Beaver Creek hosts sushi chef Hidekazu Tojo |

Beaver Creek hosts sushi chef Hidekazu Tojo

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Kimberly Gavin

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Paula Friesen arrived at Foxnut in Beaver Creek looking to learn how to make sushi.

“I think it would be fun to do at dinner parties,” the Beaver Creek homeowner said while tucking a tropical avocado roll into a bamboo mat.

More than 40 people gathered at Foxnut Thursday afternoon to learn sushi-making techniques from famous chef Hidekazu Tojo as part of the Bon Appetit Culinary and Wine Focus. Aside from owning Tojo’s in Vancouver, one of the hottest sushi restaurants in the world, Tojo boasts another major sushi-making credential: He invented the California Roll in 1973.

Tojo demonstrated how to make five sushi rolls, including the two described below. He also outlined a few sushi-making tips:

– Use room temperature rice to make rolls. Remember to season the rice while hot.

– Make sure temaki nori (seaweed) is fresh by folding a piece in half. If it snaps, it’s fresh. It should not bend. To make seaweed crisper, grill each side quickly over an open flame.

– When making an inside out roll, which features rice lining the outside of the roll, don’t overdose on rice. Spread the rice in a thin layer over the nori, so you can still see spots of nori through the rice.

– Stock up on tropical fruits like pineapple and mango a week before serving them, to make sure they are tender.

– Before cutting a finished sushi roll, surround it with plastic wrap. Cut through the center of the roll first, then cut into roughly 3/4-inch thick slices. Remove plastic.

How to make sushi rice

Tojo offers the following tips for preparing sushi rice, as described by Tojo’s media relations spokesman, Nathan Fong. Buy short grain Japanese rice at the supermarket. Clean under cold water until clear. Soak for 40 minutes in a bowl filled with ice cold water. Cook in an electric rice cooker, following the directions on the rice package and rice cooker. Remember to add 10 percent more water than directions call for, to compensate for Vail’s high altitude.

Courtesy of Hidekazu Tojo of Tojo’s in Vancouver

For the spicy sauce:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Asian hot chili sauce (such as Sambal oelek, which is available at City Market)

For the hand roll:

3 tablespoons sushi rice

1/2 sheet temaki nori (seaweed ” available at Freshies in Edwards)

1/2 blanched asparagus, sliced lengthwise

1/2 avocado

1 tempura deep-fried tiger prawn (size 26/30 ” shrimp and tempura batter available at City Market)

Mix all ingredients for the spicy sauce and set aside. Roast the 1/2 sheet of temaki nori over a grill, for about 1 second each side. (Nori that just came out of a new package does not require this process. Roasting crisps and brings out the aroma).

Take the nori in your dry hand with the shiny side facing the hand. Dampen fingers on your free hand and spread rice on the center of the nori. The rice should only cover the center of the nori. Spread spicy sauce on the rice.

Place the asparagus, avocado and the prawn over the sauce. Take one bottom corner of the nori and enclose diagonally. Roll up into a cone-shaped hand roll, with an opening on the top and closure on the bottom. Place more spicy sauce on top.

1 serving.

** To make tempura battered shrimp: Place shrimp in pre-mixed tempura batter. Deep fry in vegetable oil at 350 degrees for two to three minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Courtesy of Hidekazu Tojo of Tojo’s in Vancouver

2 pieces nori (half sheets, about 8-by-4 inches)

Cooked and seasoned sushi rice, as needed

2 teaspoons spicy mayonnaise (1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise mixed with 1 teaspoon hot chili sauce)

4 ounces fresh Dungeness crabmeat (available at the seafood counter at City Market)

2 asparagus spears, blanched and chilled

2 pineapple spears, cut into 8-by-1/4-by-1/4-inch pieces

1 halved avocado, pitted and cut into 1/16-inch-thick slices

Place half sheet of nori shiny side down onto a bamboo sushi mat. With dampened fingers, spread a thin layer of sushi rice evenly over the nori, handling lightly. Turn the nori upside down with the rice facing downwards onto the bamboo mat. Spread a thin band of spicy mayonnaise across the length of the nori in the middle.

Place the crabmeat, one asparagus spear and one pineapple spear across the center of the nori over the mayonnaise. Roll the sushi by grasping the mat by its front edge and rolling away from you firmly to enclose the ingredients in the center. Roll again to close completely.

Carefully place the whole sliced avocado in a long strip lengthwise onto a single sheet of plastic wrap set on a bamboo sushi mat. Place finished sushi roll on top of avocado slices and roll up with the bamboo mat so that the avocado is on top of the sushi roll.

When finished roll is done, cover the roll loosely with plastic wrap and cut through the wrap and sushi roll with clean sharp knife into six to eight pieces. Remove plastic wrap. Repeat process for a second roll.

Makes two rolls (12 to 16 pieces).

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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