Sushi Definitions


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Japanese cuisine, sushi (寿司, 鮨, 鮓 ) is vinegared rice, usually topped with other ingredients, including fish dishes. In Japan, sliced raw fish alone is called sashimi and 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 sour".

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 tofu called inarizushi; and toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice called chirashi-zushi (ちらし).

 

Types of sushi


Nigirizushi

  • 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 roe, 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.

Maki-zushi (roll)

  • 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 omelette, 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 Setsubun 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, avocado.
      • 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 sandwich.[3][4]
      • Negitoromaki (ねぎとろ巻) is a kind of Hosomaki filled with scallion 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 to bite.
  • 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 sesame seeds. It can be made with different fillings such as tuna, crab meat, avocado, mayonnaise, cucumber, carrots.

Western Sushi

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 avocado, kani kama (imitation crab stick), and cucumber, often made uramaki (with rice on the outside, nori on the inside)
  • The caterpillar roll generally includes avocado, unagi, kani kama, and cucumber.
  • The dynamite roll includes yellowtail (hamachi), and fillings such as bean sprouts, carrots, chili and spicy mayo.
  • The rainbow roll is typically a California roll topped with several various sashimi.
  • 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 Pacific salmon.
  • A crunchy roll is typically a California roll with shrimp tempura 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 chili sauce.
  • Other rolls may include scallops, spicy tuna, beef or chicken or teriyaki roll, okra, vegetables, and cheese. Sushi rolls can also be made with Brown rice and black rice. These have also appeared in Japanese cuisine.

 

Ingredients


Sushi rice

Sushi is made with white, short-grained, Japanese rice mixed with a dressing made of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and occasionally kombu 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 brown rice 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 India. The 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 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.

Nori

The seaweed wrappers used in maki and temaki are called nori. Nori is an alga, 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 dark green-brownish.

Nori by itself is an edible snack and is available with salt or flavored with teriyaki sauce. The flavored variety, however, tends to be of lesser quality and is not suitable for sushi.

Toppings and fillings

  • Fish

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), snapper (kurodai), conger (hamo), 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.
  • Seafood

Other seafoods such as squid (ika), octopus (tako), shrimp (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 bars 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.
  • Vegetables

Pickled daikon radish (takuan) in shinko maki, pickled vegetables (tsukemono), fermented soybeans (nattō) in nattō maki, avocado, cucumber in kappa maki, asparagus, yam, pickled ume (umeboshi), gourd (kanpyō), burdock (gobo), and sweet corn may be mixed with mayonnaise.

Condiments

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 oroshi.
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").
Sweet, pickled ginger. Eaten to both cleanse the palate as well as to aid in the digestive process.