What comes to mind when you hear the word “Sushi?” You probably think of a Japanese dish made of raw fish. That is a very common mistake made by most people. Dishes that have raw fish are called “Sashimi.” In truth, Sushi is any dish made with sticky vinegar rice and it doesn’t necessarily include raw fish. Typically Sushi will have different kinds of shellfish, such as lobster and crab, with a variety of other fresh ingredients that are wrapped tightly inside vinegar rice.
Yet another mistake most people make is believing that Sushi is originally from Japan. Actually, it goes back to 7th century China, where it started off as a method to preserve fish. The fish was pressed between layers of salt and allowed to ferment for months. The entire process was wrapped up with some sticky rice which, by the way, was thrown away when the fermentation process was complete. The result? A delicious fish that wowed all those who ate it with its unique taste!
With the crossing of several Chinese and Japanese cultures and practices, Sushi became popular in both countries. It was sold in various cities in much the same way as hot dogs are being sold now. In fact, during a movie break Sushi was available in theaters as a snack. In the 19th century, busy lifestyle of the Japanese and lack of time to prepare elaborate meals made Sushi a staple in most households.
Modern day Sushi is different from the original in several ways. To begin with, the rice used to complete the fermentation was not thrown away; it was eaten along with the fish. Also the duration of the fermentation process was decreased so as to keep the fish a little on the raw side, and yet still safe to eat. The shorter fermentation process gave the Sushi a slightly sour taste, which people began to love.
With an increase in health awareness, Sushi has become more popular now than ever. It is delicious to eat, quick to make, and high on nutrition. The fish is an excellent source of protein and Omega 3 fatty acid while the seaweed and rice are rich in iodine and complex carbohydrates. The best part is Sushi is low on fat. An average serving of Sushi, consisting of about 8 to 10 pieces will have only 350 to 400 calories.
It is hard to believe that what began as a method of preserving fish could have turned into multi-million dollar industry that has united the entire world in one giant craving for a light, yet satisfying, snack.