Making Sushi at Home, part 5: seafood

fatty tuna belly

fatty tuna belly

To westerners the word “sushi” implies sushi rolls with fish toppings, or sushi rolls with fish inside, outside or both. And while it’s true that the origins of sushi were the result of people trying to preserve fish, a lot of “sushi” served in Japan actually features vegetables.

Tuna is the most popular fish ingredient in Japan, and top grade bluefin is an expensive delicacy. For gaijin (westerners) we use sushi-grade yellowfin tuna due to a very limited supply of the bluefin. In recent years there has been a large increase in the availability of the choice fatty cuts of tuna called “toro” largely due to tuna farming in South America. You can find top quality fatty tuna belly (toro) online, but most people should be able to purchase sushi-grade tuna from their local fishmongers or specialty grocers.

Hamachi / yellowtail

Hamachi / yellowtail

Hamachi, or in the west Yellowtail, is a very popular fish due to its delicious flavor and soft, delicate texture. In Japan it is enjoyed in different seasons corresponding to the stages of life of the fish. Order some top grade Hamachi here.

Salmon is the most popular sushi fish in the United States due in part to its constant availability. In colder places in the west, salmon is usually found in the sushibars. It does not seem to be prevalent in Asian countries.

Other popular sushi seafood items are too numerous to list here, but popular favorites include octopus (tako), crab (or in the west usually crab stick – kani), surf clam, squid, salmon roe (ikura), flying fish roe (tobiko), freshwater eel (unagi), shrimp, marlin, sea urchin roe (uni) and more.

monkfish liver

monkfish liver

Some of the less common seafood items enjoyed in sushibars include geoduck clam, monkfish liver (ankimo), blowfish (fugu), saltwater eel, raw/sweet shrimp (ama ebi) and so many more. The ankimo is our recommendation – its creamy taste will delight when served with a bit of ponzu.

If your local sushi chef recommends these items to you then by all means try them!

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