“Maki” Time To Learn The History Of These Sushi Names

If you’ve been to a Japanese restaurant, especially in the US, there are some things you’re likely to find: miso soup, delicious tongue-tingling wasabi, hot sake, ample rice, equally large portions of fish, and other well-prepared bite-sized pieces. Did you know that there is no need for fish (uncooked or not) to make the food sushi? The little rice blocks with egg-like bits or even spam securing them by a band of seaweed? Yup, still sushi!

Let’s take some bites of history and discover the meaning of some commonly used sushi terms and references!

How do you define sushi?

Let’s start with this article’s primary purpose, and that’s sushi! Today, when Westerners think about sushi, they imagine images of fish slices and other condiments neatly arranged in small pieces of rice. The ingredients and fish could be eliminated since “sushi” refers explicitly to the rice used. Sushi is boiled and cold rice, then seasoned with vinegar, giving it a slightly sour flavor. Sushi originated as a method of preserving raw fish by wrapping the salted fish in specially fermented rice that could last several weeks or months.

Did you even …?

Many people in the US may think of sushi as a cuisine that is fundamentally Japanese. The history of sushi’s creation can be traced back to Southeast Asia between the fifth and third centuries BCE. One of the earliest instances of writing about the concept of sushi printed in a book is believed to be a fourth-century Chinese dictionary that describes the salted fish that is placed in rice cooked to undergo an enzymatic process. It’s thought that sushi was introduced to Japan in the 8th century. In the way we speak of it in English, sushi was first documented between 1895 and 1900 from its Japanese source in the form of “sour, sour rice.”

What is Wasabi?

If you’ve ever eaten wasabi-based paste, you probably have hair rise off your scalp now! A family member of Brassicaceae, which includes mustard and horseradish, wasabi is a green herb. The Rhizomes are crushed into a paste, a well-known condiment with sushi, sashimi, and other fish-based dishes. Wasabi was utilized for medicinal purposes for at least as long as Japan’s Nara time (710-793 CE).

Want to know more about Sashimi? Find out more about it here.

How do I define daikon?

The famous white winter radish is featured in popular culture, with a stunning rotund character from the animated film Spirited Away (2001). The word daikon’s etymological origins are rooted in Middle Chinese, the modern term daikon [dahy-kuhn and -kon] made up from the Japanese prefix meaning “large” (dai-) as well as the word “root” (-kon). They are crunchy and are mostly made up of water. Daikon roshi (grated daikon) is often used as a garnish and incorporated in sauces like the ponzu. A variety of Japanese pickles are also made using daikon’s root. Daikon is used in many dishes across Asia, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan.

Is Mirin a word?

Mirin (pronounced mee-reen) is a Japanese cooking wine made of rice. The cooking methods and uses of Mirin can vary significantly based on location. Still, you’re more likely to find it in teriyaki sauces and used as a primary ingredient in sushi. Mirin tends to be more sweet as compared to sake. However, it has lower alcohol content (about 14 percent Mirin and 20 percent sake). It is regarded as one of the most essential condiments in Japanese cooking. Mirin is created by mixing steamed glutinous rice and cultured rice (called Koji) and alcohol-based rice liquor that is distilled. The mixture could ferment for some months and years. The longer Mirin is aged, the darker its color and the more intense its flavor. Mirin was first documented in English between 1870 and 1975. The etymological origins of the Japanese word are most likely to be derived from Middle Chinese, with the modern parts of the word being broken into “taste, flavor” and “rin” “to remove astringency.”

Miso is what?

Miso is often regarded as a significant ingredient in soups with the same name. A fermented flavoring made of soybean paste, usually with barley or rice added miso, is often used to enhance the flavor of dishes and soups. In many American-based Japanese eateries, miso soup can be served before the entire order, including sushi rolls or sashimi, is done. Miso is technically designed to be consumed following the meal to help ease stomach discomfort.

Similar to sushi, miso is believed to have been brought into the Japanese archipelago by China, which could have coincided with the expansion of Buddhism. Around 800 CE, the word miso first appeared in Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku. This modern Japanese history book changed miso’s original Chinese character with one specifically used to refer to Japanese miso. Different kinds of miso (either made from refined rice, barley, or other grain) were used to differentiate between the class distinctions in feudal Japan. It was first documented in 1720-30. Miso was first recorded in 1720-30. mee-soh is the equivalent of the Korean phrase menu “soybean malt.”


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