Sushi Information

Sushi is cooked vinegar rice which is commonly topped with other ingredients, such as fish, or put into rolls. Sliced raw fish alone is called sashimi, as distinct from sushi. Sushi served rolled inside or around dried and pressed layer sheets of seaweed is makizushi . Toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried tofu is inarizushi. Toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice is called chirashi-zushi .

The traditional form of sushi is fermented fish and rice, preserved with salt in a process that has been traced to Southeast Asia, where it remains popular today. The term sushi comes from an archaic grammatical form no longer used in other contexts; literally, "sushi" means "it's sour", a reflection of its historic fermented roots.

The science behind the fermentation of fish packed in rice is that the vinegar produced from fermenting rice breaks the fish down into amino acids. This results in one of the five basic tastes, called umami in Japanese. The oldest form of sushi in Japan, Narezushi still very closely resembles this process. In Japan, Narezushi evolved into Oshizushi and ultimately Edomae nigirizushi, which is what the world today knows as "sushi."

Wikipedia, Sushi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushi (as of Feb 24, 2010)

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