Introduction: The Perception of Japanese Cuisine

When it comes to Japanese cuisine, many people immediately think of sushi and ramen. These dishes have become synonymous with Japanese food in popular culture, and are often the first things that come to mind for those unfamiliar with the cuisine. However, this narrow view of Japanese food fails to capture the true depth and variety of this rich culinary tradition.

Beyond Sushi and Ramen: The Variety of Japanese Cuisine

Japanese cuisine encompasses a wide range of dishes and ingredients, each with their own unique flavors and preparation methods. From delicate sashimi to hearty udon noodles, from savory tempura to sweet wagashi desserts, Japanese cuisine is a treasure trove of flavors and textures. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 40,000 different dishes in Japanese cuisine, making it one of the most diverse in the world.

Regional Specialties: Exploring the Flavors of Japan

One of the most fascinating aspects of Japanese cuisine is its regional diversity. Each region of Japan has its own unique culinary traditions and ingredients, resulting in a vast array of flavors and styles. For example, the seaside town of Kanazawa is famous for its seafood dishes, while the mountainous region of Nagano is known for its hearty soba noodles. From the fiery spices of Kyushu to the delicate flavors of Kyoto, exploring the regional specialties of Japan is a culinary adventure in itself.

Traditional vs. Modern: The Evolution of Japanese Cuisine

Japanese cuisine has a rich history that dates back centuries, and many traditional dishes continue to be enjoyed today. However, Japanese cuisine has also evolved and adapted over time, incorporating new ingredients and cooking techniques. For example, fusion cuisine has become increasingly popular in recent years, blending traditional Japanese flavors with Western influences. This fusion can be seen in dishes such as sushi burritos and matcha lattes.

Cultural Significance: The Rituals of Japanese Dining

Japanese cuisine is not just about the food itself, but also about the rituals and traditions that surround it. From the meticulous preparation of sushi to the communal hot pot of nabe, Japanese dining is steeped in cultural significance. Even the simple act of pouring tea is elevated to an art form in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. These rituals and traditions add another layer of richness to the already vibrant world of Japanese cuisine.

Conclusion: Appreciating the Diversity of Japanese Food

While sushi and ramen may be some of the most well-known Japanese dishes, they are just the tip of the culinary iceberg. Japanese cuisine is a vast and diverse world, full of rich flavors and fascinating traditions. By exploring the regional specialties, embracing the evolution of Japanese cuisine, and appreciating the cultural significance of Japanese dining, we can gain a deeper appreciation for this unique and delicious food culture.

According to a well-known myth, there is treasure hidden at the end of every rainbow. However, you don’t have to go on a long treasure hunt for these gems, because you can easily bring the rainbow home with you: Rainbow sushi is currently the hottest trend in the colorful food world. EAT SMARTER tells you how the beautiful colors work.

Colorful bites

Milk foam, rainbow bagels, and melted cheese already shine in the bright colors of the rainbow – and now also the fine fish specialty from Japan: rainbow sushi is one of the hottest trends in the food sector. What looks here, as if someone had rediscovered their paint box and went wildly wrong because there is work and patience behind this rainbow art.

This is how rainbow sushi succeeds

The individual layers of rice, which will later shine in the colors of the rainbow, first have to be colored before they are carefully rolled up. This works great with natural dyes such as turmeric for yellow, matcha for green, or beetroot for a pink tone. Depending on how much “color” is used, the color and flavor intensity of the sushi will also change.

The colored pieces of rice are then placed one after the other on the algae sheet so that longitudinal stripes form. The only thing missing is the ingredients for your favorite sushi, which are placed lengthwise in the middle. Roll the whole thing up carefully and tightly, cut into bite-sized pieces and the rainbow sushi is done in its brightest colors!

Finger food is so healthy

The typical ingredient for sushi is fish of all kinds: salmon, tuna, or eel are either rolled in seaweed sheets or placed on rice balls. A healthy choice because fish contains essential fatty acids, important minerals, and high-quality animal protein.

With only around seven grams of fat per 100 grams of sushi, the meal is also one of the lower-fat variants with a low-calorie content. The fine ingredients are rolled in dried nori sheets, which are loaded with iodine and other trace elements. The fresh vegetables then provide the necessary vitamin kick! There’s more to the little rolls than you think.

Japan is the country that gave us healthy food, which includes the world’s most widespread dish “sushi”. It began to spread around the world since the 70s, but has conquered the world only recently. Since sushi and rolls are a rather specific dish that not everyone will like, they reworked it and introduced something new familiar to Europeans a huge number of times.

  1. Wasabi or Japanese mustard, as many call it, should be kept in the refrigerator for no more than 2 weeks.
  2. If ingredients fall out of the roll during cooking, press down on the ends (edges) with your fingers.
  3. For making sushi, you should use rice varieties with round short grains.
  4. In order for the rolls and sushi to have smooth edges and look beautiful when cutting, they should be cut with a very sharp knife with a thin blade.
  5. When preparing rolls and sushi, the nori should be placed with the shiny side on the mat, and the dull side on the inside of the roll.
  6. Store dried nori in a dry place.
  7. There is pickled ginger between meals of different types of sushi – this allows you to better feel the taste of the new dish. And so that it does not lose its taste and useful qualities, ginger must be properly stored.
  8. In order for sesame seeds to be fried quickly and evenly, they should be fried in a well-heated frying pan without oil.
  9. A bamboo mat (a special mat for making sushi and rolls) is an indispensable attribute of both a beginner and a professional sushi master. Many people unknowingly use a plastic bag to shape. However, such rolls and sushi do not hold their shape well and fall apart.
  10. Sushi is a perishable product and is recommended to be eaten within 2-6 hours. After the allotted time, the dish loses its taste.

Japanese cuisine has so long and firmly entered our lives that among your friends there can easily be more sushi lovers than salads. So throwing a sushi party is a very tempting idea. But what if your first attempt at making sushi on your own failed? Then this article is especially for you.

  1. Have you ever cut a tomato with a dull knife? Exactly. The fish knife should be very sharp. And long. To prevent a slice of fish from falling apart, it must be cut off in one, maximum two movements, then the slice will be smooth, even and, most importantly, whole. If you completely hit the authenticity, there are special Japanese knives for cutting fish and sushi with one-sided sharpening. Our chefs start every day with a sharpening knife. And before cutting the rolls, the knife is barely moistened with water. The fish should be cut at an angle of about 45⁰ along the grain, so that the slice will not fall apart.
  2. It’s hard to imagine Japanese cuisine without rice. But unlike rice, which we use for porridge, pilaf and other dishes, to prepare sushi we need a different type of product and a different method of cooking. First, the rice must be round grain. In stores, this rice is usually marked “for sushi”. Such polished grain is quite sticky, but at the same time it does not stick together in a lump. Of course, if you cook it properly. And it is necessary to cook clearly to the degree of al dente (when the rice is already ready, but has not yet lost its elasticity), in no case should it be overcooked. To simplify the task, you can use a slow cooker or rice cooker, in which the product will be ready in 25 minutes. You can add a special dressing of rice vinegar, salt and sugar to the finished rice – in addition to giving a special taste, it will allow the rolls to keep their shape better.
  3. The importance of choosing good fresh fish is hard to overstate. Take fish that has been shock-frozen. Temperatures from -18⁰C to -30⁰C kill absolutely everything that your stomach may not like. Buy fish in trusted stores, and in no case “off hand” in some spontaneous market. Choose vacuum-packed fish in stores.
  4. An indispensable sauce for most Japanese dishes is sold in our stores in powder form. Don’t worry, there is no chemistry in it, it just keeps the grated green Japanese horseradish. In order for it to take the form you know, it must be diluted with boiled water at room temperature. But be careful, when mixing the powder with water, the fumes are the same as when chopping onions. The strength level can be controlled independently – the more water, the less burning your wasabi will turn out to be.
  5. Wasabi. The correct soy sauce consists of only 4 ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt and water. Read the composition carefully. It is advisable to buy soy sauce in a glass bottle – it is stored in it much longer than in a plastic container. Also, soy sauce can be sold concentrated or already diluted. Again, study the label. Restaurants serve ready-to-eat sauce, but when ordering delivery, couriers bring in a concentrate (as written on the cap), which must be diluted to taste.
  6. Before making your sushi, make sure you have the correct bamboo curling mat. Many novice “home sushi” use a plastic bag to shape the rice, which is fundamentally wrong and unproductive – the rice will still fall apart. So you can’t do without a mat. So, put the rice on nori (green sticky seaweed) and put it on the mat, after wetting your hands with vinegar water, evenly lay out the other ingredients – the filling, and twist with effort. We fix it for a few seconds and carefully unfold it. The result is the perfect rice sausage. Cut it with our super-sharp knife soaked in water and sprinkle with sesame seeds or other spices to taste. Knowledge, patience, sleight of hand and a little magic.

In fact, sushi is very simple: rice, fish, and various additives like cucumber or avocado. However, in order for your sushi to turn out really cool and not worse than in a restaurant, we advise you to adhere to a few rules.

  1. The knife is the main participant in the preparation of sushi after you. Therefore, he must be at his best. That is, it must be very sharp. Therefore, do not be too lazy to sharpen it before starting your culinary experiments. Choose knives with wooden handles: when wet, they won’t slip in your hands. Such knives in Japan are called “bento” and are used to make sushi.
  2. All ingredients must be exceptionally fresh or, as they say in the markets, the freshest. Otherwise, you risk not only tasteless rolls, but also your own health: we think we don’t need to say that stale fish is dangerous. In addition, whatever fish you choose – fresh, smoked or dried – it is important to cut it correctly. Do not cut tender fish fillets as they will lose their presentation. Here we go back to rule number one: the sharp knife.
  3. Fig. It is very important to prepare it properly. Sushi is made from warm round-grain rice prepared using a special technology. 460 g of rice requires 750 g of water. Rice must be washed and dried for an hour, then placed in a saucepan with a tight lid, pour in water and cook over minimum heat for 5 minutes after boiling. Then it needs to be steamed for 12-15 minutes on low heat, remove the pan from heat, remove the lid and cover with a towel for 15 minutes. Then gradually add vinegar dressing to the rice and let it dry.
  4. Mat. That is, the rug with which the rolls are rolled. It should be made of bamboo so you can press the sushi rice properly. Many beginners use a plastic bag for these purposes, but it does a poor job: rice will quickly fall apart.
  5. Acetic water. When forming sushi by hand, use vinegar water. It is convenient to wet your hands in this solution during cooking and rinse them after working with rice. To make vinegar water, mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water.
  6. Proportions. Do not coarsely chop the sushi ingredients; this can impair the appearance and taste of the dish.
  7. Nori. Supermarkets sell sliced nori sheets, which are convenient only for making traditional sushi. If you bought these algae by mistake, don’t throw them away. Lay the sheets tightly together and crush a few boiled rice at the joints. This technique will help you easily glue nori and use them to prepare any kind of sushi.
  8. Wasabi. Do not get carried away by it. An excessive amount of this sauce will not let you enjoy the taste of the dish, because its sharpness dulls the taste buds.
  9. Eat immediately. Sushi should be eaten immediately, because this dish, prepared from fresh products, deteriorates very quickly. The maximum shelf life of sushi is six hours, provided that special boxes are used.

Many people think that making sushi at home is very difficult. But after trying it once, you will understand that everything is not so scary. It is important to know a few simple cooking secrets.

  1. The main thing in sushi is the quality of the products. Therefore, you should not try to save money on them: rice, vegetables, fish and nori – everything should be first-class.
  2. For cooking, use only special rice, which can be bought in any supermarket. It can be replaced with inexpensive round grain rice, but this will inevitably affect the taste. Rice should be cooked as written on the package. Rice should not be overcooked. To make the rice sticky, a special sauce is added to it, which is easy to prepare. To do this, take 50 ml of rice vinegar, 30 g of sugar and 10 g of salt. Heat the vinegar slightly over a fire, add salt and sugar and place until smooth.
  3. Making sushi is not a problem, the situation is a little more complicated with rolls. To prepare the rolls, you will need a special bamboo mat – makisu. You should also prepare tezu. This is vinegar water (1 part rice or other vinegar is mixed with water) that is used in the sushi making process to prevent rice from sticking to your hands. Rice for making sushi and rolls should be warm.
  4. Next, you are required to wrap all the ingredients of your rolls prepared in advance in a nori seaweed sheet. Place the nori on the makisu, aligning the edges. Using your fingers dipped in tezu, spread the rice over the entire surface of the leaf, leaving only two small strips at the bottom and top. Place the filling on the bottom third of the sheet.
  5. If you want the rice to be outside, place the rice on top of the nori, then place the nori on a damp cloth and again on the makisu with the rice facing down. This way, when you roll up the roll, the rice will be outside. When folding the roll, make sure that the edge of the makisu does not wrap inward.
  6. It is important to cut the prepared rolls correctly. To do this, they must first be cooled in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes so that they harden and do not crumble. The knife for cutting rolls should be very sharp, and so that it does not get stuck in the roll, you can soak it in vinegar water or hold it under running water.

Sometimes you want to make delicious sushi or hot rolls at home. How to choose the most important component for them – rice? Nothing seems to be easier. However, choosing the right rice and preparing it will depend on the quality of the final dish.

  1. Not all types of rice are suitable for making sushi and rolls. Usually, round grains of rice with a high starch content are chosen for this dish so that the final product has sufficient stickiness. The following varieties can be recommended: Kokuho, Kahomai, Maruyu, Minori and Nishiki, but you can limit yourself to absolutely any round grain, opaque rice.
  2. Choosing the right sort of rice for sushi is half the battle. It is much more important to cook it correctly so that the rolls turn out to be canonical and tasty. It is necessary to cook the rice in such a way that balls can be easily molded from it.
  3. It is washed first. At this stage, due to the treatment with water, all dirt, dust and husks, as well as excess starch, are washed off the rice. Important! Rice must be rinsed with cold water until it becomes completely transparent, otherwise it will burn to the bottom of the pan during cooking. Some adherents of Asian traditions are sure that clean water should be passed through rice nine times. After that, you will need to drain all the liquid from the rice, leaving it to dry.
  4. Now it’s time for cooking. To cook rice properly, it is important to maintain the correct proportions. For water and rice grains, they are 1: 1.25. Let’s choose a saucepan in which we cook ordinary rice. You can add nori algae to the pot to add a sea-scent flavor while boiling. After boiling, it is removed. Adding other ingredients will add spice and extra flavor to the rice. Try using rice wine or even sake for this.
  5. The final stage is rice dressing. Spread the boiled rice in an even layer in a container, evenly pouring rice vinegar mixed with salt and sugar on its surface. In this case, the rice must be mixed. After stirring, the rice should be transferred with a spatula to one half of the container. Then each portion is leveled with a spatula to allow each rice grain to soak in the vinegar. When the rice is spread over the bottom, cover it with paper towels for the final soak.

Only professionals who have perfected their skills for years can tell about the secrets of making perfect sushi. Just cook rice and just chop fresh fish? Not so simple! We got first-hand information about the little tricks – talking with an expert of a Japanese restaurant chain.

  1. Buy regular white rice and you’ll never boil it to perfection. You need round grain or special Japanese rice. Fish also has its own subtleties. With the one that lies on the ice in the supermarket, you can never be sure that its shelf life has not expired or is not close to that. In addition, such fish are often weathered and hygiene suffers. We recommend taking fish fillets in a vacuum, on which the production and expiration dates are stamped on the package, and not printed on a sticker – they are often re-glued.
  2. You can use a rice cooker, but a multicooker will do. Cook in the “Rice / cereal” mode for no more than 25 minutes. Do not stir the rice to avoid damaging its texture. The correct consistency of rice is not to leave it al dente, but also not to digest it. To make the rice easy to shape, it should be seasoned with a special dressing made from rice vinegar, salt, sugar and Kombu algae (you can do without algae, as this is already a “professional” level).
  3. It is very simple to clean fish fillets from bones: run your hand “against the grain” and you will feel where the bones are hidden. Tweezers are the best way to remove bones. It is necessary to cut fish fillets with a very (VERY!) Sharp knife against the fibers at an angle of about 45⁰. We never drank fish! Try to cut 1 piece at a time (for which, in fact, we need a very sharp knife). Remember – it is extremely important not to damage the fiber structure so that the fish pieces do not fall apart.
  4. There is a concentrated soy sauce, which must be diluted with boiled water before use, and there is a ready-to-use one. Pay attention to the label. Check the composition – there are only 4 (!) Ingredients in an authentic soy sauce: soybeans, salt, wheat and water. Keep in mind that in glass containers the sauce will last longer than in plastic containers. The stores sell dry wasabi powder, which turns into a sauce we are used to when mixed with boiled water at room temperature. Choose the consistency of the sauce to taste: the more water, the more liquid and less spicy the sauce will be. Do not mix wasabi with soy sauce in the same container. The Japanese do not do this, and they certainly do not soak the whole sushi in this solution, because the rice will become too salty and crumble right in the gravy boat. Sushi should be dipped in soy sauce from the side of the fish, and a little wasabi should be applied directly to the slice you are going to put in your mouth.
  5. Going the simplest way and getting by with ordinary processed cheese will not work – it does not suit the taste of nori, fish or seafood at all. The most suitable option is, of course, Philadelphia cheese. But there are also more budgetary, but no less tasty and suitable options – Buko and Almette cheese. As a last resort, you can add Viola or Feta cheese, but the taste of such rolls will be noticeably different from what we are used to eating in specialized restaurants.

With these tips, you will have the most delicious sushi ever!

  1. Moisten the fish with a damp cloth to make it easier to remove the scales. Holding the fish head firmly, scrape off the scales with a knife or grater in the direction from the tail to the head.
  2. Do the same for the other side of the fish. When cutting fish, always hold it by the head or tail. Place the fish belly towards you with the head on the left side. Peel back the fin with a knife and cut deeply into the flesh at the edges of the gill covers towards the pelvic fin until you cut the spine. Separate the head, then remove the insides.
  3. Then rinse the fish thoroughly in salted water, especially you gutted abdominal cavity. Dry the fish with a cloth. Place the fish obliquely on a cutting board with the tail facing you so that the belly is facing to the right. Cut from the pelvic fin to the tail. Flip those fish. Along the back of the carcass, cut the flesh to the ribs from right to left.
  4. Flip the fish to the other side along the axis. Use the edge of a knife to cut through the flesh at the edges of the bones that form the rib cage. Separate the body from the carcass. Flip the fish bones down and separate the flesh from the spine from the tail to the head.
  5. Flip the fish axially to the other side. Separate the flesh from the spine at the base of the tail. Free the body. Remove the remaining rib bones from the fillet.
  6. Place the body on a cutting board, skin side down, with the tail piece to your left. Make an incision at the base of the tail, grab the skin with your left hand, insert a knife between the skin and the flesh and use a sawing motion to separate the skin from the flesh.
  7. Use tongs to remove the remaining bones in the meat.
  8. If the body is too long, cut it in half along the line of the spine.

Making sushi is a very exciting process. It takes very little time, and the pleasure of homemade sushi is much more, because they are made with your own hands.

  1. Fish and shellfish with crustaceans used to make sushi must first of all be fresh, since in most cases they are eaten raw. Knowing the freshness of whole fish, chunks of fish, shellfish with crustaceans and other seafood will allow you to choose the freshest and therefore most delicious fish in the fish market or the best preserved frozen fish in a large store if possible.
  2. It is especially important that the whole fish is fresh, that is, not gutted with all the insides. When examining such a fish, make sure that the scales are not damaged and shiny, the flesh is elastic, the eyes are black and transparent, not bloody, the belly is hard, the gills are bright red. And of course, the absence of any fishy smell! Dull eyes and dirty gray gills clearly indicate that such fish must be boiled.
  3. When buying fish cuts, make sure the flesh is firm and shiny and the blood on the cuts is bright red. Since the meat loses its flavor and becomes crumbly when you wash the pieces of fish, it is best to buy the whole fish and cut it at home.
  4. Having bought fish, you should cut it up as soon as possible, and then store it in the cold. If you are going to cook the fish soon, place it in the refrigerator, wrapped in a pre-damp cloth. If the cut fish will be in the refrigerator for more than half a day, put it in a plastic bag. Opened fish dries up in the refrigerator.
  5. The taste of frozen fish depends on how deeply it is thawed. Fish will thaw best if placed in the refrigerator overnight, where it will thaw gradually. But if you are in a hurry, thaw the fish in salted water: put freshwater fish in a solution with 1/2 teaspoon of salt per 4 cups of water; for sea fish, take 1 tablespoon of salt in 4 glasses of water. This will avoid the loss of many of the flavors. But you can’t let the frozen fish thaw completely. As soon as it can be cut with a knife, then it is ready for further processing.