Sushi Samba By monish Gujral Food Bytes in Sunday Standard 12th June 2011

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Sushi Samba By monish Gujral Food Bytes in Sunday Standard 12th June 2011
Posted on 19. Jun, 2011 by motimahal in Uncategorized

Before sushi adapted to a global avatar, whenever I visited Tokyo, I was intrigued by sushi restaurants, and sushi bars serving chilled sake. Some of the fancy outlets had a central conveyor belt going around for guests to pick up the pre-plated sushis and were later charged by the number of plates consumed on the table. On one such culinary trip, I visited a popular restaurant called Sushi Samba, a fusion Brazilian and Japanese restrobar, where I first tasted sushi and since then, it has been one of my favourites. A crumbly white rice cover shielded by a dark grey armour with a gleaming heart inside is what sushi looks like. One bite results in an explosion of a unique taste and flavour.
Part of menus of upscale fine dine restaurants and fast food courts alike, this Japanese-origin food consists of cooked vinegared rice (known as shari) combined with other ingredients, mostly sea food (known as neta). The black seaweed wrappers used to cover the rice are called Nori. Neta and forms of sushi presentation vary, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is shari.
Sushi rice (Shari) is prepared with short-grain Japanese rice, which has a consistency that differs from long-grain strains and has a sticky and mushy texture.
However, nowadays there is a lot of fusion happening with sushi using lamb, duck, and even our own Punjabi tandoori chicken.
Traditionally, sushi was made of fermented fish and rice, (preserved with salt), a process traced to 7th century China (Tang dynasty).
The term sushi literally means “sour-tasting”, a reflection of its historic fermented roots.
The vinegar produced from fermenting rice breaks down the fish proteins into amino acids.
The oldest form of sushi, known as narezushi, is still cooked by this process. Later in Japan, narezushi evolved into oshizushi and ultimately Edomae nigirizushi, which is what the world today knows as “sushi”.
The contemporary Japanese sushi, with little resemblance to the traditional dish, was created by Hanaya Yohei at the end of the Edo Period in Edo (Tokyo).
This sushi was an early form of fast food that was not fermented (therefore prepared quickly).
During the Edo period, sushi referred to fish preserved in vinegar.
Nowadays it can be defined as a dish containing rice which has been prepared with sushi vinegar. There are various types of sushi. Some popular ones are: Nigiri: Small rice balls with fish, shellfish on top. There are countless varieties of nigirizushi, some of the most common ones being tuna, shrimp, eel, squid, octopus and fried egg.
Gunkan: Small cups made of sushi rice and dried seaweed filled with seafood, etc. Some of the common ones among its countless varieties are sea urchin and various kinds of fish eggs.
Norimaki: Sushi rice and seafood, etc. rolled in dried seaweed sheets. There are countless varieties of sushi rolls differing in ingredients and thickness.
Temaki: Temakizushi (literally: hand rolls) are cones made of nori seaweed; filled with sushi rice, seafood and vegetables.
Oshizushi: Pressed sushi in which the fish is pressed onto the sushi rice in a wooden box.
Inari: Inarizushi is a simple and inexpensive type of sushi, in which sushi rice is filled into deep fried tofu bags.
Chirashi: A dish in which seafood, mushroom and vegetables are spread over sushi rice.
Condiments that compliment sushi: Sushi is mostly eaten with soy sauce and wasabi— a piquant paste made from grated root of the Wasabia japonica plant. Wasabi has antimicrobial properties and reduces the risk of food poisoning.
The increasing popularity of sushi has resulted in variations typically found in North America and Europe, but rarely in Japan.
The western world has invented varieties such as California rolls with raw salmon, sometimes even smoked salmon used as Neta. Some use avocado, shitake mushrooms, even philadelphia cheese or cream cheese along with cucumber, chicken teriyaki, tiny tuna etc. The main ingredients of traditional Japanese sushi—raw fish and rice— are naturally low in fat, high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. However, the same cannot be said for the western version which uses cream cheese and mayonnaise etc.
One point of caution when eating sushi in a restaurant is to check whether it’s fresh, as, in sushi mostly raw fish is used .
The writer is a well-known restaurateur and author of many cookbooks
Tags: Express Buzz, Monish gujral, motimahal. Indian Express, samba, sunday express, sushi

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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