From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In Japanese cuisine, sushi
(寿司, 鮨, 鮓 ) is
topped with other ingredients, including fish dishes.
In Japan, sliced raw fish alone is called
is distinct from sushi, as sashimi is the raw fish component, not the rice
component. The word sushi itself comes from an archaic grammatical form of a
word that is no longer used in other contexts; literally, "sushi" means "it's
There are various types of sushi: sushi served rolled inside
nori (dried and
pressed layer sheets of seaweed or algae) called makizushi (巻き) or
rolls; sushi made with toppings laid with hand-formed clumps of rice called
nigirizushi (にぎり); toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried
inarizushi; and toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice called
Types of sushi
- Nigirizushi (握り寿司, lit. hand-formed sushi). This consists of an oblong
mound of sushi rice that is pressed between the palms of the hands,
sometimes with a speck of wasabi, and a slice of fish called neta draped
over it. Certain fish are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori,
most commonly tako (octopus), unagi (freshwater eel), anago (sea eel), ika
(squid), and tamago (sweet egg). Nigiri is generally served in pairs.
- Gunkan-maki (軍艦巻, lit. warship roll). A special type of nigiri-zushi:
an oval, hand-formed clump of sushi rice that has a strip of "nori" wrapped
around its perimeter to form a vessel that is filled with some soft, loose or
fine-chopped ingredient that requires the confinement of nori such as
natto, oysters, sea urchin, corn with mayonnaise, and quail eggs.Gunkan-maki
was invented at the Ginza Kyubey (Kubei) restaurant in 1931; its invention
significantly expanded the repertoire of soft toppings used in sushi.
- Makizushi (巻き寿司, lit. rolled sushi). A cylindrical piece, formed with the
help of a bamboo mat, called a makisu (巻き簾). Makizushi is generally wrapped
in nori, but can occasionally be found wrapped in a thin
soy paper, cucumber, or parsley. Makizushi is usually cut into six or
eight pieces, which constitutes a single roll order. Below are some common types
of makizushi, but many other kinds exist.
- Futomaki (太巻き, lit. large or fat rolls). A large cylindrical piece, with
nori on the outside. A typical futomaki is three or four centimeters
(1.5 in) in diameter. They are often made with two or three fillings that are
chosen for their complementary tastes and colors. During the
festival, it is traditional in Kansai to eat
uncut futomaki in its cylindrical form. Futomaki is generally vegetarian, but
may include toppings such as tiny fish eggs.
- Hosomaki (細巻き, lit. thin rolls). A small cylindrical piece, with the nori
on the outside. A typical hosomaki has a diameter of about two
centimeters (0.75 in). They generally contain only one filling, often tuna,
cucumber, kanpyō, thinly sliced carrots, or, more recently,
- Kappamaki, (河童巻き) a kind of Hosomaki filled with cucumber, is
named after the Japanese legendary water imp fond of cucumbers called the
kappa. Traditionally, Kappamaki
is consumed to clear the palate between eating raw fish and other kinds of food,
so that the flavors of the fish are distinct from the tastes of other foods.
- Tekkamaki (鉄火巻き) is a kind of Hosomaki filled with raw tuna.
Although some believe that the name "Tekka", meaning 'red hot iron', alludes to
the color of the tuna flesh, it actually originated as a quick snack to eat in
gambling dens called "Tekkaba (鉄火場)", much like the
- Negitoromaki (ねぎとろ巻) is a kind of Hosomaki filled with
and chopped tuna. Fatty tuna is often used in this style.
- Tsunamayomaki (ツナマヨ巻) is a kind of Hosomaki filled with canned
tuna tossed with mayonnaise.
- Temaki (手巻き, lit. hand rolls). A large cone-shaped piece of nori on the
outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki
is about ten centimeters (4 in) long, and is eaten with fingers because it is
too awkward to pick it up with chopsticks. For optimal taste and texture, Temaki
must be eaten quickly after being made because the nori cone soon absorbs
moisture from the filling and loses its crispness and becomes somewhat difficult
- Uramaki (裏巻き, lit. inside-out rolls). A medium-sized cylindrical piece,
with two or more fillings. Uramaki differs from other maki because
the rice is on the outside and the nori inside. The filling is in the center
surrounded by nori, then a layer of rice, and an outer coating of some other
ingredients such as roe or toasted
It can be made with different fillings such as tuna, crab meat, avocado,
mayonnaise, cucumber, carrots.
The types of sushi rolls typically found in the west are rarely found in Japan
and are typically thought of as an invention to suit the American palate.
The increasing popularity of sushi in North America, as well as around
the world, was fueled by the invention of the
California roll and has resulted in numerous regional off-shoots being
created. The following is a list of typical ingredients in popular rolls.
- The California roll consists of
kani kama (imitation crab stick), and
often made uramaki (with rice on the outside, nori on the inside)
- The caterpillar roll generally includes avocado,
unagi, kani kama,
- The dynamite roll includes
(hamachi), and fillings such as bean sprouts, carrots, chili and spicy mayo.
- The rainbow roll is typically a California roll topped with several
- The spider roll includes fried
soft shell crab and other fillings such as cucumber, avocado, daikon sprouts
or lettuce, roe, and spicy mayonnaise.
- A Philadelphia roll almost always consists of smoked salmon, cream
cheese, cucumber, and/or onion.
- A BC roll has grilled salmon skin with sweet sauce and cucumber. It is
named after British Columbia for its famous wild
- A crunchy roll is typically a California roll with shrimp
wrapped inside with the other ingredients, with the outside of the roll coated
with fried tempura batter crumbs. It is often topped with sweet eel sauce or
- Other rolls may include scallops,
rolls can also be made with Brown rice and
These have also appeared in Japanese cuisine.
Sushi is made with white, short-grained,
Japanese rice mixed with a dressing made of
and sake. It
is usually cooled to room temperature before being used for a filling in a
sushi. In some fusion cuisine restaurants, short grain
and wild rice
are also used.
Sushi rice (sushi-meshi) is prepared with short-grain Japanese rice, which has a
consistency that differs from long-grain strains such as those from
essential quality is its stickiness. Rice that is too sticky has a mushy
texture; if not sticky enough, it feels dry. Freshly harvested rice (shinmai)
typically has too much water, and requires extra time to drain the rice cooker
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.
The seaweed wrappers used in maki and temaki are called
nori. Nori is an
traditionally cultivated into the harbors of Japan. Originally, algae was
scraped from dock pilings, rolled out into thin, edible sheets, and dried in the
sun, in a process similar to making rice paper. Whereas in Japan Nori may never
be toasted before being used in food, many brands found in the U.S. reach drying
temperatures above 108 degrees Fahrenheit.
Today, the commercial product is farmed, produced, toasted, packaged, and sold
in standard-size sheets in about 18 cm by 21 cm (7 in by 8 in). Higher quality
nori is thick, smooth, shiny, green, and
has no holes. When stored for several months, nori sheets can change color to
Nori by itself is an edible snack and is available with
salt or flavored
sauce. The flavored variety, however, tends to be of lesser quality and is not
suitable for sushi.
Toppings and fillings
For culinary, sanitary, and aesthetic reasons, fish eaten raw must be fresher
and of higher quality than fish which is cooked.
Professional sushi chefs are trained to recognize good fish. Important
attributes include smells, colour, firmness, and being free of obvious parasites
that normal commercial inspection do not detect (many go undetected).
Commonly-used fish are
tuna (maguro, chūtoro, shiro-maguro, toro),
Japanese amberjack, yellowtail (hamachi),
mackerel (saba), salmon (sake), and
eel (anago and
unagi). The most
valued sushi ingredient is toro, the fatty cut of tuna. This comes in a
variety of ōtoro (often from the bluefin
species of tuna) and chūtoro, meaning middle toro, implying that it is halfway
into the fattiness between toro and regular red tuna (maguro).
Aburi style refers to nigiri sushi where the fish is partially grilled
(topside) and partially raw. Most nigiri sushi will be completely raw.
A common misconception of yellowtail is that it is a member of the tuna family.
Yellowfin tuna is a type of tuna; yellowtail (hamachi) is actually a member of
the jack family.
Other seafoods such as squid (ika),
(ebi and amaebi), clam
(mirugai, aoyagi and akagi), fish roe (ikura, masago,
kazunoko and tobiko), sea urchin (uni),
crab (kani), and
various kinds of shellfish (abalone, prawn, scallop) are the most popular
seafoods in sushi.
Oysters, however, are not typically put in sushi because the taste is not
thought to go well with the rice. However, some sushi restaurants in New Orleans
are known to serve Fried Oyster Rolls and Crawfish rolls. Kani kama, or
imitation crab stick, is a common ingredient used by many sushi
in place of real snow crab. Kani kama is almost always the main ingredient of
California rolls, and is a common filler in crab mix.
radish (takuan) in shinko maki, pickled vegetables (tsukemono),
fermented soybeans (nattō)
in nattō maki,
cucumber in kappa maki,
yam, pickled ume (umeboshi),
(gobo), and sweet corn may be mixed with mayonnaise.
The common name for soy sauce. In sushi restaurants, it may also be
referred to as murasaki (lit. "purple").
A piquant paste made from the grated root of the wasabi plant. Real wasabi
(hon-wasabi) is Wasabi japonica. Hon-wasabi has
anti-microbial properties and may reduce the risk of food poisoning.
The traditional grating tool for wasabi is a sharkskin grater or samegawa
An imitation wasabi (seiyo-wasabi), made from
horseradish and mustard powder and dyed green is common. It is found at
lower-end kaiten zushi restaurants, in bento box sushi
and at most restaurants outside of Japan. If it is manufactured in Japan, it may
be labelled "Japanese Horseradish".
In sushi restaurants, wasabi may be referred to as namida ("tears").
ginger. Eaten to both cleanse the palate as well as to aid in the digestive