Make Your Own Sushi


Rabu, 01 Oktober 2008


Chopsticks are used to eat most kinds of Japanese foods, with some exceptions. Some of the most important rules to remember when dining with chopsticks are as follows:

  • Hold your chopsticks towards their end, not in the middle or the front third.
  • When you are not using your chopsticks, or have finished eating, lay them down in front of you with the tips to left.
  • Do not stick chopsticks into your food, especially not into rice. This is only done at funerals with rice that is put onto the altar.
  • Do not pass food directly from your set of chopsticks to another's. Again, this is a funeral tradition that involves the bones of a cremated body.
  • Do not spear food with your chopsticks.
  • Do not point with your chopsticks.
  • Do not wave your chopsticks around in the air or play with them.
  • Do not move plates or bowls around with your chopsticks.
  • To separate a piece of food in two, exert controlled pressure on the chopsticks while moving them apart from each other in order to tear the food. This takes some practice. With larger pieces of food such as tempura, it is also acceptable to pick up the entire piece with your chopsticks, and take a bite.
  • If you have already eaten with your chopsticks, use the opposite end to take food from a shared plate.

Knives and forks are used for Western food only. Spoons however, may be used with certain Japanese dishes such as donburi or Japanese style curry rice. A Chinese style ceramic spoon is sometimes used to eat soups.



Wasabi is Japanese horseradish. It is most famous in form of a green paste used as condiment for sashimi (raw seafood) and sushi. However, wasabi is also used for many other Japanese dishes.

Wasabi is a root vegetable that is grated into a green paste. In supermarkets, wasabi is widely available as a paste or in powder form. Wasabi powder has to be mixed with water to become a paste. Wasabi has a strong, hot flavour which dissipates within a few seconds and leaves no burning aftertaste in one's mouth.

wasabi paste

Many "wasabi" powder and paste products that are available in supermarkets (and even some restaurants) contain only very little or no real wasabi at all and are made of coloured horseradish instead. This is due to the fact that cultivation of real wasabi is relatively difficult and expensive.



basic information

Sashimi is thinly sliced, raw seafood. Many different kinds of fresh fish and seafood are served raw in the Japanese cuisine. Sashimi, while similar to sushi, is distinct for its absence of vinigered rice. When slices of fish are served on top of a small ball of rice, it is called nigiri zushi.

Sashimi is usually beautifully arranged and served on top of shredded daikon and shiso leaves. The sashimi pieces are dipped into a dish of soya sauce before being eaten. The daikon and shiso can also be dipped in soya sauce and eaten; both have a fresh, minty taste. Depending on the kind of sashimi, wasabi or ground ginger may accompany the dish and be added to the sashimi as a condiment.

Some of the most popular kinds of sashimi are:

  • Maguro: Tuna
  • Toro: Fatty Tuna
  • Ebi: Prawn
  • Saba: Mackerel
  • Ika: Squid
  • Tako: Octopus



Sushi is the most famous Japanese dish outside of Japan, and one of the most popular dishes among the Japanese themselves. It is usually served on special occasions.
During the Edo period, "sushi" refered to pickled fish conserved in vinegar. Nowadays sushi can be defined as a dish containing rice which has been prepared with sushi vinegar. There are many different types of sushi. Some popular ones are:
Small rice balls with fish, shellfish, etc. on top. There are countless varieties of nigirizushi, some of the most common ones being tuna, shrimp, eel, squid, octopus and fried egg.
Small cups made of sushi rice and dried seaweed filled with seafood, etc. There are countless varieties of gunkanzushi, some of the most common ones being sea urchin and various kinds of fish eggs.
Sushi rice and seafood, etc. rolled in dried seaweed sheets. There are countless varieties of sushi rolls differing in ingredients and thickness. Sushi rolls prepared "inside out" are very popular outside of Japan, but rarely found in Japan.
Temakizushi (literally: hand rolls) are cones made of nori seaweed and filled with sushi rice, seafood and vegetables.
Oshizushi is pressed sushi, in which the fish is pressed onto the sushi rice in a wooden box. The picture shows trout oshizushi in form of a popular ekiben (train station lunch box).
Inarizushi is a simple and inexpensive type of sushi, in which sushi rice is filled into aburaage (deep fried tofu) bags.
Chirashizushi is a dish in which seafood, mushroom and vegetables are spread over sushi rice. It can resemble domburi with the difference being that chirashizushi uses sushi rice while domburi uses regular, unseasoned rice.

Note that "sushi" becomes "zushi" in word combinations in which "sushi" is the second word, e.g. nigirizushi.


Other Dishes

Tempura more information
Tempura is seafood, vegetables, mushrooms and other pieces of food coated with tempura batter and deep fried. Tempura was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century, but has become one of Japan's most famous dishes internationally.
Okonomiyaki more information
Okonomiyaki is a mix between pizza and pancake. Various ingredients such as seafood, vegetables and meat can be mixed with the dough and placed on the okonomiyaki as topping.
Monjayaki is a Kanto region specialty that is similar to Okonomiyaki, however, the dough used is much more liquid than the okonomiyaki dough.
Gyoza more information
Gyoza are dumplings with a filling usually made of minced vegetables and ground meat. Gyoza were introduced to Japan from China. In Japan gyoza are usually prepared by frying them.
Chawanmushi is savory steamed egg custard that usually contains pieces of chicken, shrimp, fish cake and a ginko nut mixed inside.
Tsukemono are Japanese pickles. There are many variety of pickles, and a small dish of tsukemono is usually served with Japanese meals.


Yoshoku Dishes

A large number of Western dishes have been introduced to Japan over the centuries. Many of them have become completely Japanized, and these dishes are now called Yoshoku dishes. Some of the most popular ones are:
Korokke more information
Korokke has its origins in the croquettes which were introduced to Japan in the 19th century. Korokke are breaded and deep fried, and come in many varieties depending on the filling. The most common filling is a mix of minced meat and mashed potatoes.
Omuraisu (abbreviation for omelet rice) is cooked rice, wrapped in a thin omelet, and usually served with a gravy sauce or tomato ketchup.
Hayashi Raisu
Hayashi rice is Japanese style hashed beef stew, thinly sliced beef and onions in a demi-glace sauce served over or along side cooked rice. It resembles kare raisu, and, like kare raisu, it is also eaten with a spoon.
Hamubagu is a Japanese style hamburger steak. It is typically served on a plate and usually with a demi-glace sauce, but without a bun.


Soya Bean Dishes

Tofu, natto, miso and many other important ingredients of Japanese cooking are made of soya beans. The following are some of the most popular soya bean based dishes:
Yudofu are tofu pieces boiled in a clear, mild soup and dipped into a soya based sauce before being eaten.
Agedashi Tofu
Agedashi Tofu are deep fried tofu pieces that are dipped into a soya based sauce before being eaten.
Miso Soup
A bowl of miso soup often accompanies breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is made by dissolving miso paste in hot water and adding additional ingredients such as wakame seaweed and small pieces of tofu.