Raw Fish: Sashimi and Sushi


Raw Fish: Sashimi and Sushi

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Sashimi is raw fish ! 刺身

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Sashimi (Japanese: 刺身) is a Japanese delicacy primarily consisting of very fresh raw seafoods, sliced into thin pieces about 2.5cm (1.0in.) wide by 4.0cm (1.5in.) long by 0.5 cm (0.25in.) thick, but dimensions vary depending on the type of item and chef, and served with only a dipping sauce (soy sauce with wasabi paste and thin-sliced ginger root or ponzu soy sauce with citrus fruit juice), and a simple garnish such as shiso perilla and shredded daikon radish.

The word sashimi means "pierced body", i.e. "刺身 = sashimi = 刺し = sashi (pierced, sticked) and 身 = mi (body, meat), may derive from the culinary practice of sticking the fish's tail and fin to the slices in identifying the fish being eaten. Another etymologic possibility is that 切り身 = kiri-mi (cut body, meat) connotes cutting someone with a 刀 = katana (backsword), hence the word sashimi is used.

The word sashimi has been integrated to the English language and is often used to refer to other uncooked fish preparations besides the traditional Japanese dish subject of this article.

Some of the most popular main ingredients for sashimi are:

鮭 Sake: Salmon
いか Ika: Squid
えび Ebi: Cooked Shrimp
まぐろ Maguro: Tuna
さば Saba: Mackerel
たこ Tako: Octopus
とろ Toro: Fatty Tuna
はまち Hamachi: Yellowtail
ふぐ Fugu: Puffer Fish Takifugu

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Regional Sashimi Specialities


Inari Sushi, Inarizushi 稲荷鮨 (inarizushi いなり寿司)
kigo for summer


kigo for all summer : sushi
It was originally prepared as a preserve for fish in the summertime. Nowadays it is eaten all year round.

Sushi is raw fish on vinegared rice ! 寿司

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In Japanese cuisine, sushi (寿司, 鮨, 鮓) is a food made of vinegared rice, usually combined with other ingredients (uncooked and in some cases cooked) such as fish.
Sushi as an English word has come to refer to a complete dish with rice and toppings; this is the sense used in this article. The original term Japanese: 寿司 sushi (-zushi in some compounds such as makizushi), written in kanji, refers to the rice, but not fish or other toppings.
Outside of Japan, sushi is sometimes misunderstood to mean the raw fish by itself, or even any fresh raw-seafood dishes. In Japan, however, sliced raw fish alone is called sashimi and is distinct from sushi.

There are various types of sushi:
sushi served rolled inside nori (dried and pressed layer sheets of seaweed or alga) called makizushi (巻き) or rolls; sushi made with toppings laid with hand-formed clumps of rice called nigirizushi (にぎり); toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried tofu called inarizushi; and toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice called chirashi-zushi (ちらし).

History of sushi

The basic idea behind the preparation of sushi is the preservation and fermentation of fish with salt and rice, a process that has been traced back to China, Korea, and Southeast Asia where fish and rice fermentation dishes still exist today. The science behind the fermentation of fish in rice is that the vinegar produced from the fermenting rice breaks the fish down into amino acids. This results into one of the five basic tastes, called umami in Japanese. The oldest form of sushi in Japan, Narezushi still very closely resembles this process. In Japan, Narezushi evolved into Oshizushi and ultimately Edomae nigirizushi, which is what the world today knows as "sushi".

Modern Japanese sushi has little resemblance to the traditional lacto-fermented rice dish. Originally, when the fermented fish was taken out of the rice, only the fish was consumed and the fermented rice was discarded. The strong-tasting and -smelling funazushi, a kind of narezushi made near Lake Biwa in Japan, resembles the traditional fermented dish.

Beginning during the Muromachi period (1336–1573) in Japan, rice vinegar was added to the mixture for better taste. The vinegar accentuated the rice's sourness, and was known to increase its life span, allowing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventually abandoned. In the following centuries, sushi in Osaka evolved into oshi-zushi, the seafood and the rice were pressed into wooden molds, by the mid 18th century, this form of sushi had reached Edo (contemporary Tokyo).

Today's dish, internationally known as "sushi," was invented by Hanaya Yohei (華屋与兵衛; 1799–1858) at the end of Edo period.

The sushi invented by Hanaya was an early form of fast food that was not fermented, (therefore prepared quickly) and could be eaten with one's hands roadside or in a theatre. Originally, this sushi was known as Edomae zushi, because it used freshly-caught fish in the Edo-mae (Edo Bay). Though the fish used in modern sushi no longer usually come from Edo bay, it is still formally known as Edomae nigirizushi.

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WASHOKU : Sushi 寿司 

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sushiuri, sushi-uri 鮨売り / すし売り Sushi vendor in Edo

He carried his boxes on one shoulder, bound with a cloth string.
The lowest box was open.
He walked the streets of Edo, calling
sushiyaaa - kohada no sssuuuushiiii 「すしやァ こはだのゥすゥしィ」
suuu was their call for sushi.

Some also carried a pot with tea in one hand.

The okamochi vendor carried Inarizushi, supporting the box with his right hand and just a small part of his right shoulder.

- reference : uotakesusi.eshizuoka.jp

kohada 小鰭 shad, Konosirus punctatus, Clupanodon punctatus

. okamochi 岡持ち special box for delivering food .

inarizushi uri, inarizushiuri 稲荷鮨売り vendor of Inarizushi

In the Edo period, the pouch was filled with okara tofu mix, not fish, to make it last longer in the heat.
It was probably first served during a famine, to get some simple food to the townspeople.

. inarizushi いなりずし ( 稲荷鮨 / いなり寿司 / 稲荷寿司)
"brown bag sushi" .

- - - - -

aji no suu kohada no suu to nigiyakasa

horse mackerel sushi
and Kohada sushi -
such a busy street

Yanagidaru 8, 1773)

けちな鮨こはだの皮を飯にはり kechi na suchi
べらぼうな鮓売ほんの鯛をつけ beraboo na sushi-uri

. senryu, senryū 川柳 Senryu in Edo .

. Doing Business in Edo - 江戸の商売 .


O-Nigiri, onigiri おにぎり

This is something else altogether.

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Onigiri (御握り; おにぎり), also known as Omusubi (おむすび, O-musubi), is a snack of Japanese rice formed into triangle or oval shapes and wrapped in nori (, edible seaweed). Traditionally, the onigiri is filled with pickled ume fruit (umeboshi), salted salmon, bonito shavings, katsuobushi, or any other salty or sour ingredient.

In practice, pickled filling is used for preservation of the rice. Since the onigiri is one of the most famed and popular snacks in Japan, most convenience stores in Japan stock onigiri in many popular fillings and tastes. Specialized shops, called Onigiri-ya, offer handmade rice balls for take out.

Writings dating back as far as the 17th century tell us that many samurai stored rice balls wrapped in bamboo leaves as a quick lunchtime meal at war, but the origins of onigiri are much earlier. Before the use of chopsticks became widespread in the Nara period, rice was often rolled into a small ball so that it could be easily picked up. In the Heian period, rice was also made into small rectangular shapes called tonjiki (頓食; とんじき), so that they could be piled onto a plate and easily eaten.

From the Kamakura period to the early Edo period, onigiri was used as a quick meal. This made sense as cooks simply had to think about making enough onigiri and did not have to concern themselves with serving. These onigiri were simply a ball of rice flavored with salt. Nori seaweed did not become widely available until the Genroku era during the mid-Edo period, when the farming of nori and fashioning it into sheets became widespread.

It was believed that onigiri could not be produced with a machine as the hand rolling technique was considered too difficult to replicate. In the 1980s, a machine that made triangular onigiri was built. This was initially met with skepticism because rather than having the filling traditionally rolled inside, the flavoring was simply put into a hole in onigiri and this shortcut was hidden by the nori.

Since the onigiri made by this machine came with nori already applied to the rice ball, over time the nori became unpleasantly moist and sticky, clinging to the rice. A packaging improvement allowed the nori to be stored separately from the rice. Before eating, the diner could open the packet of nori and wrap the onigiri. The machines' limitation that an ingredient was filled into a hole instead of rolled together with the rice actually made new flavors of onigiri easier to produce as this cooking process did not require changes from ingredient to ingredient.

O-musubi and O-nigiri is not a form of sushi, despite common misconception.
While o-musubi is made with plain rice (perhaps lightly salted), sushi is made of rice with vinegar added. O-musubi is merely a method of making rice portable and easy to eat, while sushi originated as a way of preserving freshwater fish.

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Worldwide use

Sushi in America

America is becoming a nation of sushi connoisseurs, able to discuss the difference between o-toro and chu-toro.
By Ray Isle

America has become a sushi nation.

The Sushi Lexicon

Nori Seaweed, harvested primarily off the coast of Japan, that is dried, roasted and pressed into sheets.

Awase-zu The seasoning added to cooked short-grain sushi rice is made from rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

Sashimi Sliced raw fish without rice; sashimi should be eaten with chopsticks rather than fingers.

Nigiri sushi A bite-size mound of vinegared rice with a similar-size piece of fish, shellfish or other topping.

Maki sushi Rolled sushi; basically, a sheet of nori wrapped around rice and raw fish (or other fillings).

Temaki sushi Known as a hand roll; the nori wrapper is rolled around various fillings into a cone shape.

Chirashi sushi Literally, "scattered sushi"; raw fish and vegetables served over rice, most often in a bowl.

Omakase The root word means "to trust"—the chef serves you whatever he or she likes. No menus.

.. www.foodandwine.com/
Copyright © 2007, American Express Publishing.

More about
Sushi in America !

Things found on the way


globalization -
he serves the sushi fish
on french bread

© Gabi Greve, September 2007
With more information !

GOOGLE with sushi french bread for the fun of it !


sakura ebi sushi ni shirashite kyoo arinu

cherryblossom shrimps
sprinkled on my sushi -
what a fine day !   

Hosomi Ayako 細見綾子
Tr. Gabi Greve


Bye Bye Dear Sushi
I'm opting for Sashimi
All sticky rice free

(c) 2004 by Franz L Kessler, 2004


More SUSHI haiku !


Related words

***** WASHOKU ... Japanese Food SAIJIKI

***** ..... FISH as a kigo

***** Blowfish (fugu, Japan) .. Puffer, Globefish, Swellfish

WASHOKU - Regional Sashimi Specialities  





Anonymous said...

Shucks, the Persian cat,
is into Sushi

"Dick Pettit"

Gabi Greve - Buson said...

Yosa Buson

sushi oshite shibaraku sabishiki kokoro kana

pressing sushi
my heart feels loneliness
for quite a while . . .

The cut marker KANA is at the end of line 3.

shibaraku . . .

Gabi Greve said...

The Edomae tradition is said to have been started in the early 1800s by Hanaya Yohei, a sushi chef in Edo (present-day Tokyo). There is a plaque in the Ryōgoku district of Sumida that bears the inscription, “Birthplace of Yohei-zushi.” The monument also describes how Yohei adapted existing dishes—like Osaka oshizushi, which combined vinegared rice with various raw seafood toppings, or neta—to create a new style of sushi in which a shari rice base and a topping were pressed together by hand to create individual bite-sized morsels. His other innovations included techniques like simmering the neta in broth, or marinating the toppings with vinegar and salt.