Sushi is the most famous Japan’s food beloved by the people in the world. However, it has a great variety of sushi that foreigners are not know.
Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish of prepared vinegared rice, usually with some sugar and salt, accompanying a variety of ingredients, such as seafood, often raw, and vegetables. Styles of sushi and its presentation vary widely, but the one key ingredient is “sushi rice”, also referred to as shari, or sumesh.
Makizushi, also known as “norimaki,” refers to a type of sushi where rice and ingredients are carefully rolled in a sheet of nori seaweed, which is then cut into smaller pieces. It’s believed that makizushi came into existence in the early 1700s, soon after sheet nori was invented with a similar technique used for paper making. The name norimaki is made up of two Japanese words: “Maki” meaning to roll and “nori” referring to the toasted sheet of nori seaweed used to wrap the ingredients.
Long, thin rolls typically featuring just one ingredient like a strip of fresh tuna, cucumber, or pickled daikon are called hosomaki. Futomaki (futo meaning fat) is a thicker variety of makizushi, and includes a combination of complimentary ingredients. Futomaki, unlike in foreign countries, is less likely to appear at sushi restaurants, but can usually be found in bento boxes and supermarkets. Uramaki, often called “inside-out sushi” in English, is a modern version of makizushi believed to have been invented in California in the 1960s. It’s made by first layering the rice onto the bamboo sushi mat, then laying the nori sheet on top followed by the remaining ingredients, before rolling. It’s often rolled in sesame seeds, which easily stick to the exterior rice or topped with tobiko fish eggs for extra crunch.
Nigiri is the original form of sushi that we know today. Also called edo-mae (meaning “in front of Edo”), the name refers to its birthplace of Tokyo (formerly Edo). It’s made up of a hand-pressed rice cylinder (shari) topped with any number of ingredients (neta). It’s believed to have been invented as a type of “fast food” by an enterprising sushi chef working in the Edo area during the 1800s who decided to sell his freshly created sushi to nearby workers for a quick snack. The topping can be seafood, vegetables, meat, omelet, or tofu, and in addition to fresh seafood, the fish may be pickled in soy sauce or vinegar, or broiled with a blowtorch. A simple coating of marinade and garnishes such as spring onions, shaved onion, or chives may also be added.
Temari is a less known variety of sushi overseas, and is also not as common to find in Japan, although it’s a popular style of sushi to make at home given its simplicity in form. It’s made with a small round ball of pressed rice topped with a thin layer of fish or other ingredients, which is fitting since the name comes from the traditional Japanese embroidered ball, temari, meaning “hand ball.” Often colorful and decorative, it’s a popular food for parties and picnics, and is often made for the traditional girl’s day celebration known as Hinamatsuri. If making temari for a picnic, it’s best to used cured or cooked seafood rather than raw sashimi.
Chirashizushi translates to “scattered sushi” and consists of a sushi bowl with a base of vinegared rice, and raw fish and other ingredients on top. The types of raw fish used varies and most popular would be salmon and tuna. It is often garnished with shredded egg, nori, and salmon roe on top for a mouth-watering and colorful finishing touch. This dish is easy to prepare and popular as a party food, as a big platter can be made and shared.
As you know, Japan is a country with diverse regional cuisines. One type of sushi that comes from Osaka is the oshizushi, meaning “box sushi” or “pressed sushi.” This type is actually one of the oldest forms of sushi, the successor to narezushi, which sprang from the method of preserving fish by packing it tightly in boxes of fermented rice.
The last type of sushi we’ll cover is sasazushi, one that you’ve likely never heard of. It is a local, rustic style of sushi that is often made with wild vegetables, presented on a bed of sushi rice with a bamboo leaf standing in as a plate. This is yet another healthy and fresh type of sushi that features produce from the nearby area.