Friday, March 24, 2023

Sushi: Japan’s flagship dish

Many people remember Pearl Harbour each time you mention Japan, many more think Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But forget the politics and the natural disasters such as Fukushima – the Japanese are here, and with them is one of their most recognizable trademark- sushi!

Just some ‘raw fish’, ‘ overrated’ and such other phrases are what most sisters down this part of the southern hemisphere often say in reference to sushi. Needless to say, most have never even tasted it. Well, taste it and you know it is more than just raw fish:

it is culinary phenomenon; it is to food what Brazil is to football, what Tiger Woods is to Golf and what Andre Agassi was to tennis- simply it is imperious.

Sushi has become a common feature at most high-market end restaurants in Botswana with many restaurants offering different platters of this Eastern delicacy.

What, though, goes into making this so much talked about dish? Many people have a viewpoint that sushi’s main ingredient is raw fish, but this turns out to be just a misconception as its main ingredient is sushi rice, unless if you go for Sashimi, which is raw fish by its self.

Not all sushi contain raw fish, some are made with steamed fish and vegetarians can also enjoy sushi as it can be made without fish.

There are many different types of sushi found internationally, the one commonly found in Botswana is the Nori-makirolls, which is a dish that is usually colourful and served with the Japanese wasabi (spicy hot mustard), slivers of pickled ginger and soy sauce. This sushi is usually made layered with Nori-and do not worry about the exotic name – nori is just some green thin sheet of dried sea weed.

Then you have Japanese rice, and the filling, which can be the raw fish or anything of your choice. The Nori-maki is usually a good way to introduce yourself to sushi if you are squeamish. It really tastes delicious.

For those who still have the hesitation to taste sushi because of the fear of the “fishy” taste or anything like that, I say fear no more!

Sushi is good if made right. It is a meal that you won’t mind to have every day as your main dish. It is scrumptious, light and a bit filling. You will not pick-up the smell from the raw fish as many expect you would. The taste mostly comes from the sauces and other flavors like the wasabi. If you like your food spicy, mix the wasabi with the soy sauce to make a dip for your sushi, the more you add the wasabi the hotter it will get. This, being a little cowardly when it comes to very spicy stuff, I am yet to try but it is definitely the next challenge. Wasabi though is just too potent.

For those who may be going out there to try this overwhelming dish, stick to the salmon rolls and basic stuff that you are familiar with before trying the eel and other unique sushi dishes.

But what is Sushi if it won’t be eaten with chopsticks? Sushi is usually eaten using chopsticks; you lift a piece of sushi, dip it in a sauce and eat it. The pieces are small enough to eat without cutting with a knife or beating. Chopsticks on the other hand are not as difficult to use as many of us think. Luckily even, most pieces are rather huge and as such relatively easy even for novices to pick using chopsticks. Just make sure you try your chopstick techniques before you do it in a restaurant, just to avoid the nervousness that may make you think that it is difficult.

The reason I say you should go and try some Sushi is that it is said to be very nutritious. Wasabi is said to be rich in vitamin C and aiding digestion. Basically sushi is a healthy food as we know that fish is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids necessary for a healthy heart. For those who like to watch what they eat, Sushi is a great dish for you when eaten in moderation as it is low in calories.

My advice to you on sushi is that you should go and try it, if you don’t like the stuff, heck! It is only a few bucks and it will be an adventure. Bon appetite!


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