THE ART OF SUSHI
When it comes to ‘Sushi’, the heart and soul of Japanese cuisine, it can cause some extreme reactions from people. While people like me at any given point of time crave sushi, there are others who cringe at the thought of being served ‘raw food’ or so they say. This feature covers the art of sushi and how it goes beyond the concept of food itself.
THIS IS HOW IT ROLLED
Who knew that the ancient practice of preserving fish would soon evolve into one of the hottest selling items of this day and age? Yes, believe it or not but sushi came out the ancient Chinese practice of preserving fish. Around to the sources around 1st Century, raw fish would be placed on rice to allow fermentation. Later, the rice would be thrown away leaving the fish edible for longer durations of time. The process spread to Japan around the seventh century and was eaten in a similar fashion till the seventeenth century. Matsumoto Yoshiichi of modern-day Tokyo was the first man to take baby-steps into what we now know sushi as. He began selling seasoned fish with rice and rice wine vinegar which became an instant success. The sushi of contemporary times was invented by Hanaya Yohei. He had revolutionized the production and the aesthetics of sushi. Sushi would be sold in stalls till the WW2 and soon after moved indoors. It soon changed its stature from ‘fast-food’ to fine dining.
With the Western world embracing sushi, there have been numerous renditions to the traditional food item.
THE PERFECT MATCH
It may sound all so easy but sushi is an art that needs perfection. It is a balancing act between taste and execution. There are tiny details from the thickness of the rolls to the right amount of fish that can make or break the dish. Often overlooked by sushi amateurs but these little details can cost you a job, especially if you’re a Sushi Chef. An intensive course which takes several years to master, the art of sushi isn’t a piece of cake.
Although there are countless varieties of sushi available thanks to Western influences, here are some of most common type of sushi rolls you need to know about:
Maki Roll: One of the most popular kinds of Sushi, the roll primarily consists of toasted seaweed (nori) around sushi rice with a filling of your choice. These are cut into several pieces into bite-sized snacks. They are available with a variety of fillings to choose from.
Nigiri: These basically consist of oblong balls of rice with perfect slices of fresh fish placed on top with wasabi in between.
Sashimi: Commonly found at Sushi Restaurants, sashimi is not actually sushi. Sashimi is nothing but finely sliced pieces of raw fish with accompanied with Soy sauce. It is basically nigiri but without the rice.
KNOW YOUR SUSHI MANNERS
While in Japan, do as the Japanese do. Here are a few tips one must follow while seated at a Japanese Fine Dining Restaurant:
- It’s rude to rub your chopsticks together.
- It is always polite to ask the Sushi Chef for recommendations, it shows trust.
- Each Sushi should ideally be eaten in one bite, avoid breaking it into pieces.
- When eating Nigiri sushi, always dip from fish’s end and not the rice part.
- Eat the pieces of pickled ginger before moving onto another sushi dish, it cleanses the palate.
- Never ask for extra wasabi in your sushi, it otherwise ends up over-powering the delicate fish.