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Sushi Brining


RedRum
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I last few months I have been trying to eat a lot more fish (3-4 per week). usually is salmon, sea bream and bass. But I love sushi and would love to make it at home. I can get fresh fish, but is there any other processes that needs to be done for the preparation of the fish to be safely eaten? I friend of mine told me that all sushi is left in brine to sterilise it. Does anyone know a bit more about this?

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I last few months I have been trying to eat a lot more fish (3-4 per week). usually is salmon, sea bream and bass. But I love sushi and would love to make it at home. I can get fresh fish, but is there any other processes that needs to be done for the preparation of the fish to be safely eaten? I friend of mine told me that all sushi is left in brine to sterilise it. Does anyone know a bit more about this?

I am no sushi chef, but I have made it many times from several different books and have never seen that.

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I've never heard of brining fish before serving it as sashimi or as ingredients for sushi. (Sashimi is not synonymous with sushi.) You need sashimi-grade fish, which is fresh enough to eat raw. Some fish and seafood may have parasites in them, such as salmon and firefly squid. Such fish and seafood must be frozen or boiled to kill those parasites before being served.

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RedRum, (I get flash backs of The Shining), check if there are Asian markets in your area. The little one by me has sushi grade tuna, salmon, tilapia, escolar, mackrel, and hamachi as well as octopus. All frozen. The tuna is nearly as good as what I get at local sushi restaurants. Once I have gotten a piece of tuna that had more connective tissue than I wanted but usually it is very clean. I have had the tuna, escolar and octopus and all were very good. FDA requires all fish to be eaten raw to be frozen excpet tuna to kill parasites.

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You'll want to lightly cure fish like saba, aji, kohada, iwashi, and other oily fish. You wouldn't want to do that with fish like tuna and salmon. Then again, it all depends what quality fish you have access to.

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Sounds more like a ceviche than sushi. You might like ceviche. Usually the fish is marinated in something that has high acidity. This acidic marinate denatures the protein, similar to heating, so that the finished product has a firmer texture.

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Fresh water fish is usally not eaten without some sort of cure to avoid parasites.

One supplier I know of cured his salmon by soaking in a vinegar solution for a time and then freezing. Saba as previously mentioned by Doc is cured in a vinegar brine also. It is true that most commercial sashimi grade fish is frozen but at very low temperatures in Super Freezers to prolong storage life and freshness in a valuable commodity. There are true Japanese Sushi Chefs that take great pride in serving unfrozen fish and knowing the location from which the fish came from. That's when you know you are in a true Sushi bar.

If you plan on making your own Sushi at home you must find a supplier that supplies Sashimi Grade fish. Normal 'fresh' fish is NOT suitable for Sushi or Sashimi so unless you caught it yourself or if it didn't come as Sahimi Grade from a reputable supplier, cure or cook.-Dick

Edited by budrichard (log)
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Don't feel left out even if you can't get sashimi-grade fish. In the very traditional edomae zushi (edo style sushi), almost every neta (topping) had some sort of "shigoto" (work) or "teate" (treatment) done on it, which means it was not rare.

Even today, some neta require some sort of shigoto. For example,

Anago (conger eel): Simmered

Saba (horse mackerel): Pickled in vinegar (thus, shime-saba)

Maguro (tuna) can be marinated in a soy sauce-based liquid to turn it into "zuke".

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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you can also dip mackerel(aji) in vinegar just before serving as sushi or sashimi

most of the fishes that are cured are shiny silvery fishes(hikarimono)

for salmon and bream you do not need to cure especially for bream.bream is a very delicate fish.you can sear the skin a little with a torch and eat it.a lot of people eat bream sushi with salt instead of soy sauce. a good thing to do to the salmon is to shockit or sear it.if you want to shock it dip the fish in boiling water and the immediately pull out and put it in ice water the pat to dry.you will see the white strands and impurities in the boiling water from the fish.

Edited by kenchin2007 (log)
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RedRum, (I get flash backs of The Shining), check if there are Asian markets in your area.  The little one by me has sushi grade tuna, salmon, tilapia, escolar, mackrel, and hamachi as well as octopus.  All frozen.  The tuna is nearly as good as what I get at local sushi restaurants.  Once I have gotten a piece of tuna that had more connective tissue than I wanted but usually it is very clean.  I have had the tuna, escolar and octopus and all were very good.  FDA requires all fish to be eaten raw to be frozen excpet tuna to kill parasites.

you want to be careful with the escolar cause youll get diarreah if you eat to much

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Thanks for the warning. Ah escolar, the fish with many names. I had cooked escolar at a restaurant which called it butter fish and then at a sushi restaurant where it was called white tuna. No warnings given at either restaurant. I had done some research on escolar and knew what to look at for. Never had any ill effects.

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Thanks for the warning.  Ah escolar, the fish with many names.  I had cooked escolar at a restaurant which called it butter fish and then at a sushi restaurant where it was called white tuna.  No warnings given at either restaurant.  I had done some research on escolar and knew what to look at for.  Never had any ill effects.

I'd avoid any sushi bar that thinks white tuna is escolar.

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  • 2 months later...

Last night I went to what I think was a rather nice Japanese restaurant here in Halifax and asked about the bonito nigiri.

I'm not sure I fully understood the answer I got, but the gist of it was "not raw".

I thought bonito was the skipjack tuna, smaller relative of the bluefin of toro fame and major ingredient of dashi (my new favourite Japanese ingredient, bumping tonkatsu and teriyaki off the podium). The woman suggested raw bonito was not appropriate for human consumption and was somehow heat-treated.

Does this make sense, expert colleagues?

Edited by Peter the eater (log)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Thanks for the warning.  Ah escolar, the fish with many names.  I had cooked escolar at a restaurant which called it butter fish and then at a sushi restaurant where it was called white tuna.  No warnings given at either restaurant.  I had done some research on escolar and knew what to look at for.  Never had any ill effects.

I'd avoid any sushi bar that thinks white tuna is escolar.

What the heck is white tuna? I have looked and found no real answers, but love the stuff. I got some of what my local sushi guy said, but could not understand all of it.

Edited by Doodad (log)
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Last night I went to what I think was a rather nice Japanese restaurant here in Halifax and asked about the bonito nigiri.

I'm not sure I fully understood the answer I got, but the gist of it was "not raw".

I thought bonito was the skipjack tuna, smaller relative of the bluefin of toro fame and major ingredient of dashi (my new favourite Japanese ingredient, bumping tonkatsu and teriyaki off the podium). The woman suggested raw bonito was not appropriate for human consumption and was somehow heat-treated.

Does this make sense, expert colleagues?

Bonito is traditionally served charred on the outside but still raw inside.-Dick

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