See also sashimi.
Sushi is a Japanese specialty based on boiled rice seasoned with a sweetened rice vinegar. This glossy, sticky rice mixture is called sushi mesi.
There are many varieties of sushi, and while some are made with raw fish, others include ingredients like cooked seafood, eggs and tofu, or vegetables like cucumbers, avocados and mushrooms. Sushi can be served as an appetizer, snack or full meal. It is often accompanied by pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce for dipping.
There are many types of sushi, and all include rice. Nigiri, or handmade sushi, is the typical variety comprised of thin slices of raw fish wrapped around rice.
Maki, or sushi rolls, are made with vegetables, raw fish, tofu and various other ingredients that are enclosed in sushi rice, wrapped in nori (sheets of toasted seaweed) and cut into slices.
There is also oshi, pressed sushi that is cut into small squares, and inarizushi, stuffed bean curd rolls.
When preparing raw seafood dishes at home, buy from a reputable fishmonger or visit a Japanese or Asian supermarket for fresher (and often less expensive) ingredients. This is also the best place to find essential sushi supplies such as Japanese rice, nori, pickled ginger, wasabi, sushi vinegar, Japanese mayonnaise (tamago-no-moto) and bamboo mats (sushimaki sudare) or hot pads (makisu) for rolling.
Be sure to buy sushi or sashimi grade fish. Only the freshest, highest quality fish is safe to eat raw, and it will be labeled as such. When in doubt, ask before purchasing.
Raw fish should have a fresh odor, firm texture and moist appearance. To keep things simple, buy cuts of fish that have been skinned and cleaned.
Place fish in the refrigerator as soon as you return home and use it for sushi the same day you buy it.
When it comes to making sushi at home, there are plenty of cookbooks available to help get you started. Your first maki rolls may not look like the ones from your favorite sushi bar, but remember, practice (and patience) makes perfect.
- Always work with "sushi grade" fish.
- Use a rice cooker to make preparation easier.
- Rinse your rice several times until the water runs almost clear.
- Japanese rice should be cooked in a ratio of 1 cup rice to 1¼ cups water.
- If your rice doesn't stick together or to the nori, you didn't use enough vinegar in your rice.
- Spread rice on the nori to within about 5/8-inch of the outer edge.