Food, Home & Lifestyle

Otsukuri: Traditional Tuna Sashimi

Niki Nakayama

Lesson time 17:12 min

Improve your knife skills as Niki demonstrates professional techniques for slicing fish and making beautiful vegetable garnishes.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Vegetable Garnishes · Slicing the Tuna Sashimi


[MUSIC PLAYING] NIKI NAKAYAMA: This next dish that we're presenting is the traditional sashimi dish that we call otsukuri. And tsukuri just generally means cutting. So in Japanese cooking, cutting is one of the most important techniques that you must learn and master so that we always do right by the ingredients. We're going to present to you a tuna sashimi in the traditional manner and show you a couple of different cuts. [MUSIC PLAYING] This dish is significant for us and for Japanese cuisine because it really is an important integral part of what Japanese cuisine is about. The sashimi cutting and how to present that in selecting the right kinds of fish to present as sashimi, those are all skill sets that a chef would have to be able to demonstrate in order to be taken seriously. [MUSIC PLAYING] Carole and I are going to start with preparing the vegetable garnishes that go with our sashimi, like today. And we have daikon that I'm going to turn to tsuma. Carole is going to thin slice these scallions. We have a cucumber that I will cut into garnish. Carole will pick up some of the flowers. And we'll grate some of the radish. - Wasabi. - Yes, the wasabi. Okay? So I'll go ahead and do our traditional tsuma cut. So this technique is called katsuramuki, and basically it is thin slicing a daikon to get really nice julienne sizes and thickness. And this is one of the first things that we must practice when we're learning Japanese cooking. It takes a little bit of time to master and to get over the fear of having to cut in this kind of manner, but once you get used to it and know how, it's actually quite easy. One of the most important things when learning this technique, there's a tendency to put too much strength in either hand and thereby actually making it a lot harder to turn and twist. So the point of this is to just move your knife like this, up and down, while turning the daikon. And you use this angle right here to measure the thickness that you're cutting of the daikon. And the funny thing is, because Japanese people are very into perfecting their skill sets and things of that manner, they have competitions about who can do daikon from the second floor all the way to the first floor without it breaking. So it's kind of funny. It's on TV shows. The outer layer of the daikon tends to be the toughest and the strongest part of daikon, so we're really looking for trying to get the tender part of daikon where there's a good amount of moisture and water. But there's a belief in Japanese cooking that the best part of any vegetable is right underneath the skin, so I think nowadays there are more people utilizing the skin areas of vegetables. Carole's going to thin slice the scallions. - So these are just regular scallions. We've just trimmed off the root and the green part. And for this application, we're just going to do it as thinly as possible because it is going to be added to the fatty toro pa...

About the Instructor

The chef and owner of two-Michelin-starred restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles, Niki Nakayama is celebrated for her modern interpretation of kaiseki, a traditional Japanese cuisine. With her partner and sous chef, Carole, Niki will teach you techniques for preparing sashimi, tempura, perfect rice, and more. Learn how to make dishes that honor fresh ingredients as Niki shows you how to cook with care and gratitude.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Niki Nakayama

Niki Nakayama of two-Michelin-starred n/naka teaches you how to honor fresh ingredients with her innovative take on Japanese home cooking techniques.

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