Sushi is magical. Fact. For the non-native Japanese, the term can be incredibly ambiguous and many people use it collectively when thinking about all raw fish and the types of foods we get at our favourite sushi bars. But actually, sushi is actually a very specific term. It can come in all shapes and sizes… it’s a different thing to Sashimi… Edamame beans aren’t sushi…
Confused? Fear not. We’ll put our valiant sushi superhero cape on and explain all in our Sushi Crash Course. There’s even a couple of recipes for you to try at home. It’s EASY…
What Is Sushi?
Sushi is the term used to describe a group of Japanese food that is made with cooked vinegared rice. This can be brown or white! The rice is either combined or topped with other ingredients such as raw fish, vegetables and even fruit.
OK So What Is Sashimi?
Sashimi is a delicacy of raw fish or meat sliced very, very thinly. It is usually served as a first course and with sparse garnishes to bring out the flavour.
What Are The Different Types Of Sushi?
Great! You’re with us still. So if you see raw fish or meat on it’s own, it’s sashimi. If rice is involved… sushi. But the plot thickens, as there are many types of sushi. Here are the main types you are probably used to seeing:
Nigirizushi (Nigiri): This means ‘hand pressed’ sushi and is usually a simple rectangle of rice topped with a thin layer of topping, the most common being raw salmon, tuna or prawn.
Makizushi (Maki): This means ‘rolled sushi’ where ingredients of rice, nori (seaweed) or egg and fish/ veg or meat are rolled together using a bamboo mat. There are more types of Maki depending on the way it is rolled. For example, a Temaki (hand roll) is a cone of nori stuffed with rice and other ingredients, whereas Futomaki (fat roll) is a rolled cylinder cut into slices.
Chirashizushi (Chirashi): This means ‘scattered sushi’ and is a bowl of vinegared rice scattered with raw fish/ meat or vegetable toppings.
Inarizushi: This is a pouch of fried tofu stuffed with rice. It is often overlooked but totally delicious.
Catch the recipe for Prawn Sushi and Egg Roll here.
How Did Sushi Come To Be?
In the beginning, sushi was fermented fish and a staple of Japanese diet for thousands of years before modern sushi arrived on the scene. Sushi literally means ‘it’s sour’ which derived from the taste of the salt it was preserved in. Now, in Japan, sushi is still kept very simple. Each piece will only feature one ingredient.
I’ve Heard of Californian Rolls. What’s with them?
There are certain sushi dishes that have been constructed by western countries. Californian rolls, popular in the US are a prime example of this as they contain many ingredients like crab, cucumber and avocado, which is not typical in Japanese sushi cuisine. This fusion roll was a major factor in promoting the popularity of sushi around the world. Chefs still now adapt the concept of sushi to suit local tastes and preferences.
Impress your mates and give everything a go at home with this awesome sushi platter.
Are Things Like Edamame Beans and Firecracker Rice Classed as Sushi?
Technically no. These do not count as sushi. However, as the scene grows, many accompaniments are fantastic compliments to sushi. What would a burger be without fries? Many people can’t do a ‘sushi’ meal without their favourite sides. So this is where the confusion comes in about the term sushi and what people are referring to when they’re eating a sushi meal.
Got any more questions? Next week we’ll be looking at sushi etiquette and the best ways to eat it! Send ‘em over and we’ll do our best to answer. Until then… here’s a joke to say goodbye: “What did A say to B?’
Ok, we’re officially leaving now.