I am not going to go into an anthropological discussion of Sushi 寿司 or 鮨. It has many different forms but the one common ingredient is “vinegared” rice or “su-meshi” 酢飯 or “sushi-meshi” 寿司飯. An old form of sushi was salted fish and rice fermented for preservation without refrigeration. Lactic fermentation adds “acid” to the food, among other things, including an awful smell. A good example is “Funazushi” フナ寿司. We tasted this in the past but only as a very tamed version in a small quantity. The most common and popular form of sushi involves pieces of fresh raw or cooked fish without fermentation on a small ball of vinegared rice. This style originated in the Edo era (16-19 century) and was called “Edo-mae-zushi” 江戸前寿司 or “Nigiri-zushi” 握り寿司. Another popular style is rolled sushi or maki-zushi 巻き寿司 including hand-roll or “Temaki-zushi” 手巻き寿司. By far the most home-cook friendly type of sushi, however, is scattered sushi or “Chirashi-zuahi” ちらし寿司. I have previously posted variations of chirashi-zushi. Here I made “nama-chirashi” 生ちらし(meaning “raw” scattered sushi) or “Kaisen-chirashi” 海鮮ちらし( meaning fresh seafood scattered sushi) for lunch one day. It consists of pieces of sashimi 刺身 topping a layer of venegared rice.
The slices of cucumber are genuine Japanese cucumber (not American mini-cucumber) and tasted better. I served this with miso soup (tofu, nameko mushroom).
Sushi rice: This was made from imported Koshihikari コシヒカリrice from Niigata, Japan (subject for another post). I seasoned it with sushi vinegar from the bottle.
Topping: All the pieces came from a toro block I purchased from Catalina. This toro block did not have any chiai 血合い. #1(in the picture below) is the pure fat just underneath the skin. This time I left a layer a few millimeters thick on the skin and then removed it as a single layer. I cut it into rectangles. #2 is the more traditional fatty portion or Ootro. I salted it and then torched it with my handy kitchen flame-thrower (no kitchen should be without it) to make “aburi” 炙り. #3 is medium fatty tuna or Chu-toro 中トロ. #4 is wild caught hamachi which was fairly lean rather than oily. #5 is uni and the slices of cucumber are Japanese cucumber I got from our Japanese grocery store.
I made a rather thin layer of sushi rice, covered it with thin strips of dried nori and put the sashimi and cucumber on top. I happened to have Sashimi-jouyu* 刺身醤油 I made several days ago and painted it on each piece of sashimi with a brush. I served wasabi and additional sashimi-jouyu on the side.
* Sashimi-jouyu: You can buy this special type of soy sauce in a bottle or make it yourself. There are many variations. The most famous is “Tosa-jouyu” 土佐醤油. I used soy sauce, mirin, and sake (2:1:1) ratio and added about equal amounts of broth made from shaved dried bonito flakes or katsuo-dashi カツオ出し. I then simmered the mixture for 10-15 minutes until the amount reduced to 2/3. I placed this in a sealable jar in the refrigerator. The amount of each ingredient can be adjusted to your liking. Instead of bonito broth, you could use water (to make it “pure” soy sauce flavor). You could also use much less mirin and sake or even add sugar.
The pure fat layer was particularly good. Usually, this layer is very firm. I cut it into small cubes and dressed it in ” sumiso” sauce but this time the layer was not too firm and melted in your mouth. This was a rather decadent lunch and we even had a bit of cold sake.