What is Himokyu-maki?

a photo of Himokyu maki
Himokyumaki (Hosomaki) using the mantle of ark shell and cucumber as fillings.

Edomae sushi rolls are made with grilled nori. In Tokyo, this is called nori-maki. Himokyu-maki is norimaki filled with Akagai mantle wrapped in. The mantle has a stronger sea smell and slight bitterness than the Akagai body itself, and some people actually prefer the mantle. The crunchy texture and umami bring out maximum harmony with the refreshing fragrance and texture of the cucumber. This is a true nori-maki masterpiece. Make sure to give it a try when Akagai is in season.


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Revision date: January 27, 2023

 

What is Tazunamaki?

a photo of Tazunamaki
Tazunamaki made by long-established Kizushi (㐂寿司)

In general, Tazunamaki (手綱巻き) refers to thinly sliced sayori, shrimp, kohada, and omelets, arranged diagonally and rolled with sushi rice. It is called Tazunamaki because the surface of the diagonally arranged finished product looks like the pattern of a horse’s reins.

The ingredients used for Tazunamaki are almost always fixed, and the four main colors are: red from the shrimp, silvery white from the sayori or kohada, green from the cucumber, and yellow from the omelet. As a precaution in preparation, the sayori should be used after a quick wash in salted water, or furthermore, it should be kobujime (salted or vinegared fish marinated between sheets of kelp). Cucumbers should also be slightly wilted in salted water to help them adhere to the sushi rice.

On the other hand, Tazunamaki made by sushi chefs, consists of kohada and kuruma prawns rolled alternately on a bed of sushi rice. This seems like Kansai’s oshizushi, but it is another old Edo-style work (Edomae shigoto).

The balance between the sweetness of the shiba shrimp oboro and the sourness of the kohada is wonderfully balanced, and the taste is so delicious that one can never get tired of it no matter how many times one eats it.

Related contents: Kizushi Tazunamaki


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Revision date: January 25, 2023

What is Futomaki?

A photo of Futomaki
Futomaki contain multiple ingredients.

Sushi made by spreading vinegared rice on a sheet of dried laver and rolling it up with ingredients is called “Makizushi” in Kansai and “Norimaki” in Kanto, and the two are basically the same.

In Kanto, sushi rolls are distinguished by their thickness as “Hosomaki (thin rolls),” “Nakamaki (medium rolls),” or “Futomaki (thick rolls),” but in Kansai, the term “Makizushi” often refers to “thick rolls.

Hosomaki, such as Kanpyomaki (Dried Gourd Shavings Sushi Roll), Tekkomaki (Tuna roll), and Kappamaki (Cucumber roll), generally contain only one type of ingredient, while Futomaki (太巻き) contains multiple ingredients such as kanpyo, tamagoyaki, shiitake mushrooms, and cucumbers.

The size of the nori used differs depending on the thickness of the roll. Hosomaki uses a sheet of nori cut in half, Nakamaki uses one half to one sheet of nori, and Futomaki uses one or more sheets of nori. The basic size of nori is 21 cm in length and 19 cm in width per sheet, and each sheet weighs about 3 g. This size is called “Zenkei”.

The filling and hearty Futomaki satisfies your appetite. It has a slight sweetness, intricate flavors, and pleasant textures. Everything appealing about sushi is packed into a roll of Futomaki.


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Revision date: January 16, 2023

What is the difference between denbu and oboro?

Oboro and Denbu look the same, and the ingredients are also pretty much the same. In other words, there are no clear differences between them, but what it is called differs depending on the restaurant’s policy and the locality. There are various theories for this, but there is no clear line distinguishing oboro and denbu.

Denbu (田麩) is mainly boiled white fish that is then loosened and made into fibers, then seasoned with sugar, mirin, salt, etc., then roasted until the moisture is gone. Some are colored with red food coloring (called sakura denbu) while others are left as the brown color similar to tsukudani. The appearance is as if only the fibers of the original ingredients remain. This is why it was written with the kanji “田夫” (the literal meaning of kanji: rice patty+husband). The word “田夫” means “someone from the countryside” or “rough-cut” and refers to the way the fish is turned into a coarse form by pulling the meat apart. It is also used as a coloring for chirashizushi, futomaki (large sushi rolls), bento boxes, etc.

On the other hand, Oboro (朧) is made by using a grinding bowl to break down the meat of shiba shrimp or white fish, then seasoning with sugar, mirin and salt before removing the moisture over low heat. Oboro is used for bara-chirashi, futomaki (large sushi rolls), etc., and is also sometimes used between the topping and shari (vinegared rice) in nigiri sushi. This gentle sweetness and the shrimp aroma are essential for Edo-style sushi. Making oboro is laborious work, so there are fewer and fewer Edo-style sushi restaurants that make their own oboro.


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Revision date: February 1, 2021

What is imitation crab?

One of the common ingredients of sushi rolls is imitation crab. In Japan this is called kanikama, in Europe, it’s called surimi and in the US it’s also called fake crab.

I’m sure everyone reading this has tried it before, but what is imitation crab made of?

It seems kanikama was invented in Japan. In the early 1970s, Sugiyo, a fish paste manufacturer, in a failed attempt to developed artificial jellyfish, ended up with a product that had a texture exactly like crab and shifted development to that instead.

The “kani” of “kanikama” means “crab”. “Kama” is an abbreviation of kamaboko, which is boiled fish paste, fish sausage, or fish cake. Its official name is “crab-like kamaboko”. The main ingredient is minced fish meat mashed into a paste. One of the whitefish used in Alaska pollack. But it contains no crab. Incidentally, there is actual crab in the kanikama sold in the US and Europe.

It has now become a staple not only in sushi rolls, but also in sandwiches or on baguettes and even on takeout salads. It’s become even more popular than it is within Japan.

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sugiyo


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Revision date: June 22, 2020

 

Drinking tea makes sushi taste better!

Even if you order beer or sake at sushi restaurants, your meal will always end with a cup of tea. But if you’re going to go out for sushi, you should really start drinking that tea earlier instead of saving it until the end. The tea at sushi shops is far more significant than a simple beverage. Especially when eating fatty tuna or bonito, tea plays a role that beer and sake simply cannot fulfill.

The key is in its hot temperature.

Hot tea works to dissolve the fat left on the tongue. Traces of fat is left on your tongue when you eat fatty sushi. It covers the taste buds like a film, subtly inhibiting your sense of taste. It would be a shame to miss your chance to experience the full range of flavors on your visit to a delicious sushi restaurant. No matter how much you drink, beer and sake can’t do anything about this thin film.

But drinking hot tea dissolves the fat and washes it away. Tea can also be considered a type of preparation for enjoying the next piece of sushi.

Another fun fact, sushi teacups are bigger than traditional tea cups because sushi chefs used to man their food stands alone. They just didn’t have enough hands to be constantly refilling tea while also pressing the sushi. The stands used large teacups so they wouldn’t need to be refilled as often.

Related contents:
GREEN TEA THAT PAIRS WITH SUSHI

What are Konacha and Mecha?


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Revision date: September 8, 2022

How to make sushi rice for Nigiri sushi by a sushi master

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

In order to bring sushi to life, it is extremely important how sushi rice (shari or vinegared rice) 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 most important point here is to keep the water level which includes the rice consistent (The first tip).

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 sushi rice 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.

(Ingredients)

Rice:360cc

Water:330 – 340cc

Komezu (Rice vineger):50 – 60cc

Salt:1 tsp – 2 tsp

Sugar:1 tbsp plus 1 tsp – 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp

*If you use Akazu (Red vinegar made from fermented sake lees), add almost no sugar.

See Sushi dictionary


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Revision date: September 15, 2022

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 the 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 has 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”

Related contents: TYPES OF SALMON

See Sushi dictionary


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Revision date: May 9, 2017

List of Seaweed roll (Makimono)

This refers to Norimaki, originating from Kanpyo maki. Now the core of Norimaki may be made from a number of different ingredients, but the most important part of Norimaki is not the ingredients inside, but the Nori (seaweed). There is a tendency for foreigners to dislike black-colored food, but Nori has a fresh sea scent, and a high amino acid and umami content, so it’s worth a second look.

The Nori used in Norimaki and Gunkan-maki is essential to Edomae sushi. The Nori used in sushi absolutely must have good fragrance and crispiness, melt in your mouth and have the right coloring. The combination of selecting the quality and source site of Nori and using different Nori according to the sushi topping is one of the things sushi chefs are particular about. During the Edo era, the sea near the area that is now Omori in Tokyo was the largest production site of Nori. However, with the reclaiming of Tokyo Bay, Nori can no longer be caught in Omori. Now, places like the Ariake Sea, Seto Inland Sea and Tokyo Bay are famous for producing high-quality Nori.

*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

kanpyo 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


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Revision date: October 15, 2020