The term sushi denotes the Japanese delicacy, which is primarily made of vinegared rice. This statement may create some confusion among those, who believe that 'sushi' refers to slices of raw fish. However, this is a common misconception associated with this dish. In fact, raw fish is one of the ingredients in some types of sushi. The Japanese use the word sashimi for raw fish slices. Sushi is a traditional Japanese food, which may or may not have raw fish as one of the ingredients. There are different types of sushi, and vinegared rice (or sushi rice) is the major ingredient in almost all of them.
What are the Different Types of Sushi?
There are numerous sushi varieties, which include both traditional and contemporary ones. While you can find a whole lot of traditional sushi varieties, there are innumerable contemporary types developed according to the regional tastes. This makes sushi a popular dish across the globe.
Different ingredients are used for making numerous versions of this dish. So the varying ingredients is the main difference between the various types of sushi. In fact, these ingredients alter the flavor and texture of the end product. The topping, condiments or fillings can be changed to make a different type of sushi. For example, one of the ingredients in some types of sushi is raw or cooked fish. The type of fish used may not be the same for all types of sushi. Likewise, different types of sushi rice can be used. Sushi types may also differ in shape, size, and even the style of serving. It is difficult to provide a conclusive list of sushi types. The following are some of the most common and popular ones.
Oshizushi: This type of sushi has its roots in Osaka (Japan), where people started the practice of using wooden molds for preparing this dish. In this sushi, the ingredients are placed inside a wooden mold, called oshibako. The bottom of the mold is lined with toppings, which are covered with sushi rice. These contents are then pressed with a lid, so that it forms a rectangular block, which is then sliced and served as bite-sized pieces.
Nigirizushi: This is a popular sushi, wherein the rice is rolled into small oblong balls, and is served with wasabi root (a thick green root of the wasabi plant that tastes like horseradish) and toppings; which are usually thin slices of fish, like tuna and salmon. In some types of nigirizushi, the rice and toppings are bound by a thin strip of seaweed, known as nori. This is mainly seen in nigirizushi with toppings, like octopus, sweet egg, squid, and freshwater eel.
Makizushi: Otherwise known as makimono, makizushi is mostly seen as cylindrical pieces. This type of sushi is made by wrapping the ingredients in nori. It is rolled into a cylindrical shape, using a bamboo mat called makisu. Once set, it is sliced into pieces and served. There are various types and subtypes of makizushi, made with different types of filings. Even the shape and size of the slices may vary with the different types. They include futomaki (mostly vegetarian and big slices), hosomaki (with one filling, either vegetable or fish, and small slices), kappamaki with cucumber filling, tekkamaki with raw tuna filling, and tsunamayomaki with canned tuna and mayonnaise.
Inarizushi: This sushi is a little different from the conventional sushi in looks. It is a pouch of fried tofu that contains plain sushi rice and no other ingredient. In some regions, tofu is replaced with a thin omelet.
Chirashizushi: Otherwise known as barazushi, this sushi is served in a bowl, in which all the ingredients are mixed or arranged. As compared to other types, preparing this type of sushi is very easy. The ingredients of this sushi may vary from one region to another. One of the subtypes of this sushi is called gomokuzushi, in which both the cooked and raw ingredients are mixed with sushi rice. Another subtype is Edomae chirashizushi, which consists of a bowl of sushi rice, topped with cooked and uncooked ingredients.
Narezushi: One of the earliest forms of sushi, narezushi is also a traditional dish, which is rarely found outside the Southeast Asian countries, especially Japan. In order to prepare this type of sushi, fish is cleaned, skinned, gutted; and preserved in salt and rice. Traditionally, a wooden barrel is used for weighing down the fish and rice. Once the fish gets fermented, the rice is discarded, and the fish is consumed. It takes around six months for fermentation, and the fermented fish has to be eaten within the next six months.
Types of sushi mentioned above are mostly traditional varieties or those derived from traditional ones. However, there are many other versions of sushi, designed to satisfy the Western food lovers. They are mainly available in the form of rolls that are found in different types. They include the caterpillar roll (with avocado, cucumber and other ingredients); dynamite roll (yellow tail fish, bean sprouts, carrots, and mayonnaise); Philadelphia roll with cooked salmon, cucumber, onion, and cream cheese; California roll with avocado, crab stick, seaweeds, and rice; rainbow roll made of various types of sliced raw fish; and Louisiana roll with blue crab, craw fish, mayonnaise, and hot sauce.
These are only a few of the popular sushi types. A conclusive list cannot be made easily, as there are limitless versions of sushi. You have to experiment with the different types, in order to find out the best ones.