The common ingredient across all kinds of sushi is vinegared sushi rice. Variety arises from fillings, toppings, condiments, and preparation. Traditional versus contemporary methods of assembly may create very different results from very similar ingredients. In spelling sushi, its first letter s is replaced with z when a prefix is attached, as in nigirizushi, due to consonant mutation called rendaku in Japanese.
Chirashizushi (ちらし寿司, “scattered sushi”) is a bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of sashimi and garnishes (also refers to barazushi). Edomae chirashizushi (Edo-style scattered sushi) is an uncooked ingredient that is arranged artfully on top of the sushi rice in a bowl. Gomokuzushi (Kansai-style sushi) consists of cooked or uncooked ingredients mixed in the body of rice in a bowl. There is no set formula for the ingredients; they are either chef’s choice or specified by the customer. It is commonly eaten because it is filling, fast and easy to make. Chirashizushi often varies regionally. It is eaten annually on Hinamatsuri in March.
Inarizushi (稲荷寿司) is a pouch of fried tofu typically filled with sushi rice alone. It is named after the Shinto god Inari, who is believed to have a fondness for fried tofu. The pouch is normally fashioned as deep-fried tofu (油揚げ,abura age). Regional variations include pouches made of a thin omelette (帛紗寿司, fukusa-zushi, or 茶巾寿司,chakin-zushi). It should not be confused with inari maki, which is a roll filled with flavored fried tofu.
A version of inarizushi that includes green beans, carrots, and gobo along with rice, wrapped in a triangular aburage (fried tofu) piece, is a Hawaiian specialty, where it is called cone sushi and is often sold in okazu-ya (Japanese delis) and as a component of bento boxes
Makizushi (巻き寿司, “rolled sushi”), Norimaki (海苔巻き, “Nori roll”) or Makimono (巻物, “variety of rolls”) is a cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat, called a makisu (巻簾). Makizushi is generally wrapped in nori (seaweed), but is occasionally wrapped in a thin omelette, soy paper, cucumber, or shiso (perilla) leaves. Makizushi is usually cut into six or eight pieces, which constitutes a single roll order. Below are some common types of makizushi, but many other kinds exist.
Futomaki (太巻, “thick, large or fat rolls”) is a large cylindrical piece, with nori on the outside. A typical futomaki is five to six centimeters (2–2.5 in) in diameter. They are often made with two, three, or more fillings that are chosen for their complementary tastes and colors. During the evening of the Setsubun festival, it is traditional in the Kansai region to eat uncut futomaki in its cylindrical form, where it is called ehō-maki (恵方巻, lit. happy direction rolls). By 2000 the custom had spread to all of Japan. Futomaki are often vegetarian, and may utilize strips of cucumber, kampyō gourd, takenoko bamboo shoots, or lotus root. Strips of tamagoyaki omelette, tiny fish roe, chopped tuna, and whitefish flakes are typical non-vegetarian fillings.
Hosomaki (細巻, “thin rolls”) is a small cylindrical piece, with the nori on the outside. A typical hosomaki has a diameter of about two and a half centimeters (1 in).They generally contain only one filling, often tuna, cucumber, kanpyō, thinly sliced carrots, or, more recently, avocado. Kappamaki, (河童巻) a kind ofHosomaki filled with cucumber, is named after the Japanese legendary water imp fond of cucumbers called the kappa. Traditionally, Kappamaki is consumed to clear the palate between eating raw fish and other kinds of food, so that the flavors of the fish are distinct from the tastes of other foods. Tekkamaki (鉄火巻) is a kind of Hosomaki filled with raw tuna. Although it is believed that the name “Tekka”, meaning ‘red hot iron’, alludes to the color of the tuna flesh or salmon flesh, it actually originated as a quick snack to eat in gambling dens called “Tekkaba” (鉄火場), much like the sandwich. Negitoromaki (ねぎとろ巻) is a kind of Hosomaki filled with scallion (negi) and chopped tuna (toro). Fatty tuna is often used in this style. Tsunamayomaki (ツナマヨ巻) is a kind of Hosomakifilled with canned tuna tossed with mayonnaise.
Temaki (手巻, “hand roll”) is a large cone-shaped piece of nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about ten centimeters (4 in) long, and is eaten with fingers because it is too awkward to pick it up with chopsticks. For optimal taste and texture, Temaki must be eaten quickly after being made because the nori cone soon absorbs moisture from the filling and loses its crispness and becomes somewhat difficult to bite. For this reason, the nori in pre-made or take-out temaki is sealed in plastic film which is removed immediately before eating.
Uramaki (裏巻, “inside-out roll”) is a medium-sized cylindrical piece with two or more fillings. Uramaki differs from other makimono because the rice is on the outside and the nori inside. The filling is in the center surrounded by nori, then a layer of rice, and an outer coating of some other ingredients such as roe or toasted sesame seeds. It can be made with different fillings, such as tuna, crab meat, avocado, mayonnaise, cucumber or carrots. In Japan, urimaki is an uncommon type of makimono because of the outer layer of rice can be quite difficult to handle with fingers.
Narezushi (熟れ寿司, “matured sushi”) is a traditional form of fermented sushi. Skinned and gutted fish are stuffed with salt, placed in a wooden barrel, doused with salt again, then weighed down with a heavy tsukemonoishi (pickling stone). As days pass, water seeps out and is removed. After six months, this sushican be eaten, remaining edible for another six months or more. The most famous variety of narezushi still being produced is funa-zushi (made from fish of the crucian carp genus, authentically from C. auratus grandoculis (nigoro-buna) endemic to Lake Biwa), a typical dish of Shiga Prefecture.
Nigirizushi (握り寿司, “hand-pressed sushi”) consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands, usually with a bit of wasabi, and a topping (the neta) draped over it. Neta are typically fish such as salmon, tuna or other seafood. Certain toppings are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori, most commonly octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), sea eel (anago), squid (ika), and sweet egg (tamago). When ordered separately, nigiri is generally served in pairs. A sushi set (a sampler dish) may contain only one piece of each topping.
Gunkanmaki (軍艦巻, “warship roll”) is a special type of nigirizushi: an oval, hand-formed clump of sushi rice that has a strip of “nori” wrapped around its perimeter to form a vessel that is filled with some soft, loose or fine-chopped ingredient that requires the confinement of nori such as roe, nattō, oysters, sea urchin, corn with mayonnaise, and quail eggs. Gunkan-maki was invented at the Ginza Kyubey restaurant in 1941; its invention significantly expanded the repertoire of soft toppings used in sushi.
Temarizushi (手まり寿司, “ball sushi”) is a ball-shaped sushi made by pressing rice and fish into a ball-shaped form by hand using a plastic wrap.
Oshizushi (押し寿司, “pressed sushi”), also known as 箱寿司, hako-zushi, “box sushi”), is a pressed sushi from the Kansai region, a favorite and specialty of Osaka. A block-shaped piece formed using a wooden mold, called an oshibako. The chef lines the bottom of the oshibako with the toppings, covers them with sushi rice, and then presses the lid of the mold down to create a compact, rectilinear block. The block is removed from the mold and then cut into bite-sized pieces. Particularly famous is バッテラ (battera, pressed mackerel sushi) or 鯖寿司 (saba zushi)
The increasing popularity of sushi around the world has resulted in variations typically found in the Western world, but rarely in Japan (a notable exception to this is the use of salmon which was introduced by the Norwegians in the early 1980s). Such creations to suit the Western palate were initially fueled by the invention of the California roll. A wide variety of popular rolls has evolved since. Though the menu names of dishes often vary by restaurant, some examples include:
|Sushi roll name||Definition|
|Alaska roll||a variant of the California roll with raw salmon on the inside, or layered on the outside.|
|British Columbia roll||contains grilled or barbecued salmon skin, cucumber, sweet sauce, sometimes with roe. Also sometimes referred to as salmon skin rolls outside of British Columbia, Canada.|
|California roll||consists of avocado, kani kama (imitation crab/crab stick) (also can contain real crab in ‘premium’ varieties), cucumber and tobiko, often made uramaki (with rice on the outside, nori on the inside)|
|Dynamite roll||includes yellowtail (hamachi) and/or prawn tempura, and fillings such as bean sprouts, carrots, avocado, cucumber, chili, spicy mayonnaise, and roe.|
|Hawaiian roll||contains shoyu tuna (canned), tamago, kanpyō, kamaboko, and the distinctive red and green hana ebi (shrimp powder).|
|Philadelphia roll||consists of raw or smoked salmon, cream cheese (often Philadelphia cream cheese brand), cucumber or avocado, and/or onion.|
|Rainbow roll||is a California roll with typically 6–7 types of sashimi (yellowtail, tuna, salmon, snapper, white fish, eel, etc.) and avocado wrapped around it.|
|Seattle roll||consists of cucumber, avocado, cream cheese and raw or smoked salmon.|
|Mango roll||includes fillings such as avocado, crab meat, tempura shrimp, mango slices, and topped off with a creamy mango paste.|
|Spider roll||includes fried soft-shell crab and other fillings such as cucumber, avocado, daikon sprouts or lettuce, roe, and sometimes spicy mayonnaise.|
|Michigan roll||includes fillings such as spicy tuna, smelt roe, spicy sauce, avocado, and sushi rice. Is a variation on Spicy Tuna Roll.|
Other rolls may include chopped scallops, spicy tuna, beef or chicken teriyaki roll, okra, and assorted vegetables such as cucumber and avocado. Sometimes sushi rolls are made with brown rice and black rice, which appear in Japanese cuisine as well. An inside-out roll allows the consumer to drape sashimi on top of the entire roll. Examples include the rainbow roll (an inside-out topped with thinly sliced maguro, hamachi, ebi, sake and avocado) and the caterpillar roll (an inside out topped with thinly sliced avocado). Also commonly found is the rock and roll (an inside out roll with barbecued freshwater eel and avocado with toasted sesame seeds on the outside) and the tempura roll where shrimp tempura is in the roll or an entire roll is battered and fried tempura style. In the Southern United States, many sushi restaurants prepare rolls using crawfish. Futomaki roll is found widely within Japan and is often mistaken for California roll. Other types of Western-style sushi are also rarely seen in Japan.