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Sushi Knowledge

Sushi Knowledge

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Published by: Angel on Jun 18, 2009
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Sushi
In Japanese cuisine,
sushi
(
寿司
,
,
?
) is vinegared rice, usually topped with other ingredients,including fish, various meats, and vegetables. Outside of Japan, sushi is sometimesmisunderstood to mean the raw fish itself, or even any fresh raw-seafood dishes. In Japan, slicedraw 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itself comes from an outdated grammatical form of aword that is no longer used in other contexts; literally, sushi means "it's sour."There are various types of sushi: sushi served rolled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 alga) called
makizushi
(
) or rolls; sushi made with toppings laid with hand-formed clumps of rice called
nigirizushi
; toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried tofu called
inarizushi
; and toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice called
chirashi-zushi
.
 History
The main idea in the preparation of sushi is the preservation and fermentation of fish with salt andrice, a process that has been traced back to China and Southeast Asia where fish and ricefermentation dishes still exist today. The science behind the fermentation of fish in rice is that thevinegar produced from the fermenting rice breaks the fish down into amino acids. This results inone of the five basic tastes, called
umami
in Japanese. The oldest form of sushi in Japan,
 Narezushi
still very closely resembles this process. In Japan, Narezushi evolved into Oshizushiand ultimately Edomae nigirizushi, which is what the world today knows as "sushi".Modern Japanese sushi has little resemblance to the traditional lacto-fermented rice dish.Originally, when the fermented fish was taken out of the rice, only the fish was consumed and thefermented rice was discarded. The strong-tasting and -smelling
 funazushi
, a kind of 
narezushi
made near Lake Biwa in Japan, resembles the traditional fermented dish.Beginning in the Muromachi period (1336–1573) of Japan, vinegar was added to the mixture for  better taste and for preservation. The vinegar accentuated the rice's sourness, and was known toincrease its life span, allowing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventuallyabandoned. In the following centuries, sushi in Osaka evolved into
oshi-zushi
, the seafood and therice were pressed using wooden (usually bamboo) molds. By the mid 18th century, this form of sushi had reached Edo (contemporary Tokyo).
Sushi by Hiroshige in Edo period
 
The contemporary version, internationally known as "sushi," was invented by Hanaya Yohei (
屋与兵衛
; 1799–1858) at the end of Edo period in Edo. The sushi invented by Hanaya was anearly form of fast food that was not fermented (it was therefore prepared quickly) and could beeaten with one's hands roadside or in a theatre. Originally, this sushi was known as
 Edomae zushi
, because it used freshly caught fish in the
 Edo-mae
(Edo Bay or Tokyo Bay). Though the fish usedin modern sushi no longer usually comes from Tokyo Bay, it is still formally known as
 Edomaenigirizushi
.
Types of sushi 
The common ingredient across all the different kinds of sushi is
 sushi rice
(known as
 shari
inJapanese). The variety in sushi arises from the different fillings and toppings, condiments, and theway these ingredients are put together. The same ingredients may be assembled in a traditional or a contemporary way, creating a very different final result.
Nigiri-zushi
Nigiri-zushi
(
握り寿司
, lit. hand-formed sushi). This is the most typical form of 
 sushi
inrestaurants. It consists of an oblong mound of 
 sushi rice
that is pressed between the palmsof the hands, with a speck of 
wasabi
and a slice of topping called
neta
draped over it.This is possibly bound with a thin band of nori, and is often served in pairs.
Gunkan-maki
(
, 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 forma vessel that is filled in with topping(s). The topping is typically some soft, loose or fine-chopped ingredient that requires the confinement of 
nori
such as roe,
natto
, oysters, andquail 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)
Rolling maki
 
Maki rolls
Makizushi
(
巻き寿司
, lit. rolled sushi). A cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat, called a
makisu
(
巻き
).
Makizushi
is generally wrapped in nori, but canoccasionally be found wrapped in a thin omelette, sesame seeds, 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.
o
Futomaki
(
太巻
, lit. large or fat rolls). A large cylindrical piece, with nori onthe 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 theicomplementary tastes and colors. During the Setsubun festival, it is traditional inKansai to eat uncut futomaki in its cylindrical form. Futomaki is generallyvegetarian, but may include toppings such as tiny fish eggs.
o
Hosomaki
(
細巻き
, lit. thin rolls). A small cylindrical piece, with the nori on theoutside. A typical
hosomaki
has a diameter of about two centimeters (0.75 in).They generally contain only one filling, often tuna, cucumber, kanpyō, thinlysliced carrots, or, more recently, avocado.
Kappamaki
, (
河童巻き
) a kind of 
 Hosomaki
filled with cucumber, isnamed after the Japanese legendary water imp fond of cucumbers calledthe kappa. Traditionally,
 Kappamaki
is consumed to clear the palate between eating raw fish and other kinds of food, so that the flavors of thefish 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
)", much like thesandwich.
Negitoromaki
(
) is a kind of 
 Hosomaki
filled with scallion andchopped tuna. Fatty tuna is often used in this style.
Tsunamayomaki
(
) is a kind of 
 Hosomaki
filled with canned tunatossed with mayonnaise.
o
Uramaki
(
, lit. inside-out rolls). A medium-sized cylindrical piece, withtwo or more fillings.
Uramaki
differs from other 
maki
because the rice is on theoutside and the nori inside. The filling is in the center surrounded by nori, then alayer 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, crabmeat, avocado, mayonnaise, cucumber, carrots. This is typically thought of as aninvention to suit the American palate , and is not commonly seen in Japan. Theincreasing popularity of 
 sushi
in North America, as well as around the world, hasresulted in numerous kinds of 
uramaki
and regional off-shoots being created,such as the California roll, the B.C. roll (grilled salmon skin), and thePhiladelphia roll (cream cheese).
The
caterpillar roll 
includes avocado, unagi, and carrot greens.
The
dynamite roll 
includes yellowtail (hamachi), and fillings such as bean sprouts, carrots, chili and spicy mayo.
The
rainbow roll 
features sashimi, layered outside with rice.
The
 spider roll 
includes fried soft shell crab and other fillings such ascucumber, avocado, daikon sprouts or lettuce, roe, and spicy mayonnaise.

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