The Japanese perfection.
A fine balance that says a lot about Japanese culture. The word sushi comes from two words “su” and “meshi” which in English mean vinegar and rice and so refers to the slightly sweet, vinegary rice served with seafood, egg or vegetables either raw or cooked. So sushi doesn’t mean raw fish!
— Cultural Food —
Sushi originated in the Mekong Delta where farmers would ferment fish with salt and rice and then discard the rice. The practice made its way to Japan around 300 BC. About 100 years later a chef came up with the idea of eating the rice rather than discarding it and later still it was served up with garnishes of egg, fish or vegetables and that’s when the sushi we recognise today was really born!
There are many different types of sushi and each region in Japan has its own sushi style.
Nigirizushi is the most iconic. It consists of a hand molded mound of specially prepared rice with the sushi topping placed over it.
Another well-known variety is makizushi. The chef places the sushi topping on a bed of rice and then tightly rolls it up with a bamboo mat to produce the distinctive shape.
Different cultures around the world have adapted traditional sushi recipes to make it more palatable to other cultures, The USA, for example, gave to the Western World the California Roll, which is nearly unknown in Japan but wildly popular abroad. It is described as a reversed makizushi called ura-makizushi. The rice is on the outside and the seaweed on the inside.
There are a few rules around eating sushi that are good to know. For example, you should never pass food from chopstick to chopstick and never leave your chopsticks standing up in the bowl. They should be laid flat across the bowl or make use of a chopstick rest.
Apparently the correct form for dipping your sushi in soy sauce is to dip the topping in but not the rice. Dunking the rice could mean the soy sauce taste is too strong and will overwhelm the other flavours in the sushi and ruin the shape of the rice mound.
Chopsticks or hands are both acceptable ways of eating sushi so don’t be afraid if you’re not great with chopsticks, use your fingers! Ginger should be used as a palette cleanser, so eat it between courses not as a topping.
The quality of sushi is obviously connected to the quality of the ingredients but the skills of the chef also make a big difference! Why not improve your own skills, or learn from scratch, by joining one of our Sushi Making classes?
In this 2-hour course, beginners and enthusiasts will learn the basics of making sushi with fresh ingredients. It’s not all raw fish so don’t fret! Our vegetarians friends are most welcome! Our experienced Cook & Eat chef instructors will guide you through all you need to know, and you’ll leave with lots of tips on cooking, preparing and eating many different types of sushi.
Book your class now to discover more about making sushi: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Greenwich Pantry classes and events are listed here.
Life is for Cooking