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Sashimi

How to prepare Sashimi the Japanese Way

Although it looks simple in appearance, preparing sashimi is a true culinary art.
From choosing the fish to the right position to slice the fish,
every step is done in a deliberate and delicate manner.
Here's a look behind the scenes on how Japanese chefs prepare sashimi.

Choosing and Preparing the Right Fish

Choosing and Preparing the Right Fish

Almost any fish can be used to prepare sashimi. However, the best flavours tend to come from scallop, squid, tuna, kingfish, snapper and flounder.

The preparation part is where it gets a little tricky. When it comes to raw fish, freshness is important, but there's a lot more to it.

The flavour and texture of the fish differ depending on size and type, so chefs need to know the best way to prepare their fish of choice.

As a general rule of thumb, smaller fish, prawns and squid are best eaten as soon as they're dispatched.

Larger fish like flounder and snapper are sometimes rested on ice for a few hours to relax their muscles and soften the meat.

For very large fish like tuna, some chefs actually age them for a week or two to fully enhance the flavour!

Once the fish has been selected, it is filleted, skinned and sliced. There are quite a few different techniques to slicing; common ones include the hira-zukuri (rectangular slice) and usu-zukuri (thin slice).

The hira-zukuri is used for fishes from half a centimeter to 1 centimeter wide, such as tuna, kingfish and salmon.

The usu-zukuri is used for firm, white fish with thin fillets like bream, flounder and whiting.

Dressing and Garnishes.

Garnishes

After it is sliced, the sashimi is arranged neatly with 3 edible garnishes – a base, a highlight and a spicy condiment.

The base, known as "KEN", holds up the fish and helps it stand out visually. It can also be eaten as a palette cleanser when moving from one variety of fish to the next. Common ingredients for KEN include shredded radish, Japanese leek and wakame seaweed.

The highlight, known as "TSUMA", are placed below the fish in the background and can be used to flavour the fish. They are often small and vibrantly colored piles of herbs, cresses or flowers such as shiso (leaves, buds or flowers) and benitade (a peppery purple herb).

"KARAMI" (pungent flavor) is the spice that accompanies the sashimi. Wasabi is by far the most common and popular choice for most. Other KARAMI include grated ginger and hot mustard.

How to Eat Sashimi

A dab of wasabi and a teaspoon of soy sauce is usually more than enough to season the sashimi. Anything more, and it is likely to overpower the taste of the wearing aftershave and perfume to a sashimi restaurant is not recommended, as these strong smells could easily interfere with the subtle flavour of the fish.

How to Eat Sashimi?

For the most authentic and mouth-watering sashimi, do visit Tokyo and explore all the different sashimi outlets available.

You'll find many different varieties, each with its own unique flavour. Sashimi lovers will be spoilt for choice!