Learn all about the history of Japanese sushi, sushi preparation, different types of sushi, authentic sushi ingredients, and sushi appreciation at Sushi PRO!
This is the most common form of sushi found at sushi restaurants, and for many people this type is sunonymous with sushi.
Nigirizushi consists of a hand-pressed mound of vinegared rice which is pressed between the palms of the hands, with a thin slice of a topping possibly held in place with a thin strip of nori.
The sushi chef may decide to prepare each piece with a bit of wasabi applied to the underside of many of the fish toppings.
Assembling nigiri-zushi requires a surprising level of skill to do correctly, and is commonly served two per order.
It is sometimes called Edomaezushi, which reflects its origins in Edo (present-day Tokyo) in the 18th century.
Makizushi - A cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat, called a makisu.
Makizushi is generally wrapped in nori, a sheet of dried pressed laver that encloses the rice and fillings, but can occasionally be found wrapped in a thin omelette.
Makizushi is usually cut into six or eight pieces, which constitute an order.
Futomaki - A large cylindrical piece, with the nori on the outside. Typical futomaki are three or four centimeters diameter.
They are often made with two or three fillings, chosen for their complementary taste and color.
During the Setsubun festival, it is traditional in Kansai to eat the uncut futomaki in its cylindrical form.
Hosomaki - A small cylindrical piece, with the nori on the outside.
Typical hosomaki are about two centimeters thick and two centimeters wide. They are generally made with only one filling.
Kappamaki - A type of hosomaki filled with cucumber, is named after the Japanese legendary water imp who was fond of cucumbers, the kappa.
Tekkamaki - A type of hosomaki filled with tuna.
"Tekka" is a Japanese casino and also describes hot iron, which has a color similar to the red tuna flesh.
Uramaki - A medium-sized cylindrical piece, with two or more fillings.
Uramaki differ from other maki because the rice is on the outside and the nori within.
The filling is in the center surrounded by a liner of nori, then a layer of rice, and an outer coating of some other ingredient such as roe or toasted sesame seeds.
Typically thought of as an invention to suit the American palate, uramaki is not commonly seen in Japan.
The California roll is a popular form of uramaki.
A special type of nigiri-zushi: an oval, hand-pressed clump of sushi rice (similar to that of nigiri-zushi) that has a strip of nori wrapped around its perimeter to form a vessel that is filled with the topping.
The topping is typically some soft ingredient that requires the confinement of the nori, for example, roe, natto, or (a contemporary fusion) macaroni salad.
The gunkan-maki was invented at Kyubei restaurant (est. 1932) in Ginza and its invention significantly expanded the repertoire of soft toppings used in sushi.
A large cone-shaped piece, with the nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end.
A typical temaki is about ten centimeters long, and is eaten with the fingers since it is too awkward to pick up with chopsticks.
A pouch of fried tofu filled usually with just sushi rice.
It is named after the Shinto God Inari, whose messenger, the fox, is believed to have a fondness for fried tofu.
The pouch is normally fashioned from deep-fried tofu.
Regional variations include pouches made of a thin omelet or dried gourd shavings.
A block-shaped piece formed using a wooden mold, called an oshibako.
The sushi chef lines the bottom of the oshibako with the topping, covers it with vinegared sushi rice, and presses the lid of the mold down to create a compact, rectangular block.
The block is removed from the mold and cut into bite-sized squares.
A bowl of sushi rice with the other ingredients, also referred to as barazushi.
Edomae chirashizushi (Edo-style scattered sushi) Uncooked ingredients artfully arranged on top of the rice in the bowl.
Gomokuzushi (Kansai-style sushi). Cooked or uncooked ingredients mixed in the body of the rice in the bowl.