While most people consider sushi to be small, tightly wrapped rolls with seaweed and rice, sushi actually comes in many different forms. Two of the most unique styles are chirashizushi and narezushi, a bowl of sushi ingredients and pickled sushi, respectively.
Chirashizushi and Narezushi Types
Chirashizushi is often referred to as scattered or uncaked sushi, as the traditional sushi ingredients are served in a bowl or box rather than in roll form. The ingredients, like seaweed, roe, fish, shellfish and vegetables, are served neatly on top of a bowl of sushi rice.
Because the dish doesn’t have to be expertly rolled or formed, chirashizushi is a great dish to make at home, especially for beginners. Unlike other sushi dishes, the contents are entirely up to the creator.
In Tokyo, edomae chirashizushi is a popular take on the dish. Mostly, the ingredients remain uncooked, though sometimes cooked ingredients are used.
For a tasty and traditional take on the meal, try using thinly sliced salmon or tuna, pickled ginger, diagonally cut cucumbers, carrots chopped into matchstick slices, nori seaweed and flying fish roe.
Don’t confuse chirashizushi with sashimi. Sashimi is also slightly cooked or vinegared seafood, but chirashizu always includes rice, a common ingredient in all forms of sushi.
Eating Sushi: What is Narezushi?
Narezushi is one of the oldest forms of sushi. In the 1800s, sushi was made in an entirely different way. Today, this style is referred to as narezushi. Back then, sushi was made by pressing fish into layers of salt and allowing it to ferment for months.
Traditionally, the skinned and gutted fish were placed in a wooden barrel and pressed with a pickling stone. Water seeps out and six months later, the fish is ready to be eaten, while a ball of rice was formed with the sliced fish.
The pickling process proved maintained the fish, keeping it edible for months after the fermentation. Strangely, the rice wasn’t eaten with narezushi in the early days of the food, but a food shortage in Japan forced people to eat the rice along with fish. This was the beginning of many forms of well-known sushi.
Unlike vegetarian sushi recipes, which are quite popular around the world, narezushi is difficult to find outside of Japan. The taste isn’t often appreciated by people in the Western world.