Nigiri-The Original ‘Sushi’
Sushi is a hugely popular food, not just in Japan but now all over the world. However, despite this rise in popularity the generic term of sushi is still commonly used to describe all the many different types of sushi. Now don’t get us wrong we are just as guilty of this and really as long as it tastes good what should it matter right? And it doesn’t, as long as people are aware that there are lots of different delicious Sushi types out there to suit all tastes! So, in this blog, we will be looking at Nigiri, one of the oldest types of sushi, including a short history, what makes nigiri, nigiri and a taste guide to all our wonderful nigiri toppings.
Nigiri is said to be the original ‘Sushi’ coming out of Tokyo in the late 17th century, very simple in design it consists of thin slices of (usually) fish, egg or vegetables sitting on top of sticky sushi rice moulded into oblong mounds. Depending on where you eat the topping can be stuck on with wasabi forming a sort of paste or held in place with a fried nori strip. Here at Yuhoki, we do hold most of our vegetarian toppings and eel in place with nori, but we choose to leave our wasabi on the side for those who are less keen on a spicy kick.
Nigiri usually served in pairs (a tradition we stick to here at Yuhoki). This is thought to be due to it being originally served in a larger block that people were unable to eat easily, this, of course, led to people cutting it in half so often that it began to be served that way. The most common accompaniments to nigiri are wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce, and we believe the kick of spice from the wasabi the mellower pickled ginger and the salt from the soy paired with the simple clean flavours of nigiri are a taste sensation!
Yuhoki’s Nigiri Taste Guide
Salmon nigiri has a mild creamy taste, a softer flavour than tuna and is firm but not overly so. Works very well paired with avocado maki and dry white wine.
Tuna nigiri has a clean meaty flavour and a medium texture (the texture can vary depending on the cut). Particularly good enjoyed with cucumber maki and red wine.
Seabass nigiri has a rather unique flavour and is firmer than others. One for the slightly more adventurous nigiri lover it’s great paired with white wine and seaweed salad or as part of a larger tasting set.
Prawn nigiri is perhaps one of the most popular with our customers and is very much a gateway nigiri as the prawn is cooked and butterflied making it a very familiar sight. However, the sweet, succulent prawns are a favourite of many hardened nigiri fans as well. Try with our Ebi Tempura for a great mix of textures.
Scallop nigiri is a really luxurious choice, the smooth glossy scallop flesh has a sweet gentle flavour and firm texture. Like all seafood great with a dry white wine or perhaps a chilled sparkling sake to carry on the feeling of luxury.
Mackerel nigiri is mild and sweet, super healthy and packed with omega 3! Perfect with sparkling water and cucumber maki to cut through the oiler fish.
Eel nigiri is another for the more daring among you, the eel is first grilled in a sweet soy based sauce before being added to the rice. We like it with a cold beer and some wasabi prawns.
Asparagus nigiri is a great addition to any veggie sushi set, firm and fresh tasting it’s great with miso soup.
Egg nigiri is served as a strip of omelette fastened to the rice with a nori strip. With a subtle, sweet flavour, it’s often eaten at the end of a meal.
Tofu nigiri is mild and creamy with a crispy outer shell. The texture is fantastic, and they are great enjoyed and part of a veggie sushi set.
Avocado nigiri is rich and creamy with the slightly acidic sushi rice cutting through perfectly. Lovely served with seaweed salad and chilled sake.