The core component of sushi is not fish or seafood, but the sticky, seasoned rice that accompanies it. The rice can be rolled into a style that many Americans are familiar with (maki), served with thinly sliced fish on top (nigiri), or even served in a bowl before being topped with various fillings (chirashi). No matter what type of sushi you prefer, the key is to ensure that your restaurant sources high-quality fish and other ingredients.
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What Is Sushi?
While most people associate sushi with raw fish, rice is the most important ingredient of sushi. The dish always consists of short-grain Japanese rice typically referred to as sushi rice, this rice is a Japonica variety (more specifically, the Koshihikari cultivar).
Japonica is a medium-grained rice that tends to have a more rounded shape. It has a much higher starch content than most other types of rice, with high levels of amylopectin. This starch makes sushi rice much stickier than other varieties, which makes it ideal for molding it into sushi and picking it up to eat with chopsticks.
Sushi rice is always prepared with a specific type of vinegar, known as sushi vinegar. It is made of rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. In fact, the term “sushi” actually refers to the sour flavor of the rice prepared with vinegar.
A Guide to Different Types of Sushi
Common types of nigiri include unagi nigiri (grilled freshwater eel), maguro nigiri (raw tuna), ebi nigiri (cooked shrimp that has been butterflied), tamago nigiri (omelet), sake nigiri (raw salmon) and hotate nigiri (raw fresh scallop). The fish or seafood will typically be thinly sliced and then placed delicately on top of the sushi rice.
Maki sushi could contain almost any ingredient – including the more unique combinations that some sushi restaurants in the U.S. create. There are four main types of maki sushi: (1) hosomaki is any small maki sushi with just one filling; (2) kappa maki is made with a cucumber filling; (3) tekka maki has a raw tuna filling; and (4) futomaki is a “fat roll” that has several fillings.
Uramaki is very popular in the United States, while traditional maki sushi reigns supreme in Japan. Typically, the sushi is sprinkled with black sesame seeds that cling to the sushi rice. Common types of uramaki sushi include California roll (with crab, avocado, and cucumber), rainbow roll (like a California roll, with slices of colorful fish like tuna and salmon on top), dragon roll (filled with cucumber, grilled eel, and shrimp tempura, then topped with sliced avocado), and spicy tuna roll (filled with raw tuna, sriracha, and sesame oil, and topped with spicy mayonnaise).
Similarly, some restaurants serve a type of temaki sushi that is referred to as a sushi burrito (or sushirrito). Like temaki sushi, it is made with a sheet of nori and traditional fillings. However, instead of the fillings sitting in a cone-like shape, they are wrapped up like a burrito, with the nori acting like a tortilla. This is definitely not a traditional style of sushi!
There are a few variations of chirashi sushi. Tokyo style (edomae chirashi) contains a raw seafood topping, such as salmon, squid, scallops, or tuna). Osaka style (gomoku chirashi) is made with cooked ingredients and decorative toppings such as fish roe and lotus root.
Sashimi can also be cooked, such as unagi (grilled eel). Because the goal of sashimi is to highlight the quality of the fish, there are rarely other accompaniments. This also means that it is important that the restaurant purchases its seafood from trusted suppliers.
Different types of sashimi may include ahi (raw tuna), hamachi (raw yellowtail fish), uni (raw sea urchin), sake (raw salmon), tako (raw or poached octopus), unagi (cooked freshwater eel), and ebi (cooked shrimp). Whether cooked or raw, the dish is often served on a bed of sliced daikon radish with dipping sauces like soy sauce or ponzu on the side.
Want to Serve Your Sushi To Go? Budget Branders Can Help.
Based in Michigan, Budget Branders works with independently owned and operated food service businesses across the United States. We offer the highest quality disposable products, such as custom plastic cups, custom ice cream bowls, custom coffee cups, custom coffee sleeves, custom plastic stadium cups, custom ripple cups, custom soup bowls, and custom sandwich bags. Each of our products is fairly priced and sold in smaller quantities to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
If you’re considering using branded disposable products in your restaurant, we are happy to help. To learn more or to request a quote, contact us today by pressing the live chat button, or sending us a message online.