Food seems a popular source of color inspiration here at COLOURlovers and one of my favorites types of food is sushi.
So while searching for other COLOURlovers who might also be sushi lovers, I was pleasantly surprised to be in good company after stumbling across subsomatic’s all-you-can-eat-sushi post. And, after a quick keyword: sushi search, I discovered 130+ palettes inspired by sushi!
OK, for some, the words raw and fish hardly sound appetizing but fresh raw fish is served in many ways and in many different countries and cultures. Carpaccio, ceviche, poke, tartare, gravlax are just a few.
But, sushi is not raw fish. In Japan, sliced fresh raw fish served alone is called sashimi. Also, sushi can be sushi with fish — cooked or uncooked — or without fish. What makes sushi different from sashimi is the sushi rice (rice with vinegar or shari). Since sushi is created in a variety of ways depending on the combination of ingredients, sliced fresh raw fish prepared with sushi rice is just one variation of this culinary art form.
Fast Food Origins
While often perceived as designer food especially when dolled up and served in upscale establishments, sushi as it is known today, originates from the streets of Tokyo. It all started with one man with a simple stall:
Yohei Hanaya, was the first person to shape vinegared rice with his hands and then crown it with a slice of raw fish - prompted, it's said, by impatient customers, who couldn't be bothered to wait for the traditional pressing in a box.
(Source: The Observer Food Monthly)
Apparently his creativity became all the rage simply because of convenience. It was the finger food 1820’s Tokyo. And, even then because of the lack of refrigeration, debate continues about how much of Mr. Hanaya’s sushi fish was actually served raw.
Global Variation on a Theme
Nigiri sushi hasn’t changed much in the last couple of centuries and still remains one of the more popular types of sushi perhaps only second to maki sushi.
For those not familiar with the difference, here’s a quick rundown (with photos) of some of the more common types of sushi:
Nigiri sushi: Prepared with a small mound of sushi rice formed by the hands into an oval shape with a topping such as sliced fish. A small amount of wasabi is placed between the sushi rice and topping. Sometimes it is wrapped with thin band of nori, a type of seaweed.
Maki sushi: A rolled sushi typically cut into six or eight pieces and traditionally prepared wrapped in nori. Some variations on maki sushi include hand rolls (cone-shaped temaki), stuffed sushi (inari) and inside-out rolls (uramaki). This is also the type of sushi that has evolved the most in creative presentation and ingredient combinations.
by Merlijn Hoek
Oshi sushi: This is sushi pressed in a box or mold and then cut into small pieces.
Temari sushi: A more ornamental style shaped into balls with the ingredients molded into the sushi rice with a plastic wrap.
And, one of my favorite types of sushi is chirashi sushi: a bowl of sushi rice with a variety of fish and other toppings scattered on top of the rice.
These types of sushi are just the basic forms from which to create the masterpieces served today. As sushi goes global and ever more popularly-palatable, the ingredients and its combinations are what sets the sushi of today apart from any other time in its history. The California Roll of the 1970s may have caused master sushi chefs to cringe, but it was the combination of ingredients — avocado, crab and mayonnaise — that quite possibly liberated sushi from Japan (and perhaps raw fish) and into the fashionable circles it travels today.
Who would have thought that the earliest sushi technique, said to be thousands of years old, would evolve to include bacon, apples, pepperoni or cream cheese? I wonder if Mr. Hanaya would be in awe of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa?
Sushi Inspired Palettes
And for some more fun, a not-too-serious video on sushi etiquette.
Share your sushi lovin’
Where do you like to eat sushi?
If you make sushi, share some tips!
Got inspired? Make a palette and share it!
Don’t like sushi and still like a palette? Click here and vote for one now.
And, if you haven’t joined already, become a member of subsomatic’s sushiLovers.
One Important Sushi Note
Toro and Maguro fans: The Bluefin tuna has been overfished and the population has drastically declined; nearing extinction. Because the species is a more slow-growing the rate of fishing combined with the increase in fish consumption (this includes sushi) is contributing to its rapid decline.
Title by ulterior epicure