Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Facts About Sushi

Sushi is enjoying immense popularity in the United States and other countries in the west, and all over Asia, as well. Although it is frequently thought to originate in Japan, sushi was actually first found in China.

The sushi that is popular today differs dramatically from its original form. Sushi once consisted of servings of fish that had been fermented. The fermented fish was prepared with rice in seventh-century China. Methods to keep fish from spoiling had not been discovered at the time. Fresh fish fillets were cured between sheets of salt under pressure for a number months to preserve them. The fish was then rolled into rice that had been immersed in vinegar for some time. This was done to promote the fermentation of the fish, so that it would cure more quickly. The rice was discarded, and the fish was served as sushi by itself.

The Japanese eventually discovered sushi. They took the original food and created many different varieties of the dish. It wasn't until the seventeenth century that Hanaya Yohei created the sushi that we are familiar with today. As a chef, Hanaya entertained the idea that people might have an interest in sushi in an unfermented state. It caught on immediately and became very popular, becoming the Japanese equivalent of fast food.

This more modern concept of sushi became popular throughout Asia, and a lot of ethnic variations of the dish began to appear. Fermentation of the fish and rice became popular over time, and the fermentation step that had taken years was eventually improved so that it was a lot shorter. The fish was then stuffed with cooked rice in order to preserve it.

Seaweed, or nori, was eventually introduced as sushi became more widespread, and its popularity grew. In addition to the raw fish, fish that had been pickled was offered for the first time. In order to eliminate the lengthy rice fermentation step, rice vinegar was employed. Because of this, it now took just one day to prepare sushi. Initially a basic fast food item, it didn't take long for sushi to develop into a form of art in Japan. The Japanese presentation of the dish also evolved into an artistic expression.

Sushi has assumed a distinctive style in the U.S as the dish has developed over time, and an array of combinations with remarkable names are available.

Terry Roberts is webmaster of Sushi Matters. If you'd like to learn a little more, visit the page Different Types of Sushi.

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