it.

Anyway. Enough of that. Point is, that subtle shift is all for the good. It might all be in my head, but it feels somehow more clear and certain now, and I feel like the in-laws feel that too. So yay. It’s good.

Now where were we? Dinner. I have married a Greek-heritage-Australian boy. I have, over the past however many years, feasted on a range of delicious Greek and Australian morsels cooked by his mum (and sister, and aunties, and so on). In fact, I may be eating baklava right this instant. Time to return the favour and teach them to make sushi (without the 15 year apprenticeship).

Enter temakizushi.  What better for a post-wedding-celebration we’re-all-family-now dinner than Japanese homestyle party cooking? A classic summer party dish (so, perfect for the Brisvegas winter), it takes into account food intolerances and dislikes, is super easy to prepare, has maximum visual impact, and provides interactive eating – what’s not to love?

So what is it? A picture would be useful at this point, but unfortunately we ate it all so fast that I didn’t take one. So here’s a dodgy phone pic of a different temakizushi, at my cousin’s house in Osaka:

It’s make your own sushi. A big bowl of sushi rice, a platter or two of different fillings, and a pile of toasted nori (seaweed), and you’re away. Maki at Just Hungry has, as always, the best instructions to make awesome sushi rice (scroll down for the sushi rice). You toast nori by holding it over a heat source (like a gas cooker flame) for a few seconds on each side. And the fillings can be whatever you want.

We had: tuna mayonnaise, rolled egg (tamagoyaki), smoked salmon, cucumber, roasted sweet potato, capsicum, asparagus, green beans, carrot, snow pea sprouts, poached chicken, dill pickles, and fresh tuna and salmon. Yum. You could also have prawns, avocado, celery, roast beef, crab, other types of fish… and so on. All the fillings were sliced long and thin to make it easier to put in the roll. The asparagus, green beans and carrot were lightly steamed and cooled as well.

The method is simple: put a small amount of rice on the rough side of the nori (a small amount is the key – both to being able to roll it and to not filling up on rice!). Add your filling/s of choice, diagonally across the rice. Roll from one corner to make a cone. Dip in soy sauce. Eat. Repeat until bursting.

Note that the cone isn’t essential – you can roll it into a cigar shape, or treat it like a burrito – I just find the cone the easiest shape to eat!

Maki (of course) has more information on temakizushi here.

It was so good (and I overcatered so much) that we had it again the next night, with brother and my other in-law. As the Architect said, two parties from one party meal is a win.





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