Squid and octopus

A photo of aori ika nigiri
Bigfin reef squid (Aori ika)

Bigfin reef squid (Aori ika)

【Nigiri sushi: Ika (Squid)】
What does Aoriika (Bigfin reef squid) nigiri sushi taste like?
Bigfin reef squid has the highest glycine amino acid content of any squid, which gives it a sweet taste. Its delicious flavor has been scientifically proven. It is one of the more expensive sushi ingredients due to its scarcity. The sushi chef shows off impeccable knife skills making small cuts (Kakushi boucho) on its firm flesh in order to make it easier to bite and bring out the sweetness in the flesh. It is often served with salt and sudachi(small citrus fruit similar to Yuzu).

A live Aoriika changes its body color shade from black to transparent, but by Ikejime, the flesh remains alive for a while, i.e., colorless and transparent, and the internal organs are visible through it. For those that died without Ikejime or by direct contact with ice, the flesh changes to white, and the internal organs do not show through.

It is often said that Aoriika is more delicious and sweeter after maturing in the refrigerator. The scientific explanation for this is that when fish die, a substance called adenosine triphosphate is broken down into inosinic acid, umami component. In other words, maturing increases umami.

However, in the process of moving from rigor mortis to decomposition, Aoriika and Sumiika have the characteristic that decomposition proceeds only from adenosine triphosphate (ATP), through adenosine diphosphate (ADP), to adenosine monophosphate (AMP).

Since adenosine monophosphate is not a strong umami component like inosinic acid, it cannot be said to increase umami. However, the reason why it is described as an increase in umami may be the combination of glutamic acid, which is inherent in squid, and the AMP produced, which gives the squid a unique flavor.

Trivia: The main components of the sweetness and umami flavor of Bigfin reef squid are amino acids such as glycine, alanine and proline, and glycine especially emphasizes the sweetness.

Also called Oval squid.

【Related contents】
What is used as a substitute for the expensive Mongou ika?

List of Squid (Ika) and Octopus (Tako)

(Revision date: January 8, 2024)

Main production area

Chiba Aichi

Famous production area

Sajima Futtsu Owase