If you’re in the mood for seafood, you might be ready to dial your local restaurant and order delicious sushi for dinner.
But before you go ahead, you should consider an alternative: sashimi.
Isn’t sashimi the same thing as sushi? While sashimi and sushi are similar in many ways, which is why some people assume they’re the same food, they actually have important differences that you should know about.
This article will help you choose the healthiest seafood option. Let’s explore sushi vs sashimi to see how these dishes vary and what they have to offer.
What Is Sushi?
Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish. To make it, cooks use vinegared rice and various ingredients (which can vary a lot) to create a delicious – and often artistic – plate of food.
The ingredients can include raw seafood and/or vegetables, but sushi rice is always involved. This type of rice is made by cooking Japanese short-grain rice that gets seasoned with rice vinegar, salt, sugar, and kelp (kombu).
Interestingly, sushi became popular in Japan in the ninth century. It started to gain attention around the same time Buddhism started to become popular and spread. This was because it fitted in with the Buddhist dietary practice of abstaining from meat. It became a healthy substitute for meat. That said, sushi did not actually originate in Japan!
Contrary to popular belief, sushi has its origins in China. Although we can thank Japan for introducing sushi to travelers, which encouraged it to spread across the world, sushi can be traced back to a Chinese dish known as narezushi, all the way back to some time between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC. This dish contains fermented rice and salted fish.
Two types of sushi
There are two main types of sushi. These are:
Maki. This is the classic rolled sushi you’ve probably seen at many restaurants. It gets filled with different ingredients, before being sliced into pieces. These rolls can be wrapped in seaweed with rice and ingredients inside it or served with rice on the outside.
Nigiri. This type of sushi isn’t rolled in a seaweed wrap. A small mound of sushi rice is topped with a piece of cooked or raw fish. A bit of wasabi or some seaweed is sometimes used to keep the fish and rice together.
What Is Sashimi?
Sashimi is a Japanese food that consists of raw fish or meat which is sliced thinly and then enjoyed with a soy sauce, or sometimes vegetables.
There are different theories about where and how sashimi originated.
One theory states that we can date sashimi to the Heian period (794 AD to 1185) in Japan when a popular dish at the time consisted of sliced raw fish and vegetables that were seasoned with vinegar. This was known as namasu.
A different theory states that sashimi goes all the way back to the Kamakura period in Japan (1185 to 1333), when fishermen sliced fish and sold it as fast food.
Today, sashimi forms part of a formal Japanese meal, and it’s served early on in the meal so that one’s palate is clear to enable an appreciation of its subtle flavors.
Sushi Vs Sashimi: Similarities And Differences
Sushi and sashimi do share some similarities. For example, they both can be enjoyed as part of a main course or as an appetizer.
They also both usually consist of seafood, although you can choose to have sushi without fish or sashimi with other meat instead of seafood.
What Are Their Differences?
One of the biggest differences between sushi and sashimi is that sashimi is sliced thinly and it’s not usually served with rice. It usually makes use of tuna or salmon, but you can make sashimi with other types of fish, like clams, mackerel, shrimp, and others. Sushi, on the other hand, always has rice.
Sushi comes in a variety of styles and presentations. Since the vinegared rice can be clumped together, this ensures that it can be rolled up into sushi rolls. Sushi can be made with other ingredients besides fish and rice, such as cucumber, avocado, and egg. By comparison, sashimi is served as plainly as possible, other than soy sauce as its accompaniment. This is to ensure that the fish or meat’s natural flavor can be the star of the show.
Sushi is not always raw. You can find sushi that contains cooked fish. With sashimi, however, the meat is always raw.
Sushi Vs Sashimi: Which One Is Healthier For You?
Both sushi and sashimi contain fish which is high in omega-3 fatty acids. These have been said to be beneficial to heart health, and can be used to treat high blood pressure.
If you want to indulge in sushi or sashimi, you might wonder which one is the most nutritional. If you’re reaching for sashimi, it’s good to know that it’s usually made from saltwater fish and this poses less of a risk of parasites than freshwater fish, so that can make it healthy for you to consume.
Generally, how many carbs and calories, or fat, that you’ll get in sashimi or sushi depends on the meat or fish that’s in the food. However, since sushi contains other ingredients, such as rice or avo, this will make it more calorie-intensive than sashimi.
Is Sushi Healthy?
Let’s look at some popular sushi ingredients and what nutrients they have to offer.
Oily fish. If your sushi contains oily fish, such as salmon, this is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Since it’s recommended that you eat two portions of oily fish every week, sushi can be a good way to achieve this goal.
Avocado. If your sushi contains avocado, this is a good source of Vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, which are healthy fats your body needs to reduce cholesterol.
Seaweed. This is high in protein and fiber, and also gives you iron, zinc, Vitamin B12, and iodine.
Cucumber. This contains a high water content, electrolytes, and vitamins such as Vitamin A and K, the latter which assists the body’s blood-clotting ability.
What to be aware of in sushi:
Soy sauce. Although this gives your sushi more flavor, soy sauce is high in salt. One teaspoon of this sauce can consist of around 15 percent of your recommended daily salt intake!
Sushi rice. Since it contains sugar, salt, and vinegar to make it sticky, this rice will contribute to a higher salt intake – and will bump up your sugar intake.
Mayonnaise. If your sushi contains mayo, this is not healthy. It will increase the amount of saturated, or bad, fats in your diet which contribute to higher cholesterol levels.
How to make sushi healthier
If you want to reduce the unhealthy ingredients in sushi, you can be smarter the next time you order this delicious treat.
Choose sushi made with brown rice. It’s got more fiber than white rice and is more filling, so you won’t overeat.
Choose sushi wrapped in cucumber. This is a healthy, water-rich vegetable.
Choose sushi that has more fish than rice. This will ensure you get more omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and less sugar, salt, or starchy carbs.
Eat your sushi with healthy sides. Include some fiber or protein to your sushi meal, such as with veggies or edamame. You could also eat your sushi with salad or miso soup to increase the nutritional value of your meal.
Is Sashimi Healthy?
Sashimi is usually considered to be healthier than sushi because it only contains raw meat or fish. It’s therefore a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
However, since it is sometimes enjoyed with soy sauce, this can cause it to increase your salt intake.
Another risk with sashimi is that you can’t rely on its “sashimi-grade” label. Even if fish has been labelled as such, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat. It only means the seller thinks that the fish is safe to eat, but there’s no official rating of the raw fish or meat.
The same goes for “sushi-grade,” by the way! Raw fish can contain harmful bacteria, such as salmonella or anisakis. This is why fish have to be frozen first to prevent parasites from living and thriving.
Choosing the right fish for sashimi is important to help you increase its health benefits. If you’re eating salmon, butterfish, or bluefin tuna, these are all types of healthy fatty fish – but they do contain lots of calories. Yellowfish tuna is leaner and will reduce your fat intake, while giving you a good amount of protein.
If you’re jumping out of your comfort zone and daring to try different kinds of seafood, such as sea urchin roe, this is a good source of protein and doesn’t contain a lot of fat, so it’s a smart choice if you want to reduce your calorie intake.
Squid sashimi is also a good choice. It contains healthy ingredients such as Vitamin B12, iron, copper, phosphorus, and potassium. However, squid contains mercury, so you shouldn’t eat it too regularly.
When it comes to mercury, trace amounts are considered safe for most people. But, if you are a woman who’s pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to fall pregnant, you should avoid raw fish, especially types such as swordfish and marlin which are especially high in mercury. The same rule applies to children under the age of 16. This is because mercury cant stunt development and growth.
How To Make Sushi At Home
You can make your own DIY sushi! Even though it might not be as artistic as what you’ll find in popular restaurants, it can still be delicious.
What you’ll need:
1 batch sushi rice
6 sheets sushi seaweed
½ pound sushi-grade raw salmon
4 oz cream cheese
1 avocado (sliced)
Place the sheet of seaweed on a bamboo mat.
Cover it with an even layer of the sushi rice. You can use a rice paddle to make this easier.
Layer your salmon, avo, and cream cheese on the rice. Roll it up.
Slice the roll with a knife, and serve it with soy sauce.
How To Make Your Own Salmon Sashimi
Just like sushi, sashimi is also easy to make.
What you’ll need:
4 oz (110 g) each of sushi grade tuna, salmon, and yellowtail.
Fresh vegetables that you’ll serve with the sashimi, such as carrots, cucumber, and avocado.
Condiments (such as soy sauce).
Grate the veggies that you want to serve with the sashimi. Then, place them in a Ziploc bag and put them in the fridge until you are ready to plate them.
With a sharp knife, cut the fish into neat slices. Make sure you use a knife that isn’t serrated and cut very thin slices – aim for between 0.25 to 0.5 inches.
Place the shredded vegetables on the plate. Here’s a good tip for making the plate look beautiful: if you’re using one vegetable, put it in the center of your plate. If you’re using two or more veggies, arrange them in a row in the center of the plate.
Place the slices of fish in an overlapping row on your plate, on top of the shredded vegetables.
How much raw fish is safe to consume?
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule to follow when consuming raw fish, you should not consume more than 12 ounces of seafood per week for low-mercury fish, and less if you are eating fish with high mercury levels.
Can you find vegan sushi or sashimi?
Vegan sashimi can be made from ingredients such as seaweed glucose, tapioca starch, and omega-3 oils like flaxseed. There are many varieties of vegan sushi available, such as those containing avo, vegetables, and even tofu.
If you want to enjoy delicious seafood for dinner, you might wonder if you should choose sushi or sashimi. In this article, we’ve featured the similarities and differences between these popular dishes, and looked at how you can make them healthier to eat.
If you want a simple yet delicious meat/fish dish to enjoy, sashimi is a good idea. On the other hand, if you want a seafood dish that incorporates other tasty ingredients, such as vinegared rice, then sushi will thrill your tastebuds.
Nicole Dowdy is an avid foodie and successful restaurateur. [He/she] has dedicated nearly all her life to learning popular recipes from across the globe as well as developing new ones. Using Food Migration, Nicole Dowdy shares the very best recipes for just about every home cook looking to try something new in the kitchen. Pro chefs can also learn a few tricks on the website.Looking to improve your kitchen? You will also find awesome and high-quality kitchen utensil recommendations as well as buying guides on this website.