Folks who may think they do not like sushi are usually confusing sushi with raw fish, which is actually sashimi, not sushi. That said, sashimi and sushi are often served together, but not necessarily. A sushi chef is a master at rice.
Sushi is a short-grain rice that is seasoned with brown vinegar or mirin, a sweet rice cooking wine. In Japan, an Itamae is a sushi chef, and it takes from 2 to 20 years to complete the training and apprenticeship. After several years of work, an apprentice could become a “wakita.” This refers to the cutting board, where a wakita prepares the fresh ingredients for the day… from fish to slicing vegetables and grating ginger.
Most sushi is rice and vegetables, but sushi is commonly found with everything from fried softshell crab to sweet potato and avocado.
Especially familiar is what’s known as the California Roll. This is uramaki, also known as an inside-out makizushi roll. It contains crab (real or imitation), avocado, and thinly sliced cucumber sticks. These ingredients are rolled in nori seaweed or soy paper, and then rice. Sometimes the rice is sprinkled with sesame seeds or flying fish row.
A popular variation on the California Roll is made with cooked shrimp.