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Eating Sashimi

Enhance your knowledge of sashimi and prepare for your next Sashimi meal! Get various sashimi ingredients and kitchenware delivered straight to your door with Umamicart.

Eating Sashimi


What is Sashimi?


There are a lot of Japanese restaurants and so many sushi fans around the world, but do you know the difference between sushi and sashimi? Sashimi, known in Japanese as 刺身, which roughly means “pierced body” or “cut meat”, consists of raw foods sliced into diagonal and thin slices for consumption in Japanese cuisine. It most commonly refers to sliced fresh raw fish, but also includes other seafoods and meats. It is not to be mistaken as sushi, which is rolls of vinegared cooked rice rolled in sheets of nori, or seaweed, and with additions of various garnishes such as vegetables, egg, meat, and seafood wrapped inside the roll. As opposed to sushi, sashimi is just the raw food items alone. Since it is a direct tasting experience, the fish or meat is held to a very high standard.

 

How to Eat Sashimi

 

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Many Japanese chefs view sashimi as one of the finest quality foods in Japanese dining. Hence it is usually eaten before various strong flavors influence your palate. 


Sashimi can be eaten by itself or enjoyed while drinking some beer or sake (Japanese fermented rice alcohol). While sushi can be traditionally eaten with our hands, the proper etiquette to eat sashimi is never to be eaten with hands, but instead with chopsticks. 


Alongside the primary sliced seafood or meat, sashimi may be garnished with daikon (Asian white radish), shiso (Japanese perilla leaves), kogiku (chrysanthemum flower), or even benitade (red water pepper sprouts). Some sashimi also include a dab of wasabi (strong horseradish paste) or grated ginger on the piece. It is typically served on a plate and eaten with dipping sauces like soy sauce or ponzu (a citrus-based sauce) for meat sashimi. 


Wasabi is known to be able to kill many types of harmful bacteria or parasites found and also inhibit microbe growth. This is a strong motivator for people who may not enjoy the strong taste and effect of wasabi to consume wasabi as a way to prevent potential food poisoning. In addition to the spiciness of wasabi, it is also very aromatic. To keep the aroma given by the wasabi, put an appropriate amount on top of the sashimi before dipping it into soy sauce. Alternatively, consumers may mix soy sauce with wasabi paste and dip each sashimi piece into the mixture. 


Sashimi can be eaten by itself or enjoyed while drinking some beer or sake (Japanese fermented rice alcohol). While sushi can be traditionally eaten with our hands, the proper etiquette to eat sashimi is never to be eaten with hands, but instead with chopsticks. 

 

 

Types of Sashimi


There are many varieties of sashimi, but listed here are seven large categories of sashimi (some of which you can easily find on Umamicart):

 

Sashimi Home Delivery - Salmon, Kingfish, Tuna & more | FishMe —  fishme.com.au

  • Sake (Salmon): Salmon is among the most popular types of sashimi and easily recognized by its bright orange color. Similar to maguro, the meat from the belly is fatter, more tender, and juicier. You need to be careful about consuming raw salmon because salmon can carry parasites. The salmon we eat is usually either from farmed salmon, which is free from parasites, or wild caught salmon that has been frozen to get rid of these parasites. Wild salmon is typically preferred for its high fat content and flavor than farmed salmon.

 

  • Maguro (Tuna): Made from bluefin tuna, this fish is divided into grades based on fat content. 
    • Akami comes from the top of the fish, along the backbone, and has a dark red color. It is the leanest tuna, but it’s usually the cheapest type of tuna because its low fat content means it doesn't have as much of the omega-3 health properties that are found in tuna fat.
    • Toro comes from the fish’s belly, and is the fattiest part of tuna. It is usually pink, in much lighter shades than akami. Chutoro is medium fatty tuna, and otoro is fatty tuna.
  • Hamachi (Yellowtail or Japanese amberjack): Another very popular fish used for sashimi, hamachi has a rich, buttery flavor. The belly is usually used for making sashimi and the upper part of the fillet is used for nigiri sushi, which is ​​a bite-sized rectangular chunk of sushi rice topped with a piece of sashimi
  • Hirame (Flounder): A mild-flavored firm white fish that can be white with hints of pink if taken from the top side of the fillet, or grey with dark veins if from the bottom. Hirame quality is best during the winter season, when its fat content is highest. It can be aged for several days to maximize flavor and texture. 
  • Saba (Mackerel): This is an oily, strong-flavored fish that is well-favored especially when extremely fresh and often cured with vinegar and salt before it is served. 
  • Tai (Sea Bream): Another white fish, tai sashimi is firm and savory, with a slightly sweet flavor, it can be farmed or wild-caught. It's traditionally cured between layers of kelp to bring out more complex umami flavors. 
  • Katsuo (Bonito): This red-fleshed sashimi is also made with tuna, specifically Skipjack or Bonito, and the fat content of Katsuo can vary. The most popular method to enjoy Katsuo is the “katsu no tataki”, where the fish is lightly seared on the outside and raw the inside. It is then thinly sliced and its strong flavors make it well paired with ponzu, and green onions, garlic, ginger, or wasabi. 

Additional sashimi varieties could include uni (sea urchin), tako (octopus), ika (squid), hotate (scallop), ikura (salmon roe), and amaebi (sweet shrimp).

 

 

Sashimi at Home

‘Sashimi-Grade’ explained

When you see a piece of fish labeled sushi- or sashimi-grade, that means that the seller has deemed the fish as safe for raw consumption. It is used to identify the fish supply that is the freshest, highest quality, and treated with extra care to limit the risk of food-borne illnesses, where the fish usually undergo a freezing process before it is sold. 


It is worth noting that the term is not officially regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA does issue advisory regulations on procedures for safe handling of fish meant for raw consumption, including the different times and temperatures required for certain fish to be deemed safe for raw consumption.


A recipe to use with Sashimi

Read our guide for cutting sashimi to learn how to prepare your own sashimi at home! Here is a sashimi recipe we want to share with you using tuna (or any other desired fish substitutions such as salmon) with daikon and ginger:

 

Tuna Sashimi Recipe With Daikon and Ginger

Ingredients

Directions

  • Prepare the dipping sauce
    • Add mirin and sake to a small pot and bring to a boil.
    • Turn off heat and add soy sauce, tamari, and bonito flakes
    • Mix well and cool to room temperature
  • Plating
    • Square off the daikon with a very sharp knife (this Japanese kitchen knife is recommended), slice into very thin sheets, then stack those sheets and cut into thin shreds
    • Toss daikon shreds into a bowl of ice water to make sure they're all separated. Then gently dry out the daikon and arrange some on the plate
    • Grate the ginger and form it into a small mound next to the daikon shreds
  • Prepare the tuna
    • Using your sharpest knife, cut tuna into a block. Then slice thin strips off the tuna block. Do this with one motion (do not saw the fish); start with the part of the knife's edge closest to the handle and then draw it back toward you in a smooth motion
    • Arrange fish on the plate over the daikon
    • Finish off by adding the garnishes and enjoy!


Check out this Surf & Turf Luxe Set to get started on making your own sashimi and sushi at home!

More Recipes!