Sushi is so popular worldwide, it’s almost hard to believe that it wasn’t always a part of American culture. But thanks to sushi’s introduction in the 1950s, we now enjoy sushi whenever we want — on an evening out with friends or even for a quick work lunch from the corner deli. But even with sushi’s wide availability, many people are confounded by it. It’s easy to feel lost in a sushi restaurant, not knowing what all the different types are — whether it has raw fish or not, and how to even begin to eat it. For the beginner sushi eater, we’ve put together a glossary of all the popular pieces of sushi, how they’re made and what ingredients they usually contain. Then scroll below the slideshow to read more about the basics of sushi.
Sushi (すし, 寿司, 鮨, 鮓, 寿斗, 寿し, 壽司?) is a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice (鮨飯 sushi-meshi?) combined with other ingredients (ネタ neta?), seafood, vegetables and sometimes tropical fruits. Ingredients and forms of sushi presentation vary widely, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is rice (also referred to as shari (しゃり?) or sumeshi (酢飯?)).
Sushi can be prepared with either brown or white rice. Sushi is often prepared with raw seafood, but some common varieties of sushi use cooked ingredients. Raw fish (or occasionally meat) sliced and served without riceis called sashimi.
Sushi is often served with shredded ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce. Popular garnishes are often made using daikon.
Types os sushi
Makizushi is sushi rolled up using a bamboo mat. It is typically wrapped in nori (dried seaweed), but sometimes in a thin egg omelette, soy paper or thinly sliced cucumber. The sushi is cut into six or eight pieces. Maki rolls are easier to eat with the fingers. Fillings include cucumber, carrot, avocado, tuna, salmon, crab, etc.
Futomaki is about 2 inches in diameter and has two or more fillings of raw vegetable and cooked or raw fish with nori on the outside.
Uramaki is like futomaki in that it has two or more fillings, except the nori is on the inside with the rice on the outside. Uramaki was developed in the United States at a time when Americans didn’t like to see the seaweed.
Temaki is a large cone of nori filled with ingredients spilling out of one end. Temaki is best eaten with your hands as soon as it is made, since the nori gets soggy quickly.
Nigiri is hand-formed sushi using a mound of rice topped with a slice of fish or seafood, called theneta. Typically the sushi chef will put a dab of wasabi in between the rice and fish, so no additional wasabi is needed.
Sashimi: sliced raw fish served without rice. Sashimi should be eaten with chopsticks. Wasabi can be mixed into the soy sauce.
Chirashi: or “scattered sushi” is a bowl of rice topped with sashimi and vegetable garnishes.
Gunkanmaki is a type of nigiri. It’s a hand-formed clump of sushi rice wrapped around with a wide strip of nori and filled with roe, oysters, sea urchin, etc.