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Sushi is a typical Japanese food with over a thousand years of history and tradition. It has become perhaps the most visible example of Japanese cuisine in other countries. Consists of cold cooked rice dressed with vinegar that is shaped into bite-sized pieces and topped with raw or cooked fish, or formed into a roll with fish, egg, or vegetables and wrapped in seaweed or stuffed in a small tofu pouch. The common ingredient in all the different kinds of sushi is sushi rice. Variety arises in the choice of the fillings and toppings, in the choice of the other condiments, and in the manner it is put together. The same ingredients may be assembled in entirely different ways to different effect. The following are some of the more common ingredients. Sushi Rice Sushi is made with a white, short-grained, sweet rice mixed with a dressing made of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, konbu, and sake. It is cooled to body temperature before being used. Sushi rice (sushi-meshi) is made with Japonica rice, which has a consistency that differs from the strains commonly eaten outside of Japan. The essential quality is its stickiness. Rice that is too sticky has a mushy texture; if it is not sticky enough, it feels dry. Freshly harvested rice (shinmai) typically has too much water, and requires extra time to drain after washing. There are regional variations in sushi rice, and of course individual chefs have their individual methods. Most of the variations are in the rice vinegar dressing: the Tokyo version of the dressing commonly uses more salt; in Osaka, the dressing has more sugar. Sushi rice generally must be used shortly after it is made. Nori The vegetable wrappers used in maki and temaki are called nori. It is an edible seaweed traditionally cultivated in one of the harbors of Japan. Originally, the plant was scraped from dock pilings, rolled out into sheets, and dried in the sun in a process similar to making paper. Nori is toasted before being used in the food. Today, the commercial product is farmed, produced, toasted, packaged, and sold in standard-size sheets, about 18 cm by 21 cm in size. Higher quality nori is thick, smooth, shiny, and has no holes through it. Fish For both sanitary and aesthetic reasons, fish eaten raw must be fresher and higher quality than cooked fish. A professional sushi chef is trained to recognize good fish, which smells clean, has a vivid color, and is free from harmful parasites. Only ocean fish are used raw in sushi; freshwater fish, which are more likely to harbor parasites, are cooked. Commonly-used fish are: tuna (maguro/toro) yellowtail (hamachi) salmon (sake) smoked salmon (sake kunsei) red snapper (tai) mackerel (saba) The most prized sushi ingredient is known as toro, a fatty, marbled cut of tuna. Seafood Fish is not the only meat included in sushi. Other seafood is commonly used. Some of it is cooked, some is raw, some is salt water, some is fresh. The can be: squid (ika) octopus (tako) shrimp (ebi) sweet shrimp (amaebi) eel (unagi) salmon roe (ikura) smelt roe (masago) flying fish roe (tobiko) sea urchin (uni) Vegetables Pickled daikon radish, fermented soybeans (natto), avocado, cucumber, tofu, pickled plum. Other fillings Eggs in the form of a slightly sweet, layered omelet, called tamago. Raw quail eggs (uzura) are put on top of a maki roll of usually flying fish roe (tobiko). Condiments Shoyu (Soy sauce) Wasabi (Green paste with a sharp, horseradish-like flavor) Gari (Sweet, pickled ginger) Types of Sushi -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As many ingredients that are used, there is also just as many ways to prepare and assemble those ingredients. This page goes through the ways of preparing sushi. However when it comes to ordering these types, it is simply not as simple as saying what "type" of sushi you want, as each type has it's variations and possble ingredients. So if you want Nigiri, you will need to tell your sushi chef (Itamae-san) what you want it made of such as tuna, salmon, yellow tail, etc. Same thing applies to ordering other types of sushi as well. Note that in word combinations in which "sushi" is the second word "sushi" becomes "zushi". Example: Makizushi Makizushi (rolled sushi) The most comon rolled type of sushi is maki. Usually a cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a woven bamboo mat, called a makisu. Makizushi is the form of sushi with which many Westerners are most familiar. Makizushi is generally wrapped in nori, a sheet of dried seaweed that encloses the rice and fillings. There are other forms of rolled sushi that are all in the maki family as described below. Futomaki (large rolls) A large cylindrical piece, with the nori on the outside. Typical futomaki are two or three centimeters thick and four or five centimeters wide. They are often made with two or three fillings, chosen for their complementary taste and color. Hosomaki (thin rolls) A small cylindrical piece, with the nori on the outside. Typical hosomaki are about two centimeters thick and two centimeters wide. They are generally made with only one filling, simply because there is not enough room for more than one. Temaki (hand rolls) A large cone-shaped piece, with the nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about ten centimeters long, and is eaten with the fingers since it is too awkward to pick up with chopsticks. Uramaki (inside-out rolls) A medium-sized cylindrical piece, with two or more fillings. Uramaki differ from other maki because the rice is on the outside and the nori within. The filling is in the center surrounded by a liner of nori, then a layer of rice, and an outer coating of some other ingredient such as roe or toasted sesame seeds. Oshizushi (pressed sushi) A block-shaped piece formed using a wooden mold, called an oshibako. The chef lines the bottom of the oshibako with the topping, covers it with sushi rice, and presses the lid of the mold down to create a compact, rectilinear block. The block is removed from the mold and cut into bite-sized pieces. Nigirizushi (hand-formed sushi) Small pieces nominally similar to pressed sushi or rolled sushi, but made without using a makisu or oshibako. Assembling nigirizushi is surprisingly difficult to do well. The simplest form is a small block of sushi rice with a speck of wasabi and a thin slice of a topping draped over it, possibly tied up with a thin band of nori. Gunkanzushi (battleship roll) A small, oval-shaped piece, similar in size and appearance to hosomaki. A clump of rice is hand-wrapped in a strip of nori, but instead of a filling in the center, it has some ingredient such as fish eggs piled on top. Inarizushi (stuffed sushi) A small pouch or pocket filled with sushi rice and other ingredients. The pouch is fashioned from deep-fried tofu (abura age), a thin omelet (fukusazushi), or cabbage leaves (kanpyo). Chirashizushi (scattered sushi) A bowl of sushi rice with the other ingredients mixed in. Also referred to as barazushi. Edomae chirashizushi (Edo-style scattered sushi) Uncooked ingredients artfully arranged on top of the rice in the bowl. Gomokuzushi (Kansai-style sushi) Cooked or uncooked ingredients mixed in the body of the rice in the bowl. Sushi Cookbook -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Their are many common varieties of sushi served in most sushibars and restaurants. While some only serve the typical items, many have their own unique combinations well worth the try. Here are some of the more known items. Akaki Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Red Clam Calories per slice: 39 The Akagai (or "red Shell fish") contains plenty of hemoglobin and iron. The meat of the fish is red in color due to the large amount of hemoglobin that it retains. The Ark shell is the only shell fish with this characteristic. It is caught in inland ocean areas such as Tokyo bay, Ise bay and the Inland Sea. The Ark Shell lay their eggs in late spring and by early summer the meat contains very little fat, making this the least favorable catching season. The meat is at its best in summer months. The best part of the fish Is the "himo", which consists of the legs, the overcoat and the ligament. The Akagai is one of the favorites of sushi connoisseurs that frequent the counter sushi bars. Ama Ebi Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Raw Sweet Shrimp Calories per slice: 36 The same Northern shrimp is derived from the red shrimp that are found in the extremely cold and deep waters of the northern Sea at Japan. They are known as "Ama Ebi", which means "sweet shrimp". Unlike the "Kuruma Ebi" which are boiled before being served as sushi tane, Ama Ebi are served completely raw. Hence their sweet succulent flavor. Amaebi which carry babies are the most delicious. Ama Ebi are low in calories and only have about half the cholesterol of "Kuruma Ebi". Anago Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Sea Eel Calories per slice: 36 The variety Anago which is used as sushi tane is called "Ma-anago". Anago was one of the first fish to be used as sushi tane. It is unusual in that Anago cannot be eaten raw and is thus cooked before it is used as sushi tane, unlike most tane which are used in the raw form. Anago tastes best when served lightly warm and loses it's flavor when it becomes colder than room temperature. The peak season for Anago is summer. Anago is high In vitamin A, which is known as an antioxidant in helping fight free radicals. Ebi (Kuruma Ebi) Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Shrimp Calories per slice: 45 Shrimp is one of the most popular sushi tane. In Japan, it is said that inclusion of shrimp in the diet is a sign of a civilized nation. The Japanese consume more shrimp than any other country and although they are cultivated in very large numbers, there are still not enough shrimp, so they must also rely on imported product. Although there is a fair amount of cholesterol in shrimp, the taurine that is also found in shrimp counterbalances the effect of the cholesterol. Shrimp is also high in calcium and protein. Hamachi Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Yellow Tail Calories per slice: 59 Similar to the Sea Bass, the Yellowfin has several different names, depending upon the site. The smallest variety is called "wakanago", then, "hamachi","inada", "warasa" and "buri" being the largest variety. Hamochi is about 8 to 10 Inches in length, while Buri are more than 40 inches long. Although Hamachi is served as a "white meat" sushi tane, the actual fish meat is red in color. Hamochi is high in vitamins and minerals. Hirame Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Halibut Calories per slice: 39 Hirame is the most popular white-meat sushi "tane". It's most delicious during its peak season of winter through the spring months. A good sushi tane of Hirame should be sliced so thin that it is almost transparent. Not only is Hirame low in calories and cholesterol, but it is also very easy to digest. It contains collagen which is responsible for healthy, young looking skin. Hokki Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Northern Shell Calories per slice: 45 Hotate Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Raw Scallop Calories per slice: 45 Ika Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Squid Calories per slice: 45 Ikura Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Salmon Roe Calories per slice: 53 Ikura consists of salmon eggs which are preserved in salt. Salmon ovaries preserved in salt as a whole unit are called "sujiko', while salmon eggs preserved in salt as single eggs are called "Ikura". Although its sodium content is high, Ikuro is an excellent source of protein and iron. Inari Type: Inari Main ingredient: Sweet Deep Fried Tofu Calories per slice: 45 Kaibashira Type: Gunkan Main ingredient: Scallop Calories per slice: 45 Kaki Type: Gunkan Main ingredient: Oyster Calories per slice: 45 Maguro Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Akami/Tuna Calories per slice: 45 Tuna are very active, high energy fish that swim at speeds of more than 60 km/hour. Although maguro is probably the most common sushi tane, historically speaking it was not even considered to be high quality sushi tane until the beginning of this century. The majority of the maguro served in sushi restaurants is imported from around the world. The bright red maguro is taken from the fish's back. It is very low in fat and high in iron. Hon Maguro Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Akami/Tuna Calories per slice: 45 Hon Maguro tuna is a top grade tuna - over 200lbs in size. This meat of this tuna is a very dark red, almost as dark as a red wine. Tuna are very active, high energy fish that swim at speeds of more than 60 km/hour. Although maguro is probably the most common sushi tane, historically speaking it was not even considered to be high quality sushi tane until the beginning of this century. The majority of the maguro served in sushi restaurants is imported from around the world. The bright red maguro is taken from the fish's back. It is very low in fat and high in iron. Maguro Toro Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Toro Oily Tuna Calories per slice: 70 Toro is taken from the inner portion of the Tuna's belly. It contains the most fat of any part of the fish. Although it is a very pricey cut of tuna, its richness in flavor makes it a very popular choice. Until the mid 1950's, toro was not served as a sushi tane, in fact, it was usually discarded during the filleting process. Toro has the most nutritional value of all sushi tane but is also the highest in calories. It also contains more DHA and EPA than any other fish. Masago Type: Gunkan Main ingredient: Smelt Roe Calories per slice: 45 Mirugai Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Jumbo Clam Calories per slice: 38 The shell of the Giant Clam does not shut completely because of the spout portion which projects outward from the shell. This spout is the portion that is served as the sushi tane. The Mirugai is a very large clam with a hull extending to an average length of 6 inches. The spout of a fresh Mirugai has a distinctive sweet flavor and crunchy texture. Mlrugai contains large quantities of phosphorus and potassium. Saba Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Mackerel Calories per slice: 59 Two varieties of Saba, the "Honsaba" and the "Gomasaba" are caught in the Sea of Japan. Fall is the best time to eat Saba because the meat acquires more fat. Saba is probably most well-known for "Saba-zushi" which is filleted slices of Saba marinated in vinegar and sugar and rolled with sushi rice. Saba-zushi is served at family gatherings during the Fall Harvest festivals, particularly in the Kansai area. Saba contains vitamin B2 ans DHA. Sake Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Salmon Calories per slice: 45 Tai Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Red Snapper Calories per slice: 45 Tai is considered to be the best-tasting, most attractive, and most nutritious of all the white-meat fish. Because of its popularity, Tai is also commonly cultivated in man-made ponds and water beds. However, the Tai that is caught in the ocean during the winter months, which precede the mating season, tend to have a better taste. The combination of amino acids contained in Tai contribute to its refined flavor. Tako Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Octopus Calories per slice: 37 Octopus that is served as sushi tane is boiled just slightly before it is filleted. The majority of the octopus served in Japan comes from the Sea of Japan, however, some Octopus is imported from the inland ocean areas of Africa. Octopus prepared by a master sushi chef will be tender and slightly sweet to taste, and the preparation of Octopus for sushi tane requires a fair amount of skill. Although octopus meat was once thought to contain high levels of cholesterol, it is now known that the taurine found in octopus counterbalances the cholesterol. Tamago Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: (Tamago Tamagoyaki) Egg Custard Calories per slice: 60 In almost every plate of sushi one can find a colorful tamagoyaki. Several eggs are mixed and flavored with a light fish base and then lightly fried layer upon layer in a special square frying pan. A deliciously prepared tamagoyaki is a real sign of a master sushi chef. Tobiko Type: Gunkan Main ingredient: Flying Fish Roe Calories per slice: 55 Torigai Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Cockle Calories per slice: 45 Torigai has the most protein of any shellfish. Its bright red colored meat makes for a colorful and beautiful sushi tane. The name, "tori-gai" literally means "bird-shell fish" and is derived from the appearance of the end portion of the fish; a black triangular shape that resembles a bird's beak. The taste of the meat is also thought to resemble that of chicken. Tori-gai is often used in chirashi-zushi, which is sushi served on a plate with the various tane arranged randomly on top of the sushi rice. The protein contained in the meat of the Torigai is synthesized in the body as essential amino acids. Unagi Type: Nigiri Main ingredient: Fresh Water Eel Calories per slice: 45 Lightly grilled with a sweet sauce - Fresh water eel has a high content of vitamin "E" - A summer favorite in Japan. When its hot and humid outside the Japanese like to eat Unagi for a boost of energy. The 3rd Sunday in August is "Unagi Nohi" - The day of Unagi all over Japan. Uni Type: Gunkan Main ingredient: Sea Urchin Calories per slice: 43 Sea Urchin has a very unique, melt in the mouth texture. It is very high in Vitamin A and serves as an excellent energy booster. It is also high in Vitamin E.
|Last Tour Update: Apr 24, 2013|