Quick Recipes and Easy

Expand Your Culinary Horizons: Give Sushi a Try!

Alright, let’s get this out of the way up front: sushi is raw fish. Westerners are generally brought up to believe that all meat should be cooked before you eat it. Sushi is one exception; steak tartar is another, though I could never bring myself to eat raw beef. Sushi, on the other hand, is quite tasty when properly prepared.

Although the Itamae, or sushi chef, really does no cooking, making sushi is considered an art form. Traditionally, a budding sushi chef would have to train for ten or more years before being considered an Itamae, but the rise in sushi demand has outstripped the supply of sushi chefs, therefore more chefs are being hired with less than ten years experience.

Sushi comes in four main varieties:

The first is called “Nigiri sushi”, nigiri means “grab”. For nigiri, the Itamae hand presses balls of rice topped with raw fish, and finishes with a bit of wasabi.

The second is called “Sashimi”, but it is technically not sushi because the “sushi” refers to the rice and sashimi is sliced raw fish without any rice.

The third is “Maki Sushi” which is sushi rolled with bamboo mats. They are traditionally rolled with seaweed as the outside layer, but if you order a California roll you will get it with rice on the outside layer.

The last is called “Temaki”, it is basically a hand rolled version of Maki, shaped kind of like an ice cream cone.

No matter what kind of sushi you order, they all have some variety of these common ingredients or garnishes:

The word “sushi” doesn’t refer to the raw fish, it really refers to the rice, called “sticky rice”. Sushi is small grained rice to which sugar and vinegar is added, giving it a distinct sweet/tart flavor.

Wasabi is a green paste made from Japanese horseradish and is very hot! Use it sparingly or you’ll be hitting the sake a bit too hard in an attempt to place out the fire.

To refresh your palette between bites, there is Gari, or thin slices of pickled ginger. This can also be used as a garnish.

The sheets of seaweed used to roll the rice are called Nori.

Soya sauce is sometimes served as a dipping sauce along with wasabi.

Sushi can be a simple as a single ingredient or as complex as the Itamae’s imagination allows. Cucumbers (Kappa) avocadoes, tuna (tekka or maguro) or salmon are all well loved ingrediants. Different kinds of sushi have been developed to please the Americian palette.
California rolls, which are made with avocado, crab and cucumber are well loved and a excellent choice for the sushi newbie. Philadelphia rolls, which are made with smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber are a tasty choice if you are not quite ready to go raw just yet.

So be courageous, give sushi a try! Start with the more Americanized California or Philadelphia rolls, or have your Itamae suggest a local favorite. Either way you can’t go incorrect, sushi is a tasty and healthy alternative to traditional Western meals. Delight in!

Article by Mr. Shannon Baker, over 20 years persuading computers to do his bidding. when he is not experiancing new and exciting food: fix-my-slow-computer.com fix-my-slow-computer.com

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