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What Is the Difference Between Nigiri and Sashimi?

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Lauren Beck

When it comes to Japanese food, there are a variety of dishes available to try. Nigiri and sashimi are two popular choices, both incorporating raw fish, but each with their own distinct qualities.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the difference between nigiri and sashimi, where these dishes come from, and how they are made.

What Is the Difference Between Nigiri and Sashimi?

Nigiri and sashimi are both Japanese dishes made with raw fish, but they are served differently. Nigiri is a type of sushi that features a small, hand-formed ball of rice topped with a slice of raw fish. 

Sashimi, on the other hand, is simply thin slices of raw fish that are served without rice. While both dishes are often served with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger, nigiri is generally considered to be more of a finger food, while sashimi is typically eaten with chopsticks.

What Is Nigiri and Where Did Nigiri Originate?

Nigiri is a type of sushi that originated in Tokyo in the 19th century. It is typically made by pressing a small ball of sushi rice together with a slice of raw fish. Nigiri can be made with a variety of fish, including tuna, salmon, and eel. 

While nigiri is often served with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger, some people prefer to eat it without any condiments to fully appreciate the flavor of the fish.

What Is Sashimi and Where Did Sashimi Originate?

Sashimi is a Japanese dish that consists of thin slices of raw fish. The fish used for sashimi is typically of the highest quality, and is often served with soy sauce and wasabi. Sashimi is believed to have originated in the Kansai region of Japan, where it was traditionally served as a type of appetizer. Today, sashimi is enjoyed all over the world, and is often considered a delicacy.

What Are The Best Knives For Preparing Nigiri And Sashimi?

When it comes to preparing nigiri and sashimi, having the right tools is essential. The two most important tools are the Yanagiba knife and the Usuba knife. The Yanagiba knife is a long, thin knife that is used for slicing raw fish. The Usuba knife, on the other hand, is a vegetable knife that is used for cutting the rice used in nigiri. Both of these knives are essential for preparing high-quality nigiri and sashimi.

Is Nigiri Raw Fish?

two nigiri sushi

Yes, nigiri is made with raw fish. However, the fish used for nigiri is typically of the highest quality, and is carefully selected and prepared to ensure that it is safe to eat. While there is always a small risk of foodborne illness when eating raw fish, many people consider nigiri to be a delicacy that is well worth the risk.

Which Is Cheaper, Sashimi or Nigiri?

In general, sashimi is considered to be more expensive than nigiri. This is because sashimi is typically made with higher-quality fish, and the cost of the fish can vary depending on the season and availability. Nigiri, on the other hand, is often made with more affordable fish, which makes it a more budget-friendly option.

Why Is Nigiri So Expensive?

While nigiri can be a more affordable option than sashimi, it can still be quite expensive, especially when prepared with high-quality fish. This is because the preparation of nigiri requires a great deal of skill and attention to detail. Additionally, the rice used in nigiri must be prepared to a specific texture and flavor, which can be a time-consuming process. The cost of nigiri can also vary depending on the availability and quality of the fish used.

How Healthy Is Nigiri?

Nigiri is generally considered to be a healthy food, as it is made with fresh, raw fish and rice. Fish is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other important nutrients. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is always a small risk of foodborne illness when eating raw fish. To minimize this risk, it is recommended that you only eat nigiri from a reputable source and ensure that the fish is fresh and properly prepared.

How to Make Nigiri?

Making nigiri can be a challenging task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done at home. Here is a basic recipe for making nigiri:

  • Start by preparing the sushi rice. Rinse 2 cups of sushi rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Add the rice and 2 1/4 cups of water to a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let the rice simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the rice from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds, or until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture over the rice and stir to combine.
  • Once the rice is cooled, wet your hands and form small, oblong-shaped balls of rice. Top each ball with a slice of raw fish, and gently press the fish onto the rice.
  • Serve the nigiri with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger.

How to Make Sashimi?

Making sashimi is a bit simpler than making nigiri, as it doesn’t involve forming the rice into small balls [1]. Here is a basic recipe for making sashimi:

  • Start by selecting a high-quality piece of fish. Some popular types of fish for sashimi include tuna, salmon, and yellowtail.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice the fish into thin, bite-sized pieces. Arrange the pieces on a platter or plate.
  • Serve the sashimi with soy sauce and wasabi.

Conclusion

While both nigiri and sashimi are made with raw fish, they are actually quite different dishes. Nigiri is a type of sushi that features a small, hand-formed ball of rice topped with a slice of raw fish, while sashimi is simply thin slices of raw fish that are served without rice. When preparing these dishes, it’s important to have the right tools and techniques, and to only use high-quality, fresh fish. Whether you prefer nigiri or sashimi, these Japanese delicacies are sure to be a hit at your next dinner party or sushi night.

Reference:

  1. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-sashimi
Lauren Beck
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