Sashimi is often regarded as a delicacy in Japanese formal dining, usually paired with daikon. Thinly cut pieces of usually big fish like tuna and salmon, paired with the right accompaniments, make sashimi a superb appetizer.
Preparing sashimi is relatively easier than sushi and nigiri. Fewer steps are required, but if the fish is not cut properly, it won’t have the same flavor. Learning the correct way to cut sashimi is an essential skill for any novice chef that has a passion for Japanese cooking. This writing will teach you the entire process of cutting fish and other raw meats to prepare sashimi.
What Should You Know About Sashimi?
Firstly, let’s look into some of the knowledge we must be aware of in relation to sashimi.
Many people often confuse sashimi with sushi and nigiri. Sushi consists of fish, rice, and other ingredients. Rice is seasoned with a mixture of vinegar and sugar to give the raw or cooked fish a delicate, acidic flavor.
Nigiri is a type of sushi where the rice has been seasoned, shaped into a ball and then it is topped with a pristine slice of raw fish. Creating a perfect piece of sushi is a skill that can take a sushi chef many years to perfect.
Sashimi is even more straightforward. This dish consists solely of tasty, uncooked seafood, usually served on top of a daikon radish, a Japanese variety.
Sashimi is distinct from other sushi dishes in that it does not come with rice. The main emphasis is on the delightful and exquisite uncooked fish.
How is Sashimi Different From Sushi and Nigiri?
Although they have some similarities, sashimi is the most fundamental one. After all, it’s just raw sliced meat, often fish. Sushi and nigiri have rice flavored with vinegar, while sashimi refers to simply unseasoned raw fish.
Sushi is a mixture of rice flavored with vinegar, with cooked or raw fish, as well as other fresh components like avocados and cucumbers, all enclosed in dried seaweed known as nori. The food is then chopped into small pieces and can also be adjusted to fit in with a vegetarian lifestyle.
Nigiri is raw fish cut into slices that is laid on top of a bed of rice which has been mixed with vinegar. Since nigiri is quite similar to sushi, a lot of people view it as a variety of sushi instead of as a unique dish.
You could say that although sushi and nigiri share many components, such as vinegared rice, sashimi only consists of raw seafood with soy sauce and daikon radish as additional garnish.
Sashimi Nutrition Facts
Sashimi can provide your body with a hefty dose of protein but no carbs, as well as fats which help promote heart health. This snack item has a low amount of calories and provides an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating raw protein can help with tissue repair and healing wounds, but it is important to not have too much. You don’t want to subject yourself to the dangers that come with consuming uncooked fish daily. Also, some fish have considerable amounts of toxic heavy metals, such as mercury. It is important to be mindful of how often you eat because it can pose risks to your health.
To find the nutritional information for sashimi, you must examine the nutritional information for the raw form of the meat used. It is difficult to be exact about the calorie count, protein content and other dietary elements of a serving of fish, as the nutritional values of fish vary. Approximately 120 calories, 20 grams of protein, 150 grams of salt, and 5 grams of fat can be expected for every 100 grams of sashimi.
Pay Attention To The Grain
No matter which cutting style you’re using, it is usually best to cut against the grain. The grain of the meat is composed of the strands which run alongside it. It is essential to remember this when making sashimi, no matter which cutting method is used.
When preparing blocks of fish or meat, take the grain of the pieces into consideration as it may have various directions in a single item. Build your blocks accordingly. Even if the cut of meat is tiny, roughly the size of your palm, look for the pattern of the grains and break it down so that each section is parallel to one another. It is not important to try to get the largest filet; however, it is important to get one that is reasonably sized.
Now that you have obtained your piece of meat, you may begin to cut it. There are three main techniques for cutting fish or other meats for sashimi. According to the type of food that you are serving sashimi with and the presentation style you have chosen, you can utilize one of the various Japanese chopping techniques.
What Are The Different Sashimi Cutting Techniques?
There are a few different techniques for cutting sashimi. The methods vary depending on what sort of cut you make, and you will use a unique technique based on which type of fish you have chosen. These are a few of the most frequent sashimi cutting methods.
The hira-zukuri technique of cutting sashimi consists of creating rectangular slices, which is the most widely used and conventional method. This is the most straightforward approach, and it can be done with the majority of knives. If you are concerned that you don’t own a suitable knife for slicing sashimi, this is likely the ideal option. Here is how to cut sashimi hira-zukuri way.
- Place the filet on the cutting board.
- With your knife’s edge utterly straight on the filet, start making slices, each about half an inch thick.
Japanese people usually like the slices of food they eat to be upright, and the size of the pieces should be such that it allows that to occur. However, do as you wish and desire. The most suitable way to prepare sashimi with a hira-zukuri style is to use salmon, tuna, and kingfish.
Usu-zukuri and hira-zukuri are both similar in form, however the former is significantly more slender. The aim of usu-zukuri cutting when preparing sashimi is to produce oblique cuts that are delicately wafer-like. Japanese kitchen knives, which have thinner blades, are considered to be better than those of Western design when it comes to intricate cutting jobs.
- With the filet lying on the cutting board, make an initial cut to reveal the meat’s inside.
- Start cutting the filet, creating slices that are 2mm thick.
- Make your slices slow, but not too slow to the point you’re creating unnecessary friction. Otherwise, the fish may tear up. A thin, razor-sharp blade is always handy for these kinds of slices.
When one is cutting food for sashimi dishes, particularly white fish such as flounder, whiting, haddock, and bream, it is usually done with the usu-zukiri cutting technique. It is recommended to use a single bevel Japanese slicing knife due to the thin blade that works best for this cut.
The sogigiri cutting style is another method of slicing sashimi into thin pieces. This cutting method, called sogigiri, requires slicing the fish at an angle to achieve a shaving cut. The goal is to make slices that are very thin but have a larger surface area, instead of thinner cuts that go all the way through the object. Here is how to cut fish sogigiri way.
- Since you’ll slice at a changed angle, it’s best to cut exactly perpendicular to the grain. Locate where the grains run and make an initial cut holding the knife’s edge at a pivoted angle – say 45 degrees.
- Start slicing the filet following the same angle, with each slice 2mm apart.
- Additionally, you can change the angle when you’re about 4/5 into the portion and finish off with a straight cut. Doing this gives a distinct finish to each piece on one side.
The three most popular and basic techniques used to slice seafood and other uncooked meats for sashimi are the hira-zukuri, usu-zukuri, and sogigiri cuts. However, there are other strategies, though they are not nearly as common.
Other Japanese Cutting styles
These cutting techniques include kaku-zukuri and ito-zukuri. The kaku-zukuri basically refers to dicing the main ingredient. Cut the sashimi into cubes that are approximately 3/4 of an inch wide. Read more on how to dice ingredients.
As simple as it gets, ito-zukuri is like julienne. Using this slicing technique, you slice the fish into very small pieces. Each strip should be less than 2mm thick. The ito-zukuri is mainly preferred for squid and garfish.
How Can I Prepare Sashimi?
Having gained invaluable insights concerning sashimi, we’re now in a good position to make this exotic dish for ourselves.
Choose Your Fish
A wide variety of fish is available for sashimi. Before selecting a species, you should be aware that no type of freshwater fish can be utilized. Due to their increased vulnerability to parasites, freshwater fish are typically deemed not suitable to be eaten raw.
Salmon is distinctive because it is able to live in both saltwater and freshwater environments. When purchasing salmon, it is wise to get a filet that has been frozen using a sashimi freezer in order to rid it of any dangerous parasites.
When it comes to saltwater fish, there is an abundance of options available.
You don’t need to limit yourself to just salmon and tuna when it comes to sashimi – there are plenty of other options available! Look at other amazing possibilities such as Izumidai (tilapia), hamachi (Japanese amberjack), amaebi (cold water northern shrimp), and yari-ika (squid). There is a vast range of possibilities available, each boasting its own distinctive flavors.
Clean the Fish Accordingly
Now’s the time to clean the fish properly. If you are dealing with full salmon fillets, you must take away the tough white stripe going through the center of the fish.
Generally, it is necessary to cut off any parts of the fish which are covered in blood or have too much fat on them. It’s time to get out your kitchen tweezers, as you may need to take out any bones!
Run your fingertips along the sides of the filet to detect the bones and use tweezers to remove them.
Choose the Cutting Technique of Your Preference
Hira-zukuri is the most straightforward and preferred option for those who are just getting started with preparing raw fish, so it is recommended that beginners start with this method. As you become more experienced with your fishing techniques and try different types of fish, you can move up to utilizing the kaku-zukuri or usu-zukuri techniques.
It is essential to note that when cutting sashimi, do so with only a single swipe of the knife per cut. This will result in the neatest cut, while sawing back and forth might cause crooked cuts and cause your pieces to come apart.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the most popular fish used for sashimi?
Nearly every kind of fish is suitable for sashimi, however, certain kinds are more popular. This involves marine species like salmon, tuna, sea bass, bream, snapper, flounder, and halibut. Many types of seafood, such as squid and octopus, are preferred in the form of sashimi, aside from just regular fish. Any fish that has a minimal chance of containing parasites is suitable to be used for sashimi.
Can I eat sashimi while pregnant?
It is not recommended to eat sashimi or any other uncooked seafood when pregnant, based on information from foodsafety.gov. This is also applicable to vulnerable people, such as seniors, infants, and those who have long-term illnesses. This is a somewhat contested theme since there is no evidence to suggest that eating uncooked fish during pregnancy is harmful for one’s health. It is possible to consume sashimi during pregnancy as long as it is from a dependable eatery and the fish has acceptable mercury content. It could be a good idea to wait until after delivery to consume raw seafood.
How to store sashimi leftovers?
You don’t need to throw away sashimi leftovers. It’s alright to put them in the fridge and have them at another time. Plastic wrap the remaining sashimi and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Sashimi can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours following the right procedures for storing it, similar to what is done with freshly caught fish.
Can I get sick from eating sashimi?
You should feel normal after eating sashimi. Sashimi should not cause any reactions when eaten. Be aware of possible signs of food poisoning such as a fever, a queasy stomach, impaired vision, throwing up, and lack of fluids. Here are the most frequently seen signs of food poisoning from eating spoiled sashimi and uncooked seafood.
You don’t need to go to an expensive restaurant to enjoy the amazing tastes and textures of sashimi, a popular Japanese food item. You can do it right in your own home.
What is holding you back now that you understand the process of slicing seafood for sashimi?