Nori is the dark, outer surface of the sushi shown in the photo to the right. It is a mild, dried seaweed that is pressed into thin sheets to be used in sushi. Its mild, salty flavor makes a perfect paring with fish and the other ingredients of sushi.
Nori is formed into a cone to hold the ingredients when sushi is ordered as a hand roll. When used in this manner, it is served immediately, in order to maintain its crispy texture.
Soy bean paper may be used instead of Nori. It is made from soy beans, pressed into thin sheets. It softer than Nori, with a mild flavor. This may be requested instead of Nori on some rolls.
This dynamic pair of condiments is hard to miss, and they appear on just about every sushi plate. Ever wonder what they are or how they are used?
The bright green paste is wasabi (also called Japanese horseradish), made from this plant’s root. It will add a spicy punch to your favorite sushi. Wasabi’s heat feels more like a hot mustard than pepper, in the way it tends to awaken your nasal passages. Start with a tiny dot of this the first time you try it, as it is very hot.
Wasabi’s pink (or white) companion is thinly-sliced pickled ginger, and it is there to be eaten between pieces of sushi (or with it, if you choose). It is sweet and tart with a softer ginger flavor than the fresh version. Use these two sushi staples to your taste, depending on the variety of sushi you are enjoying. As they say, “Some like it hot!”
The other item you will receive is a small portion of soy sauce. When dipping Nigirizushi into it, it is best to dip it fish-side down, so that the rice stays intact.
Tuna is one of the most popular types of fish found in sushi. It has a firm, but tender, texture and mild, fresh flavor.
See the top fish in this photo for tuna. (The bottom one is salmon: please see below for more about this fish.)
The fatty part of the tuna is called “Toro” in Japanese. “Toro” is considered the most prized and expensive part of the tuna, like the tenderloin of beef. It has a richer, more succulent texture and flavor.
Salmon’s color is so beautiful and distinctive that it has other products named after it! As a sushi choice, salmon has a soft texture and a pleasing, mild flavor. Along with tuna, it is one of the easiest fish for sushi novices to enjoy.
The fatty part of the salmon is called “Beni Toro” in Japanese. “Beni Toro” is considered the most prized and expensive part of the salmon, like the tenderloin of beef. It has a richer, more succulent texture and flavor.
This fun ingredient is known to “pop” in the mouth, like tiny ocean waves crashing against your tongue. Roe adds an irresistible spike of color to many sushi dishes. Its flavor embodies the essence of the sea.
An unexpected bonus, it has a health benefit, too! The roe of marine animals, such as lumpsucker, hake and salmon, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Miso is fermented soy bean paste that is used in many soups, sauces and marinades. Miso not only offers nutritional benefits, but it also provides a strong umami flavor to balance dishes. Shown to the right, Miso Soup commonly contains diced tofu, dried wakame seaweed and green onions.