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Basic Sushi Vocabulary Guide


Fat Guy
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Yes, I'm asking you all to do my work for me again. I've been asked to create a short -- maybe a dozen key terms -- sushi vocabulary guide. I'm not talking about the names of foods like uni and hamachi. I'm talking about the meta-vocabulary of sushi, such as maki, nigiri, and omakase. Hey, there's a good list of three to begin with.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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temaki and chirashi?

Right. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. What would you say are the most accurate, pithy definitions of those terms?

Pronunciation: Good idea. What does omakase rhyme with?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Oh, so you're not writing any of this yourself?

Temaki: hand-rolled sushi ('te' means hand) wrapped in nori (dried seaweed), large and conical.

Chirashi-zushi (scattered sushi, the 'su' of sushi being voiced when preceded by some modifiers): deconstructed sushi, a pile of sushi rice in a bowl or box covered with nigiri toppings (sashimi, tamago, etc).

[Hey, how about sashimi in the list?]

I'm really bad at trying to write down pronunciation.

Agemono. Fried foods.

Edomae-zushi. Same as nigiri-zushi

Donburi/don -- not sure about the distinction between these, if there is one.

Someone ask Jinmyo.

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Oshibori - warm rolled towel

Itamae-san - the sushi chef

Domo - thank you

Domo arigato - thank you very much

Arigato gozaimashita - thank you so very much (at the end of the evening)

Dozo -please.

Gochiso-sama [deshita] traditional phrase at end of meal

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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the Japanese name of pink pickled ginger (if any)

miso soup

gari

miso shiru

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Kampyo: pickled gourd used with many rolls

Kampyo are not so much pickled as dried strips that are then reconstituted.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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One useful distinction might be between a handroll (including inside out or not), a cone and a piece of sushi. Also, a reference to warm tea.

Maki, temaki, nigiri, o-cha.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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"Wasabi -- Often called Japanese mustard, it's actually closer to horseradish. Wasabi is the only traditionally correct condiment for sushi. Soy sauce is for tourists."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"Wasabi -- Often called Japanese mustard, it's actually closer to horseradish. Wasabi is the only traditionally correct condiment for sushi. Soy sauce is for tourists."

I don't know anything about this, but the statement strikes me as a bit of a generalization. Certainly, I've seen far too much soy used on sushi, but I've also had chefs tell me to use some (sparingly), or some other concoction they've come up with for a particular treat. As I get it, in the proper instance, some soy is applied to one end of the fish, not the rice. Frequently, the chef will have added the wasabi to the rice in the course of the preparation.

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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My favorite way to end sushi is with some albacore nigiri. My favorite place tops it with a little green onion and his garlic/ginger sauce. Most recently he started putting albacore toro on top of that for some of the most divine sushi you can imagine. So, so decadent.

Anyway, a new term that I just learned is for a certain type of presentation for items without structure, like masago or other roes is "gunka." There's a bed of rice and nori is used to make a little cup to hold uni, spicy scallops, etc. It's pronounced "goon-ka" and I believe it's spelled gunka but I could very easily be mistaken as I'm guessing on the spelling, any help out there? It's Japanese for "battleship."

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Yes, klink. Gunkan. These are oval shaped, like maki but with the nori acting as a collar to hold the roe.

edit for crappy image:

sushi-15.jpg

Edited by Jinmyo (log)

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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As for a glossary, I think (as Cabrales and Jinmyo said up there) the distinction between cut (maki) and hand (temaki) rolls is an important one.

Also, the no-chopsticks thing...in my experience, one sees a range of conveyance practices, from no-chopsticks to chopsticks-only. Common sense often seems to dictate--a good thing, I think.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Pronuciation tip - in Japanese, "e" is always pronounced short as in "bed". So omakase does not rhyme with posse or Tallahassee. Neither does it rhyme with way or bay since it ends in "e" and not "ei". I can't think of an english word that ends in a short "e" sound, so rhyming may be difficult if not impossible.

I was taught that "dozo" more specifically meant "please accept this from me" as in when you are giving something to somebody else or granting a request, rather than "kudasai" when you are requesting something be given or brought to you. "Onegai shimas" means please and is more polite/formal than kudasai. Somebody please correct me if I am wrong about these things.

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Maybe a little info on the difference between fresh, real wasabi and the faux horseradish wasabi we normally get. Are there different Japanese words for each type?

I have heard the pickled ginger is not the be eaten with the sushi, but in between pieces as a palate cleanser. Is this right?

In LA we gat lots of Nobu-style seared fish called tataki. Is tatkai an American invention, or is it authentic? I love to see the chefs using the little blowtorches--kind of like sushi shop class!

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Chopsticks, I think, predate sushi by a goodly margin.

As long as we're on the subject, how do you say chopsticks in Japanese?

Meanwhile, chopsticks also predate CDs by a margin but I don't use them to listen to music. Is that why I don't like Britney?

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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