Main article: History of sushi

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Sukiyabashi Jiro

Sushi by Hiroshige
Sushi originates in a Southeast Asian dish, known as narezushi (馴れ寿司, 熟寿司 – "salted fish"), stored in fermented rice for possibly months at a time. The lacto-fermentation of the rice prevented the fish from spoiling;[3] the rice would be discarded before consumption of the fish.[4] This early type of sushi became an important source of protein for its Japanese consumers. The term sushi literally means "sour-tasting" and comes from an antiquated し (shi) terminal-form conjugation, 酸し sushi, no longer used in other contexts, of the adjectival verb 酸い sui "to be sour";[5] the overall dish has a sour and umami or savoury taste.[6] Narezushi still exists as a regional specialty, notably as funa-zushi from Shiga Prefecture.[7]

Osaka-style sushi, also called "Oshi-zushi" or "hako-sushi"
Vinegar began to be added to the preparation of narezushi in the Muromachi period (1336–1573) for the sake of enhancing both taste and preservation. In addition to increasing the sourness of the rice, the vinegar significantly increased the dish's longevity, causing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventually abandoned. The primitive sushi would be further developed in Osaka, where over several centuries it became oshi-zushi or "hako-zushi"; in this preparation, the seafood and rice were pressed into shape with wooden (typically bamboo) molds.

It was not until the Edo period (1603–1868) that fresh fish was served over vinegared rice and nori. The particular style of today's nigirizushi became popular in Edo (contemporary Tokyo) in the 1820s or 1830s. One common story of nigirizushi's origins is of the chef Hanaya Yohei (1799–1858), who invented or perfected the technique in 1824 at his shop in Ryōgoku.[7] The dish was originally termed Edomae zushi as it used freshly caught fish from the Edo-mae (Edo or Tokyo Bay); the term Edomae nigirizushi is still used today as a by-word for quality sushi, regardless of its ingredients' origins.[8][9]

The earliest written mention of sushi in English described in the Oxford English Dictionary is in an 1893 book, A Japanese Interior, where it mentions sushi as "a roll of cold rice with fish, sea-weed, or some other flavoring".[10][11] There is an earlier mention of sushi in James Hepburn's Japanese-English dictionary from 1873,[12] and an 1879 article on Japanese cookery in the journal Notes and Queries.[13]


Sushi platter in takeway
The common ingredient in all types of sushi is vinegared sushi rice. Fillings, toppings, condiments, and preparation vary widely.[14]

Due to rendaku consonant mutation, sushi is spelled with zu instead of su when a prefix is attached, as in nigirizushi.


1. | Rose-shaped Sushi Roll |

  1. 1. Cut into eight slices before serving. When slicing, first moisten the knife with a damp towel to help prevent sticking.
  2. 2. Mix the sugar and salt into the eggs and beat with a hand mixer, then cook to make a thin sheet about 20 cm square. Place on a rolling mat with the long edge running vertically.
  3. 3. Place pink sushi rice on top in small clumps, sprinkled on at random.
  4. 4. Place the mentaiko at random on top of the rice.
  1. 5. Roll the mat up firmly starting from the edge closer to yourself, making sure that the sushi rice stays in, then let rest. The rose flower portion is now complete.
  2. 6. Next, make the outside portion. On a separate rolling mat, place a sheet of nori with its long edge running horizontally. Reserve a handful of white sushi rice and cover the surface with a thin layer of white sushi rice, making sure to go all the way out to the left and right edges, and leaving a gap roughly 1 cm wide at the top.
  3. 7. Moisten a pair of cooking chopsticks and press them into the top of the sushi rice. Make one "gutter" roughly 2 cm below the top edge of the rice, and make another 5–6 cm below the first.
  4. 8. Place a piece of nori cut into 1/8 its size along its length on the first gutter, and place a piece of nori cut into 1/4 its size along its length on the second gutter. Use a pair of dry cooking chopsticks to press the nori in and ensure that the gutters are still there.
  1. 9. Place the boiled, thoroughly drained rapini (or other cooked greens) into the gutters.
  2. 10. Place the rose flower portion in the 5–6 cm space between the gutters with the seam of the egg facing up, and firmly squeeze the roll. Use the reserved white sushi rice to adjust the position of the rose flower portion so that it is in the center of the roll.
  3. 11. Turn the full roll to put the seam of the egg on the bottom and press down on the roll from both ends to flatten out the bottom, giving the cross section a shape like a capital D rotated 90°
  4. 12. Cut into eight slices before serving. When slicing, first moisten the knife with a damp towel to help prevent sticking.

2.  | Sushi with Seafood & Vegetables |

  1. 1. For large, tender cuts of fish like tuna and tai sea bream, slice thinly into easy-to-use pieces.
  2. 2. Next, prepare the squid: Remove the organs and tentacles, and wash thoroughly. Scrub the thin skin on the outside using a cloth, then gently peel off.
  3. 3. Cut the squid ka-no-ko style by making shallow, parallel cuts into the squid diagonally, then make another series of shallow, parallel cuts perpendicular to the originals, to make a "grid" pattern of cuts into the squid.
  4. 4. Fillet the sayori halfbeak, then use your knife to remove the skin. Cut the fillets ka-no-ko style like the squid, then gently pound the thick areas to give the fillets an even thickness throughout.
  1. 5. Thinly slice the eggplant tsukemono pickles and red daikon radish pickles to complete the preparations for the sushi toppings.
  2. 6. Use one hand to shape some sushi rice into a ball. Place a sheet of plastic wrap in your other palm, then place some of one of the toppings on the plastic wrap, and add a small amount of wasabi on top of the topping.
  3. 7. Place the ball of rice on top of the wasabi-topped sushi topping, then bring the plastic wrap up and around to gently squeeze the sushi rice into a ball.
  4. 8. Repeat with the other sushi toppings, then arrange together on a plate.
  1. 9. Top with whipped soy sauce and serve.

3. | Beef and Burdock Rolls with Nori and Rice |

  1. 1. Place a sheet of nori onto a sushi mat, spread rice evenly on the nori leaving 2cm at the far end of the nori to close the roll.
  2. 2. Place lettuce over 2/3 of the area covered with rice, place a beef and burdock roll on it and roll.
  3. 3. Using the thumbs and 1st fingers, press the roll to shape.
  4. 4. Cut the roll by placing the tip of the knife on the roll, drawing it sharply through the roll , and then pressing down on with the handle to cleanly complete the cut.
    Serve in a dish with sauce and garnishing vegetables beautifully.