Sushi, that sumptuous combination of rice and raw fish, wrapped in fish skin is quickly approaching fast food status overseas, far, far away from the country that invented it. It's sparing partner, the wasabe, the green stuff that is atrocious to the nose is a delicacy that non-Japanese people are still getting used to-but it's only a matter of time.
Wasabe or Wasabi paste as many know it has more than just taste to offer the dinner. It might suprise you to learn that this hot and firery paste has almost magical powers with the ability to kill bacteria in fish ... even if the fish may not be as fresh as it might be.
If you enjoy good food and have reasonably deep pockets sushi is a great choice. It is costly for a couple of reasons one the quality of fish required goes beyond what you might buy for other dishes and also the attention to detail goes beyond what would be required for most meals. The skill being in the knife work of preparing the sushi.
You could of course prepare your own sushi ... You'll need a good amount of time as the process cannnot be rushed and a high level of confidence with sharp knives. Maybe it is this combination of labor and skill that means most dinners either choose to buy ready prepared sushi or dine out at one of the number of eating places serving such food.
Be aware that this is not all about the fish and is much more about the skill of the knife. Prepare sushi with out the required knife skills and it will look soggy and grainy- It will look as if the fish has been attacked rather than prepared with great skill.
There are no shortcuts on the rice either, It must be authentic Japanese sushi rice .. Uncle Bens simply won't cut it. Another point to remember don't confuse sushi with another japanese favorite sashimi . The main difference being the serving of rice. If you order sashimi and want rice make sure you order a bowl as it is not part of the dish.
Types of sushi are many, but with out exception all are served with rice. Most commonly know is the sushi roll or maki which is made using nori (seaweed) and served in slices of six parts. In addition there is nigiri or hand made sushi usually prepared in pairs. In addition to these more common types there is also pressed sushi (squares) or oshi, and bean curd sushi rolls or inarizushi.
There are more special sushi styles Saikuzushi or festival sushi is almost an art form than cooking. The sushi rice is dyed different colors then sectioned and then rolled. When sliced images are created (amazing stuff). Chirashizushi or scattered sushi consists of rice spread in a box or bowl with nine different types of fish scattered on top. On some occasions Chankinzushi is prepared this is a sushi rice omelet wrapper which is shaped and tied like a ladies draw string purse (similar to chinese dimsum). Some times a solitary shrimp or pea decorates the ruffled part of the wrapper.
Makezushi is sushi rice, mixed with vegetables and seafood that has been molded into bowls or square tins and covered with strips of omelet, shrimp and vegetables. Fukusazushi is a variation of this, where the square-molded rice mixture is wrapped in a thin sheet of omelet. This is turned over to conceal the seams and garnished with a nori ribbon and ginger.
Finally we have Temarizushi which are rice balls wrapped in thinly sliced marinated fish. Itadakimasu! (enjoy eating)
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