There’s no missing out on the sushi revelation that has made its way out of Japan and treaded the massive expanse of the whole wide world in such reputation that asserts itself as an identity remarkable indeed. Very prominent in the visage of them occurring as some sort of the whites with the obvious manifestation of the rice surrounded by a thin layer of greenish goodness of the nori of course and largely interpreted- to appalling extents of it almost- in being absolutely encompassing of at least some sort of raw fish that makes though for only part of its reality, sushi today is a global phenomenon that needs no introduction. In fact the universal popularity of sushi dates back further to even more than a decade and in such measure of it that warranted for a day exclusively dedicated to extolling and enjoying this unique delicacy of immense adaptability.
With June 18 having been designated as the International Sushi Day, the celebration of it for years now since its inception in 2009 only speaks further of the widespread fame that this much loved food of all times has been enjoying in all its sufficiently balanced incorporation of nutrition and taste, not to forget a whole lineage in legacy that it emerges forth as a tradition continuing in its modern form for close to two centuries now with roots even far entrenched in ancientry. On the occasion of the global observance of the day celebrating this regional specialty, here’s taking a look at some of the more unique types of sushi to exist in all exclusivity of them-
Sushi might be predominantly fishy- or so the popular notion about it goes but it does not actually have to be that. Case in point one of the most unique and appetising indeed sushi, one that comes wrapped in thin sheets of delightfully yellowed hued omelette instead of the classic green encasing of the nori for a change. Rice, sushi rice of course is seasoned and further mixed with a melange of exotic almost ingredients even as the equally flavorful omelette wrap of it also incorporates within itself not just the obvious ingredient of the egg but also potato starch to make for a sushi variant impeccable indeed in its taste as well as aesthetics.
In its somewhat sweet and sour taste and the definite vision of its yellow vibrancy enhanced by a thin strip of kelp to keep indeed the seaweed factor intact but intended actually to hold the chakinzushi in its pocketed place, this aptly named sushi reminiscent of the thin tea towel called chakin in Japanese and also alternately known as fukuzushi makes for quite a different experience to savor even when catering still to the classic sushi classification.
The sushi interpretation from where the aforementioned further sushi interpretation took inspiration to take a detour to the world of eggy wonder, chakinzushi is preceded by the variant called inarizushi. An almost vegetarian sushi type in that its whole ingredients happen to be just some sushi rice with some fried tofu manifesting as the star of the show, inarizushi however isn’t really veg in its traditional alluding to the sushi realm. Whatever that might be, the essence of this sushi is different still in all its deep fried delectableness of the tofu pockets and stems for a premise as different as well.
Named after the Shinto God Inari and originally prepared in the 19th century when they were sold as snacks in front of shrines, this religiously inclined recipe at least in the name of it made also for offerings to the fox statues made to manifest there as messengers of the God. In fact these immensely popular finger foods almost of Japan also prominently displays pointed corners resembling very much the appearance of fox ears!
The preparation of the inarizushi is no less interesting a process as well. Tofu skins deep fried to form hollow pockets that which itself makes for a popular Japanese food called aburaage are boiled and simmered in a dashi based broth for it to absorb its flavors after which it is squeezed and then stuffed with the quintessential sushi rice, sumeshi, either enclosing it completely or sometimes partially for a sweet and savoury and sour taste delivered in its convenient bite shaped size and form is the inarizushi that makes for one of the rare snackish sushi to gobble up in all their versatility of flavor and ‘fervor’ alike.
Very defined in the appearance of them, in their pleasing assertion in symmetry and clear cut shape and structure, oshizushi literally translating as pressed sushi is a rectangular serving of the usually rolled Japanese staple. Custom made in a wooden Oshizushihako or the pressed sushi box that which endows therefore also the name of box sushi or hakozushi upon the oshizushi, this unique style and type of sushi sure is a food to savor also in the look of it.
The toppings go first into the sushi box followed by the vinegar rice forming compact blocks of layered sushi upon compression that is cut into bite sized slices after demolding and then served. This method of layering sushi inside boxes have gone on to take more nuanced essences that allows for a diverse range of flavours to find expression by an enhanced ingredient list making its way into the oshibako. But also nuanced can be this interpretation of the sushi in the essence of it never making use of raw fish but relying instead or cooked and cured ingredients to assert in all distinction the exclusive appeal of this show of the sushi.
It might be one of the most typical of types asserting as the sushi taste but the chirashizushi is surprisingly ‘unsushilike’ in the whole being of it. That’s because instead of resorting to the universal idea in sushi conception emerging as one rolled or pressed or molded or amalgamated in some composite form, the chirashizushi tends to present its residing in coherence in a more scattered manifestation of it. Translating literally as scattered sushi as well and known also as barazushi, this is sushi served in a bowl with a layer of rice, either plain or mixed already with numerous ingredients topped with a variety of raw fish and vegetable garnishes for a very colorful and appetising and much sought after sushi variant in the multiple conveniences of it.
Easy to assemble and fast to make is what makes this filling ‘sushi meal’ so much more popular a staple in Japanese households. Even then though, despite and in all its commonplace appeal, chirashizushi still occurs as as much a special preparation traditionally eaten on annual occasions as Hinamatsuri in March and Kodomonohi in May.
As much as Japan is known for its sushi, it also is characterised in the offbeat appeal of the famously stinking superfood called the natto. Needless to say, natto sushi makes for a classic deliverance in the exact essence of the Japanese taste that combines two of its most treasured identities into one. And given how sushi started off as a fermented version of food, it makes for quite a case in embracing of one’s roots with the natto essence finding its way into the narrative. Very evidently and equally simply, the natto sushi emerges as a preparation that sees the nori enclosing the sushi rice further enclosing the natto with or without additional ingredients as one might fancy. Either way though, this is one of the most filling and healthiest of Japanese foods that one can gobble up as a meal in itself making it therefore a super popular variant of both its constituent identities.
Kit Kat sushi
A novelty indeed on the sushi horizon and one that stems as a commercial rather than traditional variant of it, the Kit Kat sushi has to be one of the most unique interpretations of this loved Japanese food. Given the ubiquitous Japanese fondness for sushi and the globally envied fortune of it being a haven of the Kit Kat bar in an assortment of flavours that get as exotic as they can, it though is quite natural that the classic sushi would be interpreted in some form of it by the as popular chocolate wafer.
And thus it emerged in the year of 2017, the Kit Kat sushi offered in three flavours of the Maguro (tuna), Tamago (egg), and Uni (sea urchin) that actually occurred as tastes of raspberry, Hokkaido melon with mascarpone cheese and pumpkin pudding respectively. Very much almost dessert offerings therefore, the Kit Kat sushi however attempted to imbibe as much of the sushi feel as possible. With crispy puffed rice instead of sushi rice serving as the base for the flavours to unfold and the authenticity somewhat replicated in vision through real wrappings in nori, this eccentric of all sushi variants ever sounds like an interesting treat to taste test.
A sushi different enough in not a singular but dual aspects of its essence is what is characterised by the uramakizushi naming. As a western style sushi that originated most definitely in the US but not very accurately pinpointable in exact origins of it, this literal evoking of the ‘inside out roll’ interpretation stands true to this description as far as the sushi way is concerned. Sushi rice and nori is what still sums up the premise of this particular variant but in a manner that sees the rice wrapping the nori rather than being the other way around. Intended initially in this manner of preparation to hide the nori, this uncommon take upon the Japanese sushi tends to be not so popular in the country not exactly home to this peculiarity in expression. Even then though, uramakizushi still emerges as one of the traditional sushi rolls collectively identifying as makimono but even that does not warrant its popular prevalence in Japanese food culture.
Another upside down sushi and one that also converges into the greater identity of the oshizushi, the battera is generally understood as a mackerel sushi but it can also be prepared with other varieties of fish. A layer of aspidistra leaves act as the coating in which the layer of fish is laid to enclose the inner layer of sushi rice. Served in small rectangle pieces, this might not be the most distinct of sushi types but in rolling two essence into one even as a pressed upside down sushi, the battera sure is quirky enough an emergence from sushiland.
Small ball shaped sushi modelled indeed after the Japanese craft of temari that occur as small and pretty, ornamental almost thread balls, temari sushi is another very aesthetic derivation upon the gastronomically delightful assertion that enjoys global popularity as sushi. Despite all its profound assertion in prettiness, these cute looking bite sized edibles no less delicious are rather simple when it comes to their preparation. Sushi rice is shaped into balls by hand through use of a plastic wrap and elaborately decorated with colorful toppings that in fact are classic sushi ingredients emerging as as diverse as one wants them to be. Indeed the emphasis is more on the appearance of the temarizushi, with vibrancy holding the key to eke cuteness out of the culinary and the reason perhaps why the temari identity finds unfurling across a host of staple Japanese delicacies beyond sushi as well.
Very interesting a variant of sushi that differs from the one immediately preceding it in a mere single letter, temakizushi still is as classic a reiteration of the sushi that can be. Hand shaped indeed like the temari sushi, the temaki though asserts in a cone shaped style such that the nori encompasses a wide range of ingredients prominent indeed in their vision spilling out as they do across the wide end.
Literally translating as hand roll, the temakizushi might also be considered unique in that it completely does away with the typical notion of sushi needed to be eaten with chopsticks in what is believed to be the authentic Japanese style. This is because the unconventional shape of this particular sushi makes it cumbersome to be eaten with anything except the fingers. Quite a departure from the popular perception of sushi in wide ranging universality, the temaki sushi is a very fuss free version of the more technically dignified sushi understanding.