Understanding This Easy Yet Exotic Japanese Dish

For a lot of people, Miso soup is one of those exotic dishes that we only have as an appetizer during our once-annual visit to a sushi restaurant. Maybe sushi outings are more common for other people than they are for me, but I’m still willing to bet that miso soup is not a staple in the diets of most westerners. How many of us even know what miso really is, let alone how to make soup out of it? For many years, I was just as ignorant as the next guy. One day, when a miso soup craving came upon me, I started to wonder about the nature of this delicious appetizer, and I’m glad I did.


As it turns out, miso soup is fairly straightforward and easy to make. Traditionally, it consists of just two or three ingredients. As with many dishes, there are many variations on miso soup, but at its heart it consists of dashi, a traditional Japanese broth, and miso, a paste made out of fermented soybeans. Prepared miso soup is topped with sliced scallions, or green onions, and served hot.

Bonito Flakes

Although it only has a couple of ingredients, making miso soup takes a little practice. The hardest part is making the dashi. Dashi is a broth made from water and bonito flakes. Bonito flakes are made of dried fish, and they’re what gives miso soup its subtle seafood flavor. These days, you can purchase bonito flakes at natural grocery stores, but they tend to be available cheaper at Asian supermarkets.

How to Make Dashi

The difficult thing about making dashi is that it’s crucial to maintain the right water temperature. If the water is too hot, the bonito flakes will cook and a foul fish flavor will be released. If the water is too cool, the bonito flakes won’t release the delicate taste needed for the dashi.

Here’s how I do it:
I measure out ¼ to ½ cup of bonito flakes and get them ready in a small bowl. Then I put 4-6 cups of water on the stove to boil. Some people say to add the bonito flakes to the water and then remove the water from the heat just before it starts to boil. This can be a delicate procedure, though, and I’ve found that it’s easier to boil the water first and then turn the heat off. When the water has just backed off from a boil, I add the bonito flakes. After about 30-60 seconds, the bonito flakes start to sink to the bottom of the pot. When most of the flakes have sunk, pour the dashi through a strainer and discard the flakes.

Don’t worry about whether you have gotten the dashi right. Although it’s easy to mess it up, it’s also very easy to tell when you have messed it up. Once or twice, I added the bonito flakes too soon, and the resulting fishy flavor was totally unpalatable! Luckily, bonito flakes are pretty inexpensive, so it’s no big deal to start again.

Adding the Miso
When the dashi is complete, the miso soup is almost done. The final step is to add miso. White miso (called shiro miso in Japanese) is best, and can be found at natural grocery stores or Asian markets. Traditionally, the miso (2-3 tablespoons for 6 cups of broth) is added to just a little broth, then added to the individual bowls of soup. This is what gives miso soup its interesting cloudy look. It’s possible to add the miso to the whole pot of dashi, but the miso tends to settle, so it must be mixed well and served immediately. A sliced scallion or two should be sprinkled on top of the soup, and then it’s ready to serve! Some people add tofu, seaweed, mushrooms, or other vegetables to their miso soup, but sometimes the elegant basic dish is best.

Tips to Differences Between Sashimi and Sushi

unduhan-18Sushi is a very popular Japanese dish, compared to sashimi. Though, both Japanese foods sushi and sashimi are similar, they are not the same. Both usually contain raw fish as one of their ingredient, and are served with a soy dipping sauce. The method of preparation for both the dishes is different. Both Japanese delicacies are quite popular, and there are specialized sashimi and sushi chefs.


What is it?

Technically, sushi means vinegar rice. The Japanese word ‘su’ means vinegar and ‘shi’ is from meshi, which is the Japanese word for rice. Thus, sushi is vinegared rice.
The word sashimi means pierced boy, because ‘sashi’ refers to pierced or stuck and ‘mi’ refers to meat. Hence, this word may be derived from the culinary practice of sticking the fish’s tail and fin to the slices, identifying the fish meat being eaten. Sashimi refers to a Japanese food preparation, which primarily consist of fresh and raw seafood which is sliced into thin pieces, which is served with a dipping soy sauce.

Serving Difference

Sushi can be eaten as it is, but is often dipped into a Japanese soy sauce which is called ‘shoyu’.

Sashimi as mentioned above is only served with a dipping sauce. Many times wasabi paste is mixed directly into the soy sauce, this is generally not done while serving sushi. The sliced seafood is typically draped over a garnish, which is mostly the white radish called daikon radish.

Different Types

There are various types of sushi, that depend upon how the dish is presented. First is the maki-zushi, which is rice and seaweed rolls with fish and/or vegetables. Second is nigiri-zushi, which is the most common kind of sushi you will see, where the little fingers of rice topped with wasabi, and a fillet of cooked/raw fish or shellfish. Third is chirashi-zushi, where sushi rice is topped with variety of Sashimi and served in a box or bowl. Temaki-zushi, is cones of sushi rice which are filled with fish and vegetables wrapped in seaweed. And the last is inari-zushi, where fried pouches of tofu are prepared with sushi rice.

Sashimi is made using many seafood items, let us look at the most popular kinds of sashimi. Maguro is made using tuna fish and toro is made using fatty tuna. Ebi is made using prawns, and saba is made using mackerel fish. Ika is made using squid and tako is made using octopus. Sashimi which uses octopus as an ingredient, is sometimes served cooked, because of its chewy nature. While most seafood sashimis, made using tuna, salmon, and squid are served raw.
Simple and Quick Recipes to Make Sushi
1. First, make sushi rice.

2. Then, place a sheet of dried seaweed on a bamboo mat spread.

3. Now, place the rice on top of the seaweed sheet.

4. Place filling (can use sashimi grade raw tuna) lengthwise on the rice, and roll up the bamboo mat to form a cylinder and press the mat gently to shape the roll.

5. Remove the bamboo mat, and cut the roll into bite-sized pieces. Serve with soy sauce.
Simple and Quick Recipes to Make Sashimi
1. To make sashimi, buy sashimi grade tuna.

2. Slice onions, and set them on a small dish.

3. Then pour soy sauce in another small dish.

4. Slice fish accordingly, you can slice it into thin slices or keep inch-long thick pieces.

5. Eat fish with sliced scallions, and use soy sauce for flavor.
Which is Healthier?
Both sushi and sashimi are healthy foods. However, compared to sushi, sashimi is healthier. This is because, sushi many times contains fried ingredients, spices, and mayonnaise in it. This just adds unnecessary calories to the dish. Whereas, in sashimi it is mostly raw and fresh fish. However, when you are making sushi at home or eating it at a restaurant, prefer sushi which is made using brown rice and has non-fried and fresh ingredients.
I hope, the above information has cleared your doubts on the difference between sushi and sashimi. To get a taste of both the delicacies, follow the above mentioned simple recipes and savor the distinct flavors of these two delicacies.

You can also consider visiting a Japanese restaurant which has sushi/sashimi dishes on a conveyor belt, for a unique experience. In such restaurants various dishes keep rotating on a belt, and you can choose the type of dish you wish to eat. Enjoy!

Nigiri Vs. Sashimi The Real Differences

Japanese cuisine has gained high popularity over time and is known to offer a very large variety in their dishes. The traditional food of Japan includes rice with miso soup and other dishes, with special importance to the seasonal ingredients, accompanied with side dishes as well. It has been observed that fish is common in their traditional cuisine. The fish is usually grilled in most of their dishes. However, in dishes like sushi or sashimi, it may be served raw.

Sushi is believed to be the most significant dish representing the Japanese cuisine. This dish is said to have gained so much popularity, that it is recognized almost everywhere in the world today. It is believed to have first been served in the United States in the 1950s, and today it is easily available at every corner.

Those who do not know about sushi, often mistake this dish to be fresh raw fish. However, this is not true. Actually, sushi is vinegared rice topped with other ingredients such as vegetables, egg, or raw seafood. On visiting a sushi bar, you will come across a dozen sushi recipes, many of which do not include fish. You would also come across dishes named Nigiri and Sashimi.

While nigiri is known to be a type of sushi, that consists of thin slices of raw fish topped over small balls of vinegared rice, sashimi is not a type of sushi and refers to thinly sliced raw meat or fish on its own. Even though sashimi is not a type of sushi, it is found in the menu at all places where you get sushi. Both these dishes are usually accompanied by pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi. As a beginner, understanding the difference between these two Japanese dishes, i.e. nigiri and sashimi may not be easy. Hence, here is a table of comparison of the two that might help you to understand better.

Nigiri Sashimi

What makes it?
◼ Nigiri is a dish with thin slices of raw fish over vinegared rice.
It is a type of sushi.
◼ Sashimi is a dish with thinly sliced raw fish (generally fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel) and it is served without rice.
It is not a type of sushi.
It can also be ordered as a topping or filling in sushi, which is said to be quite popular.
Is it cooked?
◼ It is mostly raw, however, nigiri with cooked or seared fish is also available.◼ It is always raw.

Can it have meat?
◼ No, it can have only fish and other seafood like shrimp, octopus, and squid.◼ Yes, it can have meat i.e. thin slices of meat like chicken, beef, horse, or frog.

Is Garnishing used?
◼ Usually, it is not garnished with anything. However, in some cases it may be garnished with a sauce.◼ It is usually garnished with daikon radish, shiso leaves, toasted nori (seaweed), and at times other sauces.

How is it eaten?
◼ It can be eaten by hands or by using chopsticks.◼ It is eaten by using chopsticks.

According to traditional eating methods, only the fish part should be dipped in plain soy sauce when eating nigiri while sashimi should be eaten with wasabi mixed in soy sauce. However, it is said that many international versions (that reflect local characteristics) of these dishes have evolved and will continue to do so. Consider the aforementioned points of comparison and make a choice according to your taste and preference.

Sashimi Calories

Sashimi is a popular Japanese dish, served usually before the main course. The dish is primarily made of fresh raw fish, sliced into fine pieces, and served with different garnishes and sauces. Traditionally, it is served with soy sauce having wasabi paste, or other condiments such as grated fresh ginger, or ponzu. The term sashimi basically means ‘pierced body’, and it refers to the other uncooked fish preparation methods.

Sashimi is often confused with other Japanese delicacy called sushi. However, both the dishes are completely different. While sushi is a dish made of raw fish or other seafood with vinegared rice and serves as a main course meal, sashimi is often served at the beginning of the meal as a palate cleanser and appetizer. However, the dish can also serve the purpose of main course when presented with rice and Miso soup in separate bowls.

Calorific and Nutritional Content

Type Serving Size Calories Fats Carbohydrates Protein
Ahi Tuna 4 ounces 120 1 gram 0 gram 28 grams
Yellowtail 1 ounce 41 1.5 grams 0 gram 6.6 grams
Shiro Maguro (White Tuna) 3 ounces 49 2.1 grams 0 gram 7.2 grams
Maguro (Tuna) 3 ounces 40 1.4 grams 0 gram 6.6 grams
Red Snapper 3 ounces 85 1 gram 0 gram 17 grams
Albacore 2 ounces 100 4.2 grams 0 gram 14.4 grams
Mackerel 1 ounce 58 3.9 grams 0 grams 5.3 grams


Fish used for sashimi should be fresh and of optimum quality for a better flavor. Hence, for preparing it, only saltwater fish should be used, as many freshwater fish species are contaminated with parasites, that can cause intestinal problems. Instead of fish, sashimi can also be prepared with other seafood items including bluefin tuna, snapper, abalone, bass, fish roe, prawns, mackerel, bonito, shad, octopus, and squid. Amongst these, tuna is quite commonly used, for its fatty part called toro which is creamy, and directly melts in the mouth, giving an exquisite flavor.

In many restaurants, sashimi is usually prepared at the bar so that the customers can see the chef preparing it. The fish is fillet using a very sharp knife, the hard bones are removed with the skin and then it is sliced very finely in to small pieces, and served with your favorite garnishes or sauces. It is generally garnished with pickled vegetables like ginger, shredded daikon radish, and toasted nori. At some places, it is also served with soy sauce and wasabi, with a ground ginger root to enhance the savor and aroma of the dish. Another exotic way to savor sashimi is to place the wasabi mound in the serving dish, and then pour the soy sauce over it. Like this, the wasabi infuses the soy sauce more subtly, and one will have an ultimate taste.

Each place has its own unique way of preparing sashimi. In some restaurants, the fish is kept alive in the salted water, and prepared as it is ordered. However, if you are going out to have this dish, ensure that you go to a renowned restaurant with the finest supply of fresh, high quality fish, else you may end up having an intestinal infection. And if you are preparing it at home, keep in mind that since you intend to eat the fish raw, purchase the most fresh and safe fish specimen.