Saturday, November 29, 2008


What is sushi?

Is sushi equal to raw fish? No. Raw fish is called sashimi in Japan and is not the same as sushi. Sushi indicates foods that use rice seasoned with sweet rice-wine vinegar. Of course, raw fish is the most popular ingredient in sushi, but the main element of sushi is Japanese sticky rice. There are many kinds of sushi, which don't include raw fish. Cooked fish, shellfish, and various other ingredients can be combined in sushi.

History of Sushi

The origin of sushi is not Japan. It is said that sushi was introduced into Japan in the 7th century from China. People began making sushi to preserve fish by fermentation when there were no refrigerators. Since salt and rice were needed in order to ferment fish, sushi became to be closely related to rice in Japan. Then, it developed into current sushi which combine fish and rice.
Sushi Nutrition
Sushi is low in fat and is a very nutritious food. A typical setting of 7 to 9 pieces contains about 300-450 calories. The fish in sushi provides protein and can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetables are a great source of vitamines. Seaweed is rich in iodine. And rice provides complex carbohydrates.

Kinds of Sushi
Nigiri-zushi(finger roll sushi) - hand-pressed mounds of rice with a dab of wasabi and a slice of raw fish/shellfish/other ingredients on top. Popular nigiri-zushi are maguro (tuna), toro (belly of tuna), hamachi (yellowtail), ebi (shrimp), tamago (omlet), anago (grilled sea-eel), uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe), ika (squid), tako (boiled octopus), hotategai (scallop), and so on.


Maki-zushi (sushi) - sushi rolls wrapped by seaweed (nori). This is also called norimaki. There are many kind of sushi roll: Tekkamaki - raw tuna roll, Kappamaki - cucumber, Futomaki (fat roll sushi) - 4-8 ingredients (Includes kampyo (seasoned gourd strips), oboro or denbu sweet powder, tamago sweet omelet, and shiitake mushrooms).


Inari-zushi(sushi) -aburaage - deep-fried tofu pouches- stuffed with sushi rice). This sushi is brown and oval-shaped. It has a sweet taste.


Chirashi-zushi(mixed sushi) - spread different ingredients (includes raw fish, shiitake mushroom, omlet, seaweed, and more) over seasoned rice on a dish.

Side Elements of Sushi:The important seasonings are soy sauce, and Wasabi (Japanese horseradish). Soy sauce is used as dipping sauce. Wasabi is put in Nigiri-zushi or is mixed with soy sauce for dipping. The most important side ingredient of sushi is ginger. Pickled ginger is called gari and is served with sushi. Gari is eaten between bites of sushi to refresh the mouth for each new taste. You can purchase pickled ginger at Asian markets or you can make it yourself.

How to eat sushi : learn simple steps for eating sushi the right way.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5
Here's How:
Clean your hands by using an oshibori (hot towel).
Put soy sauce for dipping in the small dish.
Mix a bit of wasabi (Japanese horse radish) with the soy sauce if you want. Since wasabi is already placed in each sushi piece, you don't need to do this.
When you eat nigiri-zushi (hand-pressed sushi), pick up one sushi piece between your thumb and middle finger, putting the index finger on top.
Dip the end of the neta (ingredients/fish slices side) into the soy sauce.(not the rice part)
Bring the sushi to your mouth and bite in half.
Before your next bite, again dip the neta side in the soy sauce.
When you eat maki-zushi(rolled sushi), place the whole piece in your mouth if you can. Maki-zushi falls apart easily when you bite.
Don't put too much soy sauce in the small dish. It's better to add as you need it.
Don't dip a whole sushi piece into the soy sauce. The rice part tends to fall apart.
Try to eat pieces of pickled ginger between different kinds of sushi. It helps to clean your mouth and enhance the flavors.

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