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✰ Nigiri the Bijou ✯
How to Make Nigiri-zushi握り鮨 (にぎりずし)
— Tegaeshi Method —
It is not so difficult to make a nigiri-zushi by hand-forming for the beginners,
but also is said that it requires a few years to master the way duly.
The sliced fish fillet (sashimi) should adhere onto the sushi rice (nigiri) and the nigiri should not be easily dissolved until it is in the mouth - this is a contradictory story - though it really makes the taste of the sushi differently.
The core story of this wisdom is interpreted as how much the air (hollow) is introduced into the nigiri rice, in order to easily be dissolved - hard enough and soft enough concurrently.
This is the most important factor to make a delicious nigiri-sushi so that there were so many artifices invented ever for sushi home-making devices, and recently (2003) a theoretically reasonable and ready to use utensiles appeared on the market, that has an peak on the center of the bottom of the nigiri press cavity that enables to introduce a space/air in a pressed nigiri rice easily.
This is surely an invention based on a technic of professional sushi chef, who always gives one skilful push in the very first stage of nigiri making, as explained Step 4 below.
This technology will probably and quickly spread over the nigiri-press apparatus market and automatic sushi making robot machines worldwide, and it also gives us a good underneath idea to be in mind in nigiri-sushi making at home.
An easy and step by step instruction of hand-forming (nigiri) method of sushi that is called 'Te-gaeshi' (hand-turning) is illustrated for practice.
There are other methods for forming nigiri, called Tate-gaeshi (skips 6 - 8 steps above, and flipping to this side vertically to the position of 9) and Kote-gaeshi (skips 6 - 8 steps, only rolling by fingertip, an easiest/quickest way) and of those variations by individual chef.
Veteran sushi masters have their own, characteristic and excellent ways, to which one might be fascinated and admire the performances taken place in his/her face.
Quickness is also a factor to the lesser damages to the fish and rice, then it could be served faster.
The shapes of sushi are mainly categorized into four types, Kushi (comb,) Tawara (straw bag,) Funazoko (ship-bottom) and Jigami (fan) as seen in the cross section views below. Funazoko type is the most common today.
In the former times, about 50 - 60 years ago, the standard size of nigiri-zushi was so big compared to today's and that was one and a half mouthfuls large, in a Tawara shape, which would be able to imagine by an old Illustration of Hanaya Yohei's sushi.
It is getting smaller nowadays to about 20 g (0.7 oz.)/piece (kan) of sushi rice normally or in average, of which Calories are calculated to 30.5 kcal/piece.
Nowadays, speed and quickness is important, so the most sushi chefs complete their Nigiri-making with only three times (or twice) pressings in their palms, in a few seconds, in so many varied ways derived from basic nigiri methods. More than four pressings is seldom seen indeed.
Updated on: 2009.03.05
Created on: 2003.06.24
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