Sushi is definitely the most well-known style of Japanese food. Despite its apparent simplicity, it has a long history, throughout which preparation and presentation have changed continually. In this article we are going to give you some pointers for navigating the exciting world of sushi.
Sushi is a dish with a history that goes back more than a thousand years. The word is made up of two parts: su, which means vinegar, and shi, which refers to rice. Originally, sushi was a way of preserving raw fish in salt and rice. After being left to ferment for several months, the rice was thrown away and the fish – now with a slightly acidic taste – was eaten.
Around the 18th century, sushi as we know it appeared on the scene. Now, instead of being used to ferment the fish, the rice vinegar is added to the cooked rice – this is hayazushi. Haya, meaning quick – and nare, to become. With this change, sushi became a “fast food” and began to gain popularity around the globe. Today, it is eaten with wasabi – a spicy green paste made from Japanese radish – and soy sauce or ponzu. Following are the styles of sushi most popular in Mexico.
Makizushi, which means rolled sushi, is the most common in our country. It is a large, thick roll that usually contains a variety of ingredients: fish, shellfish, vegetables, eggs, and tofu – rolled with rice inside nori seaweed, and cut into smaller slices before serving. There are now versions made with Mexican ingredients that are quite different from the originals.
Uramaki style sushi is the reverse – rice is placed on the outside of the roll and the nori seaweed on the inside. Ingredients are encased in the center and can include any combination of fish, shellfish, vegetables, and other ingredients, including Mexican ones.
A leaner version is hosomaki. This is a thinner roll, and commonly contains only one type of filling, such as cucumber, tuna, salmon, or avocado.
Temaki is the cone-shaped roll made from a sheet of nori seaweed filled with rice, fish, shellfish, vegetables, and other ingredients. It is eaten with the hands and is a popular choice for informal or on-the-go sushi.
Gunkan is a type of sushi with a rice base and a filling of soft fish or roe. The rice is wrapped with a band of nori seaweed to hold the filling in place. The most common filling is ikura, or salmon roe.
Chirashizushi, or “Scattered Sushi”, is made with rice, raw fish in thin slices or squares, and vegetables cut into decorative shapes, and served in a bowl.
For sushi nigiri, a ball of rice is pressed with the hands and covered with a sheet of raw fish or shellfish. Originally, it had wasabi on top of the rice and fish. This style was created by Chef Hanaya Yohei in the 18th century, and its portion is small since it must be consumed in one bite.
While we would have liked to add sashimi to this list, these neat cuts of raw fish belong in their own separate category. Eaten with soy and wasabi, they don’t qualify as sushi because they don’t contain rice. Now you won’t get lost on the road to find good sushi!