A Guide to Sashimi

The word sashimi translates to ‘cut body’ and are thinly cut strips of meat which is consumed raw. This delicacy was introduced by China some 2500 years ago and has since become an important part of Japanese cuisine. Here we will cover the some of the popular sashimi types, how to make perfect slices, choosing a quality knife and how to eat it – the Japanese way!

  • How to cut sashimi slices
  • How to eat sashimi
  • Choosing a quality sashimi knife
    • Soulfull surgical grade knife
    • 10″ Sashimi knife
    • Damascus stainless steel pro
    • Forged chef knife
  • The difference between sushi and sashimi
  • Most common sashimi types
    • Eel
    • Octopus
    • Sweet shrimp
    • Squid
    • Horse
    • Fish varieities

How to cut sashimi slices

The key to cutting perfect slices is to cut 1/8 inch slices against the grain. It’s potentially dangerous and tricky but can be mastered with a good quality knife, some technique and a bit of careful practice.

In this video you will learn how to cut perfect sashimi slices. Video is owned and created by HowCast.

How to eat sashimi

Sashimi, no matter the type, is just as much about visual presentation and arrangement as it is about taste. It’s recommended to be eaten the Japanese way – with chopsticks. The lightly salted delicacy is actually meant to be enjoyed without any condiments but its perfectly acceptable to have it with soy sauce and wasabi if one chooses.

A sashimi platter is the ideal choice, especially for beginners, as it allows you to try out various types all at once. It’s common and actually recommended to have pickled ginger with your platter. The point is to consume small amounts of ginger in between trying out the different varieties as the ginger does a great job at cleansing your palate.

Choosing a quality sashimi knife

The equipment needed to make the delicacy doesn’t need to be expensive. As a matter of fact, only a high quality stainless steel knife is all that is needed unlike the many items needed to make sushi. Below we will review 4 high grade stainless steel Japanese knifes that are ideal for the task.

Soulfull Surgical grade stainless steel knife

This high quality Japanese knife is made from surgical stainless steel and is twice as hard and tough than most other knife brands. It’s single edged and not made for chopping – instead it’s ideal for slicing which makes it the perfect sashimi knife.

Check out this knife at amazon.com.

10″ Sashimi knife

This Japan made 10 inch multi-purpose knife features high quality carbon steel with a non-slip handle. It’s ideal for preparing fish, thanks to its unique shape which enables you to fillet an entire fish in one or two moves.

Check out this knife at amazon.com.

Damascus stainless steel pro yanagiba 10.5″ slicing knife

The damascus stainless steel pro blade features an incredible 33 layers of stainless steel and allows you to slice through any ingredients without needing to apply much pressure. The knife is the most cost effective yanagiba blade money can buy and is a popular choice among chefs around the world.

Check this knife out at amazon.com.

Forged chef knife with walnut sheath

A good quality knife is essential as you need to cut raw fish effortlessly and perfectly. A quality knife of Japanese standards will also remain razor sharp for much longer than a standard one.

Check this knife out at amazon.com.

The different sashimi types

The varieties are basically endless – so much so that one could even surprisingly find horse, beef and chicken varieties. Below we will mostly cover the traditional Japanese seafood types.

Eel sashimi

Most things are consumed raw when it comes to this delicacy and as well as sushi but not when dealing with eel. Most eel species have poisonous blood which is why it first has to be bled before being lightly grilled or cooked. Nevertheless, it’s incredibly delicious and has a similar texture to fugu (pufferfish).

Octopus sashimi

Octopus sashimi, also known as tako, is one of the most easily recognizable Japanese dishes. The thinly sliced purple colored flesh with suction cups tastes surprisingly delicious raw and slightly salted.

Sweet shrimp sashimi

Shrimp, also known as ebi is a delicacy in Japan. Tiger prawns along with red shrimp, botan ebi and amaebi are by far the most popular and delicious types.

Squid sashimi

Squid, or Ika as the Japanese call it, is a popular choice. The flesh is see through and is rather chewy but has a unique sweet taste. It’s common for restaurants in Japan to have a tank full of live squid and they prepare it within two minutes right in front of you upon ordering.

Horse sashimi

Eating horse meat is something most of us cannot even imagine – let alone eating it raw. Horse meat is illegal in the US but perfectly legal in Japan and the dish is known as basashi.

How the practice first developed is a mystery but many speculate that it was Samurai warriors who first did it during the 1877 Kumamoto Castle battle when they were trapped for 53 days and had no choice but to eat their horses. Another popular believe is that it all started during the modernization period of Japan when people had to rely less on their horses. These horses quickly started overpopulating some rural areas of the country and the best option was to eat them.

Learn more about basashi here.

Fish varieties

There is a wide variety of fish which are well suited for this type of cuisine. Tuna is by far the most common and most popular choice but other compatible fish types include salmon, halibut, mackerel, red snapper, yellowtail and sea bass. A word of caution: Mackerel is the least popular since many people do not like the strong oily texture and taste.

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