Saturday, 24 February 2018

Create Your Own Eho Maki at Home this CNY Season!

At IPPIN Café Bar's booth at the Chinese New Year Fair at Takashimaya

   Chinese New Year is a significant festival and is celebrated by the Chinese all over the world. Some of the customs practised by the Chinese include reunion dinners on the eve of Chinese New Year, tossing of yu sheng, also known as prosperity salad (mainly by the Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia), giving of red packets (ang pow) as well as visiting relatives and friends throughout the entire 15 days of the festive season.  During this period, the Chinese will also indulge in celebratory delights such as poon choy and festive treats such as pineapple tarts, almond cookies and kueh bangkit.

The pretty packaging 

   During the recent Chinese New Year Fair held at Takashimaya (Basement 2), I got the opportunity to sample the Eho Maki at IPPIN Café Bar's booth and learn how the Japanese celebrate Chinese New Year. Traditionally, Eho Maki is eaten on Setsubun, the month of Chinese New Year to ring in abundance of prosperity and good fortune. 

   Eho Maki are "lucky direction rolls" and resemble sushi rolls, except that they are thicker. Eho Maki contains seven ingredients including salmon, egg, eel, salad and scallop mayonnaise. The seven fillings are rolled in, representing good health, success, happiness and prosperity and the rolling of the fillings represents wealth and good fortune. Seven is a special and lucky number for the Japanese as it refers to the seven deities namely the Deity of Commerce, God of Fortune and Prosperity, Guardian God of Buddhism, God of Longevity, Goddess of Music, God of Wealth and God of Good Luck. 

 Eho Maki Rolls

  When eating Eho Maki, it is important to observe these four rules:

1. Gaze towards the Eho (lucky) direction when eating the roll. The direction changes every year. In 2018, the direction is Southeast.
2. Eat in silence as it is believed that speaking eradicates all good luck.
3. Do not cut Eho Maki as cutting is akin to breaking your ties with the seven deities of good luck.
4. Make a wish for 2018 and finish the Eho Maki in one seating

   I like the taste of IPPIN Café Bar's Eho Maki as it has a firm texture which makes me want to devour the entire roll when I bite into it. Every mouthful is an explosion of delightful goodness and the different ingredients combine together beautifully to create a harmonious blend of flavours. 

   Although the fair has concluded on 13 February, you can still recreate the familiar flavours in your home with the sushi making set and your preferred choice of ingredients.

Sushi making set and sustainable seafood ingredients from Kesennuma Shishiori (Japan) are available at METRO Centrepoint Level 4 (176 Orchard Road, The Centrepoint, Singapore 238843).

Preparation Method:
  1. Cook the shiitake mushroom with dashi, mirin, soy sauce and sugar until tender.
  2. Cut your selected fish and tamagoyaki into strips.
  3. Place the nori sheet on your sushi rolling mat. Spread the sushi rice evenly over the nori, leaving about 1 cm gap on the far side.
  4. Place the ingredients in a line on top of the rice one by one. Grab the near end of the rolling mat to start rolling while keeping the roll tight.
  5. Roll over the filling in one go. Squeeze as tight as possible to secure the shape.
  6. Remember not to cut the roll to maintain good luck. If the roll is too large, cut the roll into six to eight pieces and serve with some soy sauce, wasabi and sushi ginger.

Tip: Use a bowl of vinegar water to dip your fingers to make the rice easier to roll and prevent the rice from sticking to your fingers.

Buri Daikon and Miso Mackerel

Smoked Oyster with Olive Oil and Marinated Yellowtail with Miso

Swordfish with Miso and Soy Sauce

  1. Spicy Canned Tuna, White Tuna and Seasoned Pacific Saury
Sushi Making Set

Dried Cut Wakame

   Have fun making Eho Maki! Wishing everyone a prosperous, bountiful and fulfilling Year of the Dog! 

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