The History and Types of Sushi

Sushi is a famous Japanese cuisine made from fish, rice, vinegar, salt and sometimes cucumber. The making of sushi dates back even prior to the year 1336 but the contemporary sushi we know today was invented by Hanaya Yohei during the period of 1799 up to 1858.
The secret in the preparation of sushi is the fermentation and preservation of fish with rice and salt. The success behind the fermentation of fish in rice is that the vinegar that will be blended on the fermented rice should break the fish into amino acids. This would result to one amongst 5 basic tastes, termed as "umami" in Japanese.

Moreover, the oldest form of sushi in Japan called the "Narezushi" still closely resembles this process. In fact, in Japan, "Narezushi" evolved into the so-called "Oshizushi". Then, it ultimately became the "Edomae Nigirizushi". As this process evolved, making it much better than the last, this is actually what is famous and known throughout the world today as "sushi".

In the years 1336 up to 1573, during the Muromachi in Japan, vinegar was being added to the mixture for sushi. This is in order to give it a better taste and for an enhanced preservation of the fish. Thus, it is actually the added vinegar that marks the rice's sourness, and it is the main factor that expands its life span.

Hence, the contemporary version, which is internationally known as "sushi," was invented by Hanaya Yohei during the period of 1799 up to 1858, which is also at the latter part of the Edo period in Edo, Japan. The sushi that was invented by Hanaya was then an early form of fast food. It was not fermented. This is why it was prepared very quickly. This type of sushi can be eaten anywhere, even using your bare hands while on the road or in a theatre.

Initially, this type of sushi was recognized as "Edomae zushi". This is due to the fact that fish that is freshly-caught are the ones used in the "Edo-mae" (Tokyo Bay or Edo Bay) process. Although this type of fish found only from Tokyo Bay is not the one being used in Sushi, it is still formally known as "Edomae nigirizushi".

Types of Sushi

-Sushi rice- This sushi is also known as "Shari" in Japanese.
-Nigiri-zushi- This is the most typical form of sushi in restaurants. It consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that is pressed between the palms of the hands, along with a speck of "wasabi" and a slice of topping called "neta" draped over it.
-Gunkan-maki - A type of nigiri-zushi, which has an oval shape. It is a hand-formed clump with sushi rice that has a strip of "nori" covered around its perimeter in order to form a vessel that is full of toppings.
-Maki-zushi - This is a circular piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat called a "makisu". Makizushi is generally covered with "nori" as well. This is occasionally found rolled in sesame seeds, thin omelet, parsley or cucumber, or parsley.
-Futomaki - This is large and round shaped, with "nori" on the outside.
-Hosomaki - A tiny cylindrical piece, with "nori" on the outside.
-Kappamaki- This is also a type of Hosomaki that is filled with cucumber. It is named after the Japanese legendary water imp who is very fond of cucumbers called "kappa".
-Tekkamaki - This is also a kind of Hosomaki that is full of raw tuna fish.
-Negitoromaki - This is also a kind of Hosomaki that is filled with scallion and chopped tuna. Fatty tuna is commonly used for this style.
-Tsunamayomaki- This is also a type of Hosomaki that is full of canned tuna along with mayonaise.
-Uramaki - A medium-sized circular piece with "mothe" two fillings.
-Temaki - A huge cone-shaped piece of "nori" on the outside and the contents are spilling out on its wide end.
-Inari-zushi - A kind of stuffed sushi with some fried tofu that is filled with sushi rice only.
-Oshizushi - This is sometimes called "pressed sushi". It is a square-shaped piece that is formed with the use of a wooden type of mold, termed as "oshibako". It has a bite sized shape making it very easy to eat.
-Chirashizushi- This is a type of scattered sushi.
-Edomae chirashizushi - This type of sushi has a raw ingredient that is creatively fixed on top of the sushi rice.
-Gomokuzushi - This type of sushi has either cooked or raw ingredients mixed into it, along with rice in a bowl.
-Narezushi- This is an older form of sushi. Skinned and gutted fish are stuffed into it, along with salt. Then this is placed in a hard wooden barrel and sprinkled with salt again.
-Temarizushi-This is the very famous type of sushi. This has a round-shape, which was accomplished by pressing the fish and the rice into a ball-shaped form using only the hands while placing it in a plastic wrap.
-Sushi rice- This type of sushi is made up of with white, short-grained, Japanese rice that is mixed with a kind of dressing made from sugar, rice vinegar, salt, and sometimes sake and kombu.

Thus, the Nori indicated in these types of Sushi is the green colored substance wrapped in certain kinds of Japanese foods. It is an algae, which is traditionally cultivated in Japan.

Fun Facts about Sushi:

1.January 1992: A 325 kg Bluefin tuna was sold for $83,500 in Tokyo, Japan. This tuna was sliced to about 2,400 servings of sushi and sold for $75 to rich people there. It earned a total of $180,000. At the time, the fish held the record for being the most expensive fish.

2.October 12, 1997: In Yoshii, Japan, they made the longest sushi roll. Around 600 people made the kappamaki or cucumber roll that reached approximately 1 km or 3,281 feet long.

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