Updated: July 04, 2017
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The Ultimate Guide to Sashimi - Definition, Types, How To Make And Eat

Sashimi is one of the traditional Japanese dishes that is as popular as sushi. Do you know the origin of sashimi? How many varieties of sashimi do you know? Do you know the recipe and the traditional way of eating sashimi? After you read this article, you will love sashimi more with more knowledge!

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History and Definition

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Sashimi (刺し身) is very fresh raw fish (or also meat) that is thinly sliced and served uncooked. The word sashimi literally means "pierced body (of fish and meat)" in Japanese. They started to call sashimi back in the 14th century to avoid using kirimi (切り身/cut body) because they considered the word "kiri" (cut) as a bad word.
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Sashimi became popular in Edo (today's Tokyo) in the 17th for mainly two reasons. 1. They developed the techniques of fishing and started to get abundant of fresh seafood. 2. Soy sauce was spread. It made the flavor of raw fish less fishy.
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above = sashimi / below = sushi
Sashimi and Sushi (nigiri) is totally different in Japan but the difference is very simple. The dish where you eat sliced ingredients themselves is called sashimi, and if the ingredients are topped on rice, it's called sushi.

Various types of sashimi

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A variety of ingredients is used for sashimi. Usually sashimi refers raw fish, but they also use meat and other seafood like shellfish. What is the most important and significant for sashimi is the freshness the ingredients. The more fresh the sashimi is, the more flavorful without fishy taste and nicer texture.

Examples of major sashimi ingredients;
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Tuna (maguro) and salmon (sake) are the top of sashimi that are commonly eaten. Especially the part of tuna and salmon called "toro" is very fatty and popular.

Other fish like yellotail (hamachi, buri), sardine (iwashi), bonito (katsuo), mackerel (saba) are also often seen.
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Hugu is very interesting and unique ingredients because this fish has a strong poison that could kills people. They need a special license to serve fugu in Japan. It tastes great and of course you can eat safely!
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There are those who loves octopus (tako) and squid (ika) sashimi. They have very different texture from the fish sashimi, chewy and gummy.

Many kinds of shellfish are also used.
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Raw horse sashimi (basashi) is often seen in izakaya (Japanese style bar) as it goes well with drinks like sake and beer.

Calories and nutritions

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Calories and nutrition in sashimi vary in fish and the part of the fish. Sashimi is not cooked and seasoned a lot, so it is healthier. For example, tuna sashimi has around 40kcal/30g, containing great amount of protein, vitamin E. Salmon has almost same calories as tuna and high in EPA and DHA that lower blood cholesterol levels.

How to make sashimi

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Since sashimi is the most simple dish, there is no recipe. All you need is fresh ingredients (usually use a block found in a grocery stores) and a sharp knife. You need to cut carefully and neatly.

How to eat

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Sashimi is served with soy sauce and condiments like wasabi paste and grated fresh ginger. The savory soy sauce goes well with sashimi and the strong taste of wasabi and granted ginger give a kick to sashimi nicely. In Japan, sashimi set meal is always served with rice and miso soup too.

The ultimate dish of natural taste

Sashimi is very simple yet delicate dish that has been loved by the Japanese for a long time. Try various kinds of sashimi and find your favorites!
I love traveling and eating. My favorites are everything matcha and cheesecakes.

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