Sushi is synonymous with Japan. Nowadays sushi can be found all over the world, yet it tastes a lot better in Japan… a personal opinion. One common misconception is that sushi is raw fish. It isn’t. When pickling was introduced to South East Asia in the 7th century, the Japanese used a similar technique but packed fish within specially prepared rice. This was in effect the same as the fish being fermented inside the rice and therefore pickled, ergo cooked.
The Key to Sushi
The key to sushi is the rice. The rice is carefully selected with typical Japanese precision and generally should be short rice, which has a length: width ratio of 2.5:1. Once the rice has been thoroughly washed and cooked, then rice vinegar or sushi-su, sugar, oil and salt are added to the rice, which then ‘pickles’ the fish.
The variations are endless though there are a number that are quite traditional. As an aficionado of sushi, I seek it out whenever we are in Japan. While there are many very good sushi outlets around the world, it just tastes that much better when you are in Japan itself. If you want that raw fish dish and I must admit that I do prefer it, then go for sashimi. But then again I am prepared to eat both at the one sitting.
To eat sushi you should have wasabi, which is a green paste made from Japanese horseradish that has quite a kick to it. The wasabi should be mixed with shoyu or soy sauce to dip your sushi in. You will also get some pink ginger to cleanse your palate and cool you down if you just took a little too much wasabi.
Types of Sushi
Nigiri sushi is a traditional Japanese dish made with sushi rice and fresh fish. The sushi rice is hand formed into a small clump, and the fish is sliced and pressed on top of it. Some favourites are:
– Maguro, with tuna.
– Ikura, salmon roe on top
– Toro, the fatty part of tuna
– Anago, eel
– Ebi, a shrimp
Futomaki rolls. These are the thick rolls cut into slices and the variations are endless.
So when in Japan, eat sushi. It is nutritious and as a brain food, seriously, makes you even smarter.
Eating sushi in Japan, is just one of those things you have to do.