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What are the Different Types of Sushi?

Updated on September 23, 2016
Homemade Sushi
Homemade Sushi | Source

What is Sushi?

The dictionary definition of sushi is cold rice dressed with vinegar, formed into any of various shapes, and garnished especially with bits of raw seafood or vegetables (courtesy of Merriam-Webster) . The more commonly recognized definition is, a style of Japanese cuisine that combines cooked vinegared rice with a variety of seafood and vegetables.


The Many Styles of Sushi

Types of Sushi

Maki Sushi – is one of the more popular types of sushi in the west. It typically consists of sushi rice with vegetables and/or seafood, wrapped in nori

Temaki Sushi – is similar to maki sushi, but is a large cone-shaped

Inari Sushi – is a pouch of friend tofu (can substitute fried soybean) pouch that is filled with sushi rice.

Nigiri Sushi – hand formed oblong shaped balls of sushi rice, topped with a slice of seafood, can sometimes be wrapped with a thin strip of nori

Oshi Sushi – a block-shaped piece of sushi formed using a wooden mold. Line the bottom of the mold with your sushi toppings, cover with sushi rice, then presses the lid of the mold to create pressed square/rectangular blocks, cut into bite size pieces.

Chirashi Sushi – is one of the more common types of sushi in the east. It means “scattered sushi” and is a bowl of sushi rice topped with, typically, nine toppings of sashimi.


Sushi Ingredients

Sushi Rice – white, short-grained Japanese rice that is cooked with rice-wine vinegar, salt, and sugar

Nori – a type of edible seaweed (algae) that is typically used to wrap sushi

Vegetables – some of the more common vegetables used in sushi are daikon radish, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, yam, ume, carrots, and bean sprouts

Seafood – some of the more common seafood used in sushi are tuna, yellowtail, crab, salmon, scallops, snapper, eel, squid, and octopous.


Sushi Dipping Sauces

Wasabe – a condiment that is derived from the grated root of the plant wasabia japonica. It is said to have anti-microbial properties and may reduce the risk of food poisoning. It is known for its unique green color and spicy taste.

Gari – also known as pickled ginger. It is used to cleanse the palate between courses and aid in digestion.

Soy Sauce – a sauce from the fermenting of soybeans, water, and salt. Used to dip sushi and sashimi in. May be flavored with wasabe.

Popular Types of Sushi Rolls in the U.S.

Alaska Roll 
avocado, salmon, cucumber, and may sometimes contain cream cheese
B.C Roll 
grilled or barbecued salmon skin, cucumber, roe, and sweet sauce 
California Roll 
avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab meat 
Dynamite Roll
yellowtail, and/or prawn tempura, bean sprouts, avocado, cucumber, and japanese mayonnaise
Hawaiin Roll
unagi (freshwater eel), macadamia nuts, and avocado (some variations include tuna and pineapple)
Philadelphia Roll
raw or smoked salmon, cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese
Sante Fe Roll
salmon, green chiles (or jalapeno),  and cream cheese
Seattle Roll
salmon, cream cheese, and asparagus 
Spicy Tuna Roll
tuna, scallions, mayonnaise, and chili sauce (or chili powder)
Spider Roll
soft shell crab, cucumber, avocado, sprouts, and roe (can add spicy mayonnaise)


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