On the Line / Menu + Food / What is Nigiri?

What is Nigiri?

Learn how nigiri is typically made by hand, with the sushi chef pressing the rice and topping together with their fingers.

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What is nigiri?

Nigiri is a type of sushi that consists of a small, oblong mound of vinegared rice topped with a piece of raw fish, seafood, or another topping. The topping is usually placed on top of the rice with the help of a small piece of seaweed called nori. Nigiri is typically made by hand, with the sushi chef pressing the rice and topping together with their fingers.

What does nigiri taste like?

The taste of nigiri is dependent on the topping that is used. Some common toppings for nigiri include tuna, salmon, eel, squid, shrimp, and egg. The topping is usually thinly sliced and placed on top of the rice, allowing the flavors of the fish or seafood to be the dominant flavor.

Tuna nigiri, for example, has a rich, savory flavor with a slight hint of sweetness. Salmon nigiri has a mild, delicate flavor with a slight hint of richness. Eel nigiri has a slightly sweet and savory flavor, while squid nigiri has a slightly briny and slightly sweet flavor.

What is the history/origin of nigiri?

The exact history of nigiri sushi is not well documented, but it is believed to have originated in Japan in the early 19th century. Sushi has a long history in Japan, with the first recorded mention of sushi dating back to the 9th century. At that time, sushi was made by fermenting fish and rice together in barrels, a process that resulted in preserved food that could be stored for long periods of time. Nigiri sushi became popular in Japan and eventually spread to other countries, where it is now enjoyed by people around the world.

How is nigiri served?

Nigiri is typically served in pairs, with one or two pieces of nigiri per serving. It is often served with soy sauce and wasabi on the side, which can be mixed together and used as a dipping sauce. Nigiri is typically served on a small wooden or plastic tray, with the sushi chef placing the pieces of nigiri on the tray and presenting it to the customer.

How do you make nigiri?

  • Cook the rice, and while it’s still hot, season it with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Mix the seasoning into the rice until it is well combined and the rice is sticky.
  • Slice the topping for the nigiri thinly. The topping should be about the same size and shape as the mound of rice.
  • Wet your hands with a small amount of water to prevent the rice from sticking to your fingers. Scoop a small amount of rice (about the size of a golf ball) into the palm of your hand and shape it into an oblong mound.
  • Place the topping on top of the rice mound and press it gently into place with your fingers.
  • Wrap a small piece of nori around the topping and rice to hold it in place.
  • Repeat the process to make additional pieces of nigiri.

Nigiri is best served fresh, so it is best to prepare it just before serving. Enjoy your homemade nigiri with soy sauce and wasabi on the side for dipping.

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