Sashimi – an excursion into history

Sashimi, or how to pronounce it in Japanese, “Sashimi” is a national Japanese dish made from raw fish fillet and other seafood cut into pieces. Sometimes sashimi is made from fish or seafood that has undergone minimal heat treatment. Like other Japanese snacks, sashimi is served with soy sauce, pasta made from Japanese wasabi horseradish and pickled ginger – gari. Any greens can be a side dish for sashimi, however, daikon, which is sometimes sprinkled with vinegar, is preferred to thinly planed radish.
Due to the delicacy of taste, sashimi is served at the very beginning of the Japanese meal. In addition to sashimi, soy sauce is needed not to give a taste to the dish, as is generally thought in almost the whole world, but to flavor the smell characteristic of any fresh fish.
In the Japanese culinary tradition, sashimi occupies the most honorable place, as it allows us to realize not only the taste but also the aesthetic needs inherent in all Japanese art – such as ikebana, origami, bansai, etc. Unlike European cuisine, where the decoration of the dish is only an addition to his taste.
Since the taste of sashimi is determined by the gods (we are talking about fresh fish), the cook only has to decorate it. Therefore, Japanese cooks are not cooks at all, but masters who strive to maximally emphasize the taste of each dish individually, without creating anew, and thus not claiming to be the creators.
Therefore, the main tool of the Japanese master of sushi and sashimi is a knife, not a spoon – the taste has already been created, it needs only to be beautifully served.
Sashimi is prepared differently from each type of fish.

The highest skill is the preparation of sashimi on the table in front of customers. Here, every movement of the sushi master is insight, and for entertainment, the fish is used exclusively live. However, the most popular fish for sashimi is tuna, whose carcasses reach 200 kilograms and are sold on the central fish market of Tokyo – Tsukiji – frozen. Such meat, of course, is not chopped off at guests, but its preparation also has a number of features.


Defrosting is carried out in cold water, salted to the state of the sea. Moreover, the freezing is applied exclusively to “shock”: the freshly caught fish is freed from the entrails and gills and frozen at a temperature of -60 С. This procedure occurs on fishing seiners, despite the fact that the shelf life of this fish in the sea does not exceed 10 days. With this treatment, the meat retains its structure and does not lose juice and fat when defrosting. It should also be noted that defrosting large pieces of fish for sashimi is not carried out to the end since slightly frozen fish meat is easier to cut into thin slices. For convenience, large fresh fish is also slightly frozen.
Given that the use of fresh fish sashimi, despite the freshness and beauty of the latter, is often associated with the danger of the propagation of pathogens, sashimi is served with a paste of Japanese wasabi horseradish, which has antiseptic properties and piquant to this dish without violating the natural taste sashimi.