Sashimi cravings are a frequent occurrence in our household and must be satisfied immediately, lest hours and then days subsequently be spent dreaming about the glorious taste of fresh, raw fish. While I love going out for sashimi, I have to say I’ve had some pretty disappointing raw fish experiences in Auckland and I almost always find salmon sashimi, at least, fresher-tasting when prepared at home. It makes me wonder how long the fish has been sitting around in some establishments.
I once had a revoltingly off-tasting piece of raw hapuka at Tanuki which the kitchen tried to brush off as ‘a strong tasting fish’ – um, maybe a little more flavoursome than some other white fish, but I’m that dumb, sorry. I generally don’t bother with anything other than salmon sashimi at home for that reason – the risk of fishy tasting fish is too high unless it has literally been caught that day. When we’re on the Barrier in summer, catching snapper, it often gets scoffed before it has the chance to even feel a lick of heat from flame or element. And the best sashimi I have ever, ever eaten was sitting in the warm spring sun on a launch on Lake Taupo – a freshly-caught rainbow trout that had, the captain reckoned, been feeding on freshwater crayfish; its flesh a stunning ruby colour and with the sweetness of the cray indeed evident on the tastebuds.
But at home I just stick with salmon. I’m not terribly fussy about where I buy it – a good fishmonger’s or a supermarket or sometimes St Pierre’s. It’s actually all pretty much the same, always King Salmon, and always fresh (Well, I’ve yet to experience otherwise, anyway). We have a Taiping Chinese supermarket near us (on Dominion Rd in Mt Roskill) and I have gotten past my initial aversion to the fishmonger there and have worked up to buying there recently if the fish, and the price, looks good. This time I bought ready-sliced salmon sashimi there, and we both reckoned it was delicious – meltingly tender. My sashimi donburi is not following an authentic Japanese method; rather, it’s based on Japanese donburi but can be altered depending on you own preferences. I like a bit of a chilli hit, hence the spicy sauce.
Wash sushi rice thoroughly and steam, without removing lid, until cooked (usually 15 minutes with another 10 minutes with heat off and lid on). Once cooled, stir through some sushi vinegar or sesame oil (either optional) for extra flavour.
Remove skin of salmon fillets and slice with a large, very sharp knife, into thin pieces.
In serving bowls, top cooked, warm (but not hot) sushi rice with sashimi and other components. Depending on what’s in your fridge and what you like, these could include: finely shredded green cabbage, shredded carrot, shredded daikon, thinly sliced cucumber, think slices of red capsicum, cooked shelled edamame, sliced spring onion.
Combine some gochujang (spicy Korean red pepper paste – a little goes a long way), soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, and drizzle quite generously over the donburi. Sprinkle over toasted sesame seeds and top with some pickled ginger, or spring onion curls.
Option two: If you don’t like spicy, omit the gochujang from the sauce and up the amount of soy, sesame or vinegar to suit your taste.