What are “ikejime” and “nojime”?

How the fish is butchered also changes the taste. If the fish suffers and struggles, the body wears and may be damaged, circulating oxidized blood throughout the body, which makes it lose flavor. For fish of high value such as sea bream, flounder, yellowtail, rudderfish and tuna, a method called “ikejime” is used.

The taste of tuna is said to be determined based on the preparations after being caught. The tuna is caught with as little suffering as possible and the nerves are killed immediately for an instant death. Generally, blood is then drained perfectly, entrails and gills are removed, the tail cut off and then the fish is placed in ice-water to lower the body temperature.

The medulla oblongata and main artery of the fish are cut and a kitchen knife is inserted into the base of the tail to drain the blood. A thin metal rod is inserted into the backbone to paralyze the nerves and at the same time controls the putrefied materials that come out of the spinal cord.

This extends the time until rigor mortis sets in, making it easier to maintain freshness and simultaneously preventing blood from circulating in the body, which also prevents the fishy smell.

Freezing the fish to death in ice water is called “nojime”. This method is generally used for small fish such as sardines, horse mackerel and mackerel that are fished in large volume.

 

 

At fish markets, the term “kill” is not used for living fish, instead the word “shimeru” meaning to close or tighten. The term “dead fish” is also not used. Instead the term “nojime” is used for fish that died naturally en route to the market. This stems from the awe of precious life and turning that life into food.


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Revision date: March 27, 2018

Best supporting role for wasabi that magnifies the umami in sushi many times over

Back before there were refrigerators, wasabi was indispensable for Nigirizushi, eliminating the fishy smell and also providing bactericidal effects to prevent the fish from spoiling. Wasabi is originally from Japan and it has been used in Edo-style sushi from the very beginning. Even with all the advancements in technology for storing sushi toppings, wasabi is still used today to remove the fishy smell and prevent spoiling. However, nowadays the flavor and aroma of wasabi and the way it brings out the flavor of the sushi topping is the main focus.

When wasabi is grated and exposed to the air, its unique heat is made enhanced by enzymes. Using a coarse grater gives the wasabi a rough, fibrous texture that spreads the spicy flavor through to the back of the throat. On the other hand, if Sharkskin wasabi is grated finely, it foams up with tiny bubbles and makes a creamy taste. The type of wasabi depends on the personality of the shop.

However, the powdered wasabi and wasabi paste you find at kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) is primarily made from horseradish and is colored and scented with additives. It isn’t dried wasabi and it is significantly cheaper.


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Revision date: June 6, 2017

Judge a chef’s ability and quality of the shop by its Anago (Conger eel)

Sushi restaurants that advertise “Edo style” on the sign somewhat fear customers who order Anago right off the bat. If the customer then eats as if they are really taking the time to taste the sushi, then any chef not fully confident in their skills will want to hide under the sushi counter.

Anago is a topping that really demonstrate a chef’s skills (or lack thereof).

Edo-style sushi chefs work on many toppings. Anago is a perfect example of these toppings. It is actually first steamed to remove the fat. However, it’s a difficult balance to remove the fat while still leaving the umami. The steamed Anago is then boiled and flavored. Since the fish is plain, the flavoring is also a subtle skill and not an easy task.

Depending on the shop, the chef may make the sushi with the boiled fish, use Nitsume (boiling down) to bring out the flavor or lightly roast the fish before combining it with the rice. The chef’s ideas and abilities are apparent in the final dish. If the sushi is made from the freshly boiled fish, it should be soft and melt in your mouth…if the chef knows what they are doing! Lightly roasted Anago will have an aroma that fills your entire mouth.

The work this topping takes to serve is a chance for sushi shops to show off their specialties, but it is also a clear indicator of the quality of the shop. The level of the chef and quality of the sushi shop will be revealed as soon as you place Anago in your mouth.


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Revision date: May 27, 2017

Gizzard shad (kohada) flavor is refined by exquisite salt seasoning!

According to most sushi masters, salt is the defining factor in the taste of gizzard shad (kohada).

Before seasoning gizzard shad with vinegar, the process starts with salting the spread open shad. It is the length the fish is salted that makes or breaks the fish. The reason for salting the gizzard shad is not just for flavoring, but also to draw out the umami of the fish. Salting for too long results in a briny taste; too short and the umami won’t come to the fore. The timing must be perfect in order to achieve that emotional “umami” moment.

This timing can be compared to boiling eggs: 3 minutes gets you soft-boiled eggs but five minutes gets you hard-boiled eggs. With eggs you can follow this rule of thumb, but no such rule exists for the spotted shad. The conditions for the salting time differ depending on the temperature, humidity, size of the fish and the degree of fat.

For example, a more slender fish in the middle of summer may be salted for 30 minutes, but a fatty fish in the winter needs to be salted for four hours. Just a few minutes longer or shorter than the perfect salting time completely changes the taste of the final dish.

Skilled chefs adjust the time on a daily basis according to the weather and the quality of the fish. Shops that can provide precisely the same spotted shad taste every day of the year are truly the best of the best.


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Revision date: May 29, 2017

The real way of making vinegared rice by a sushi master. There are 4 tips!

In order to bring sushi to life, it is extremely important how shari is made. Let me introduce a cooking method, a top grade sushi master uses.

First, wash the rice gently. Leave it to soak for about half an hour and let it fully absorb water. The first tip is to keep the water level of the rice even in this way.

The rice should be cooked with water with a ratio of 10 to 9. A little less water than the regular rice, so that it is cooked slightly hard. This is the second tip.

While you wait for the rice to cook, make awasezu* by adding salt and sugar in vinegar. Also, set up hangiri (rice-cooling tub) for mixing the rice. Don’t forget to wipe the inside with a wet kitchen towel to prevent the rice from sticking to it.

Once the rice has finished cooking, leave it to steam for about 15 minutes and dump it out into hangiri. Pour awasezu immediately and let it sit for 30 seconds or so. Because the rice absorbs vinegar only while it is hot, managing this process quickly is the third tip.

After letting it sit for 30 seconds, spread the rice out with shamoji (rice spatula) as if cutting it down. Make sure that vinegar goes around using a cutting motion vertically. Additionally, fan the rice using a uchiwa (fan) to remove the moisture of vinegar and mix the rice with a cutting motion horizontally this time. Fanning with uchiwa is not to cool down the rice (Do not put the rice in the fridge to cool it down.), but to dry up the excess moisture of vinegar. Moving both hands as you consider it is the fourth tip.

After the rice is vinegared evenly, assemble it in one place and cover it with a damp kitchen towel. In about an hour, it is ready when shari is settled. (Body temperature) Even in a hurry, if you don’t give at least 30 minutes, it won’t help the taste of course, and also won’t make it easy to form the rice for sushi. If you rush at the end, all the delicate attention up to this will be in vain.

*A professional recipe for awasezu is as follows. This is a recipe for short grain rice species such as Koshihikari and Sasanishiki. Slightly sticky rice like calrose is not suitable for sushi rice.

9 cups rice

8 cups plus 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp water

8 tbsp plus 1 tsp vinegar ~ 12 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar ~ 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar


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Revision date: May 18, 2017

Salmon is not used as a topping in Edo-style sushi!

 

The Japanese were not in the habit of eating salmon raw. Salmon was not a traditional topping in Edo-style sushi. The reason for this is that the existence of parasites has been well-known since long ago and there was no way to prepare the salmon raw.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, salmon must be frozen at -20℃ for at least 24 hours in order to completely kill all parasites. Salmon served at sushi restaurants must be stored frozen and then thawed before serving.

The type of salmon (sake) you find in Japan is Chum salmon. However, most of the salmon served raw at sushi restaurants is Atlantic salmon. This is a popular topping throughout the world due to the high fat content and smooth texture achieved by sea farming in places like Norway and Chile. The fish are strictly managed from water quality to the effects on the environment, so there are very few issues with parasites and the salmon can be eaten raw. However the fact remains that the fish are administered a number of chemicals due to concern of spread of disease-causing germs in the farms.

Even when salmon roe and sea urchin first started to be used as toppings, most sushi chefs said that these didn’t count as Nigirizushi and refused to use them. However the favorable reputation of sea urchin sushi in Ginza won out, it started to be used by more chefs and eventually became one of the major dishes.

The fifth generation sushi chef at one long-standing shop says, “If it’s what the customers want, then salmon may also be rolled as Nigirizushi in the near future.” It may even become part of the standard menu.

At a pre-Edo sushi shop that features Hokkaido toppings, they are actually serving ultra-high grade salmon such as Keiji* and Tokishirazu**.

*Keiji are young salmon with immature ovaries or testes. Only 1-2 Keiji are found in a normal catch of 10,000 salmon. Normal salmon fat content is 2-15% but the Keiji have a very high body fat percentage at 20-30%.

**Tokishirazu are salmon swimming upstream at the beginning of summer. They are the same chum salmon found in the fall, but since they aren’t caught during the spawning season, the fish don’t have eggs or milt, and instead have a high fat content. The name “Tokishirazu” stems from the fact that these fish are caught out of season, in summer and the name means ”ignorant of time”


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Revision date: May 9, 2017

Why is it that sea urchin can taste bitter?

Some people say that “Sea urchin in a wooden box (called ‘hako-uni’ or ‘ori-uni’ or ‘boxed sea urchin’) has a bitter medicine taste”. When a sea urchin loses its freshness, its starts to disintegrate so an additive called alum is used to maintain its shape. If you’ve ever tried a sea urchin that tasted bitter*, this may be the reason.


Sea urchin soaked in brine without using alum (called ‘ensui-uni’ or ‘saltwater sea urchin’) is also commonly found. There is also a new technology that doesn’t use alum. In this method nitrogen water (water from which oxygen has been removed and then nitrogen dissolved) is used when sealing. The effect of replacing oxygen with nitrogen is inhibited oxidation, maintaining freshness of the sea urchin.

*An “off flavor” that takes away from the primary good tastes.


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Revision date: April 18, 2017

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : Seaweed roll

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Norimaki-Seaweed roll>

Anakyu maki-Gizzard shad and Cucumber roll

Himokyu maki-Mantle of ark shell and Cucumber roll

Kanpyou maki-Sweet-simmered kanpyo (dried gourd strip) roll

Kappa maki-Cucumber roll

Kohada maki-Gizzard shad roll

Namida maki-Vinegared rice and thin strips of Wasabi rolled in seaweed

Negitoro maki-Green onion and toro roll

Shinko maki-Pickled radish and shiso plant roll

Takuwan maki-Pickled radish roll

Tekka maki-Norimaki sushi roll with red tuna and grated wasabi at the core

Torotaku maki-Toro and Pickled radish roll

Umeshiso maki-Pickled ume and shiso plant roll

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: May 12, 2017

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : Others

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Others>

Akauni-Red sea urchin

Anago-Japanese conger

Bafununi-Short-spined sea uruchin (Green sea urchin)

Ezobafununi-Short-spined sea urchin

Hoya-Sea squirt

Ikura-Salmon roe

Kazunoko-Herring roe

Kitamurasakiuni-Northern sea urchin

Komochikonbu-Herring spawn on kelp

Murasakiuni-Purple sea urchin

Namako-Sea cucumber

Noresore-Young Japanese conger

Shirako-Globefish testis

Shirohige-White spin sea urchin

Sirauo-Icefish

Tamago-Egg omelet

Unagi-Japanese eel

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 27, 2018

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : Prawn・Crab

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Ebi/Kani-Prawn/Crab>

Aka ebi-Argentine Red Shrimp

Ama ebi-Deepwater prawn (Deepwater shrimp, Pink prawn)

Black tiger (Ushi ebi)-Black tiger

Botan ebi-Botan shrimp (Pink prawn, Pink shrimp)

Gasa ebi-Argis lar

Ise ebi-Japanese spiny lobster

Kegani-Horsehair crab (Korean crab, Kegani crab)

Kuruma ebi-Kuruma prawn

Sakura ebi-Sakura shrimp

Shako-Squilla (Mantis shrimp, Edible mantis shrimp)

Shima ebi-Morotoge shrimp

Shiro ebi (Shira ebi)-Japanese glass shrimp

Tarabagani-King crab (Alaska king crab, Red king crab)

Zuwaigani-Snow crab (Queen crab, Zuwai-crab)

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: December 2, 2016

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : Shell

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Kai-Shell>

Akagai-Ark shell

Aoyagi (Bakagai)-Rediated trough-shell (Surf-clam)

Awabi (Kuroawabi)-Japanese abalone

Baigai-Japanese ivory-shell

Ezoawabi-Ezo-abalone

Hokkigai-Hen-clam

Hotate-Common scallop (Giant ezo-scallop, Frill, Fan-shell)

Ishigakigai-Bering Sea cockle

Iwagaki-Rock-oyster

Kaki (Magaki)-Oyster

Kobashira-The adductor of bakagai shellfish (Rediated trough-shell)

Madakaawabi-Giant abalone

Megaiawabi-Disk abalone

Mirugai (Honmirugai)-Otter-shell (Keen’s gaper)

Namigai (shiromiru)-Japanese geoduck

Nihama-Common orient clam (Japanese hard clam, White clam)

Sazae-Spiny top-shell

Shirogai (Manjugai, Saragai)-Northern great tellin

Tairagi (Tairagai)-Pen-shell (Fan-shell)

Tokobushi-Tokobushi abalone

Torigai-Egg-cockle (Heart-shell)

Tubugai (Matsubu)-Ezo-neptune (Whelk, Winckle)

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: December 2, 2016

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : Squid・Octopus

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Ika/Tako-Squid/ Octopus>

Aori ika-Bigfin reef squid

Hotaru ika-Firefly squid

Iidako-Ocellated octopus

Kensaki ika (Shiroika)-Swordtip squid

Mizudako-North-pacific giant octpus

Shin ika-Baby cuttlefish

Sumi ika (Kouika)-Cuttlefish

Surume ika-Japanese common squid

Tako (Madako)-Octopus

Yari ika-Spear squid

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: December 2, 2016

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : Silver-skinned fish

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Hikarimono - Silver-skinned fish>

Aji (Maaji) - Japanese horse-mackerel

Ayu - Ayu

Gomasaba- Spotted mackerel

Hamo -Daggertooth pike conger

Hatahata - Japanese sandfish

Iwashi - Sardine

Kisu - Japanese whiting

Kohada - Gizzard shad

Mamakari - Big-eye sardine

Saba - Pacific mackerel

Sanma - Pacific saury

Sayori - Halfbeak

Shinko - Baby Gizzard shad

Tobiuo - Japanese flyingfish

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 27, 2018

 

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : White flesh fish

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Shiromi-White flesh fish>

Ainame-Green ling

Amadai-Horsehead tilefish

Ara-Rock-cod

Buri-Japanese amberjack

Ebotai (Ibodai)-Butterfish

Engawa-Thin muscle of the dorsal fin of Japanese flounder, Marbled sole, etc.

Fugu (Torafugu)-Globefish (Blowfish, Puffer )

Hiramasa-Amberjack

Hirame-Japanese flounder (Olive flounder)

Hoshigarei-Spotted halibut

Houbou-Bluefin searobin

Inada-Japanese amberjack (30〜40cm)

Isaki-Striped pigfish

Ishidai-Barred knifejaw

Ishigarei-Stone flounder

Kamasu (Akakamasu)-Barracuda

Kanpachi-Greater amberjack

Kasugo (Chidai, Kidai)-Baby Red sea-bream (Crimson sea-bream, Eellowback sea-bream)

Kawahagi-Filefish

Kijihata(Akou)-Redspotted Grouper

Kinki (Kichiji)-Thornhead

Kinmedai-Splendid alfonsino

Kochi (Magochi)-Bartail flathead

Kue-Longtooth grouper

Kurodai(Chinu)-Blackhead seabream

Kurosoi-Black rockfish

Mahata (Hata)-Grouper (Rock-cod, Seven band grouper)

Makogarei-Marbled sole

Matsukawagarei-Barfin flounder

Mebaru-Rockfish

Medai-Japanese butterfish

Meichidai-Nakedhead

Mejina-Greeenfish (Nibbler, Rudderfish)

Mutsu-Japanese bluefish

Nametagarei (Babagarei)-Slime flounder

Nodoguro (Akamutsu)-Blackthroat seaperch

Okoze (Oniokoze)-Devil stinger

Sawara-Japanese spanish mackerel

Shimaaji-Crevalle jack (Trevally)

Suzuki-Japanese seaperch

Tachiuo-Largehead hairtail (Cutlassfish, Scabbardfish)

Tai (Madai)-Red sea-bream

Tara (Madara)-Pacific cod

Umazurahagi-Leatherfish

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 27, 2018

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : Red flesh fish

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Akami-Red flesh fish>

Binnaga maguro-Longfin white tuna

Katsuo-Bonito (Oceanic bonito, Striped tuna)

Kihada maguro-Yellowfin tuna

Maguro (Kuromaguro, Honmaguro, Shibi)-Bluefin tuna

Makajiki-Striped marlin

Mebachi maguro-Bigeye tuna

Mekajiki-Swordfish

Minami maguro (Indo maguro)-Southernbluefin tuna

Suma-Wavyback skipjack, Eastern little tuna

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 27, 2018