• Trisha Reddy

The Invention And Evolution of Sushi

Whether you like it raw, sashimi-style, flash-fried as a part of a roll or chopped up in a poke-style sushi bowl, sushi has something to offer for everyone. Sushi has quickly become one of the most popular international dishes over the last century, tracing its origin back to the ricefields of China between the 3rd and 5th centuries B.C.

It was originally a Chinese dish called nare-sushi. It was first created to keep meat fresh in the absence of refrigeration by storing raw fish folded in fermented rice; its freshness could be preserved for months.

Interestingly, the rice was typically thrown out when eating the fish. Gradually, the preservation method was popularised in China and Japan, where Japan went a step further. It quickly developed into the Sushi Capital of the world and was responsible for introducing the dish to travellers. Entrepreneurs developed quicker ways to prepare sushi- vinegar aided the process and the rice was eaten along with the fish.

Hanaya Yohei of Tokyo is thought to be responsible for the shift in the way sushi was prepared and presented. As the Japanese migrated to different parts of the world and sushi traveled along with them, the form and taste of the dish began to metamorphose. This was due to the unavailability of fresh fish and people’s aversion towards raw fish and seaweed.

And this is how the much-loved California Roll by Chef Hidekazu Tojo was born. The seaweed hid behind a veil of rice, raw fish was replaced by avocado and fresh crab meat and finished with a hint of mayonnaise. The California roll is the most popular and commonly served sushi rolls in India and across the world. This dish can be made quickly and easily at home. Although a few ingredients might be hard to find, specific stores now retail such international products. Sushi is now altered and redesigned in many countries to please their respective palate. Therefore leaving us with several alternatives for meat, fish, and other ingredients that go into making sushi, particularly for those who are vegan or vegetarian.

Sushi is constantly evolving. Modern sushi chefs have introduced new ingredients, preparation, and serving methods. While sushi burritos may never find appreciation in Japanese cuisine, some unique ingredients are making their way onto menus. So if you haven’t tried sushi yet, it's time you order or make some, and experience the remarkable flavours of sushi for yourself.