Sushi Sushi is most commonly defined as a Japanese dish shaped into a roll, consisting of cold cooked rice dressed with vinegar, wrapped in seaweed and garnished with raw or cooked seafood and vegetables, then cut into bite-sized pieces. (dictionay. com) Although not in its most contemporary, present form, sushi has been around for a surprisingly long period of time. What began as simple, two ingredient rolls, has blossomed into multi-ingredient flavored delights. A variety of types arises from fillings, toppings, condiments, and preparation.
Traditional versus contemporary types include methods of assembly that create very different results from very similar ingredients. Not only does sushi have an interesting history, its main ingredients can be combined with an endless possibility of flavors, which creates a delicious array of types to satisfy individual desires. The history of sushi is a very old tale involving the evolution of a very simple dish. Sushi arose out of a way of preserving food. It was first mentioned in China. Fish was placed in rice and allowed to ferment.
This allowed an individual to keep the fish edible for quite some time. The rice was then thrown away and the fish was eaten when needed or wanted. This method spread throughout China and by the seventh century, had made its way to Japan, where seafood has historically been a staple. The Japanese, however, took the concept further and began to eat the rice with the fish. A man named Matsumoto Yoshiichi started seasoning the rice with rice wine vinegar and then began to sell it. This allowed the dish to be eaten immediately, instead of waiting months it normally took to prepare sushi.
Then in the early 19th century, a man by the name of Hanaya Yohei conceived a major change in the production and presentation of sushi. No longer wrapping the fish in rice, he placed a piece of fresh fish on top of an oblong shaped piece of seasoned rice. At this time, people began serving sushi from stalls on the street and it was meant to be a snack, or quick bite to eat on the go. This style of serving sushi rapidly spread throughout Japan, aided by the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, as many people lost their homes and businesses and moved from Tokyo. After World War Two, the sushi stalls were shut down and moved indoors, to more sanitary onditions. More formal seating was later provided and eating sushi changed to a true dining experience. Sushi then evolved to another level beyond the traditional Japanese methods because it was spreading around the globe and this unusual style of serving fish was quickly adopted by western cultures. Western influences have given rise to new types of sushi and the many elaborate ‘fusion’ creations at upscale sushi restaurants. It is not often that something so different can not only take the world by storm, but also influence the direction of food in other cultures.
Demand for sushi is only increasing and the history of sushi is far from over. (sushi. pro, sushifaq. com) Sushi ingredients are widely divided into four categories. These categories include raw fish or seafood, vinegar rice, condiments, and seasonings. (sushiencyclopedia. com) The main ingredient is raw fish or seafood, such as raw tuna, salmon and eel, or shrimp and crab. The next ingredient is cold cooked rice, which is blended with sushi vinegar. The vinegar consists of salt, sugar, rice wine, and kelp. Other ingredients that can be used are condiments.
This is where you’re imagination comes in. Depending on your individual preference, condiments could include seaweed, avocado, cucumber, chives, or even ginger root. The last ingredient is seasonings. The basic seasoning for sushi is soy sauce. Sometimes sea salt is used instead to taste the other ingredient’s full flavors. Wasabi is another seasoning for “the daredevil. ” It is a spicy, green paste that is sure to excite your taste buds. The best places to find these sushi ingredients are the nearest Asian Market and/or down the ethnic aisle at the local supermarket.
When choosing the type of sushi you want to eat, the possibilities seem endless, but you must choose, because they all offer such amazing bursts of flavor. Maki Sushi is the most common type of sushi in the United States. It includes vinegar rice, fish, and cucumber or avocado, tightly rolled in dried seaweed. Popular fish included in this type are salmon, eel, tuna, yellowtail, shrimp and octopus. Nigiri Sushi is an oblong shape of vinegar rice, formed in the hands, with a bit of wasabi and topped with a slice of raw or cooked fish. Popular toppings include salmon, tuna, squid or eel.
Oshi Sushi comes from Osaka in south-central Japan. This type is pressed into a rectangular shape using a sushi press. The toppings are laid at the bottom of the mold, and then covered in vinegar rice. Chirashi Sushi is served in a bowl. It consists of a bed of vinegar rice with the ingredients mixed on top. Inari Sushi uses deep fried tofu instead of vinegar rice on the outside and usually contains the vinegar rice on the inside. Finally there is Onigiri Sushi, consisting of ingredients rolled up into a ball of regular steamed rice. The ball is sometimes wrapped in seaweed.
While each type of sushi has many different recipes and fillings, it is very easy to visually distinguish these basic kinds of sushi from each other. (foodservicewarehouse. com/education) When going out for sushi, or even making it in your own home, I believe in trying something new each and every time you eat it. You never know what you may find out about yourself and the many evolving flavors sushi introduces into your life. Not only does sushi have an interesting history, its main ingredients can be combined with an endless possibility of flavors, which creates a delicious array of types to satisfy individual desires.