Updated: January 12, 2018
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The Ultimate Guide to Sashimi - Types, Definition, How To Make And Eat It

Sashimi is one of the traditional Japanese dishes that is as popular as sushi. Do you know the origin of sashimi? How many types 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.

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 types of sashimi;

Toro (fatty tuna)

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Maguro (tuna) is one of the most popular types of fish for sashimi as well as sushi. There are some different names depending on which part of tuna is used. The fatty parts are called "toro" (the fattiest part is "Otoro"), and they are characterized by having more marbles.

Akami (red meat of tuna)

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Another type of tuna sashimi is "akami", which literally means "red body". It is low in fat and has more fishy flavors. It is cheaper than toro.

Salmon

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Salmon is another common and popular type of fish. The fatty part of salmon sashimi is also called "toro-salmon".

Buri (yellotail)

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Buri is a cheaper kind of sashimi and you can easily find in a grocery store. It has a bit of harder texture. Young buri is called "hamachi" and the best season for buri is winter.

Katsuo (bonito)

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Katsuo sashimi is commonly eaten after grilling it slightly.

Sanma (pacific saury)

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Sanma is a very common autumn fish in Japanese cuisine. People eat it raw as well as grilled.

Iwashi (sardine)

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Iwashi is also a type of autumn fish. It has a soft texture and you can even eat the fine bones.

Saba (mackerel)

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Saba sashimi is usually marinated.

Fugu

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Fugu is a very interesting and unique ingredient because this fish has a strong poison that could kill people. Chefs need a special license to serve fugu in Japan. It tastes great and of course, you can eat it without worrying about the poison!

Tako (octopus)

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Tako has a very different texture from other fish sashimi. It is chewy and gummy.

Ika (squid)

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Ika has a similar texture to octopus, but more slippery. There are actually many fans of tako and ika in Japan for their unique texture.

Hotate (scallop)

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There are various kinds of shellfish sashimi and hotate is one of the most come types. It is said to have an exquisite sweetness.

Akagai (ark shell)

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Akagai literally means "red shellfish" and is also called "blood cram" in English for its color. It quite a hard texture.

Basashi (horse meat)

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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 nutrition

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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!
haru
I love traveling and eating. My favorites are everything matcha and cheesecakes.

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