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Sushi 101: The most popular types

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Sushi primer: Know your favourite rolls!

On a popularity upswing... western-style sushi rolls!

Sushi primer: Know your favourite rolls!

Variations in sushi really began with the creation of the California Roll. With the popularity of sushi soaring worldwide, sushi creations geared to the western palate are becoming more common. Frequently these menu items are made with either brown or black rice, which appears in the more traditional Japanese cuisine as well. The names of these sushi dishes can vary, but the world has embraced sushi and adapted it. Western-style sushi is available on menus around the world.

Rice and Nori

Sushi rice is prepared with a short-grained Japanese rice known for its sticky consistency. If not available, short-grain brown rice or wild rice is sometimes substituted. The black seaweed wrappers are called nori. Nori is a type of algae traditionally cultivated in the harbours of Japan. Today this commercial product is farmed, processed and toasted, and sold in sheets. Higher quality nori is thick, smooth, without any holes and a glossy dark green in colour. By itself, nori is an edible snack available with salt or flavoured lightly with a teriyaki sauce.

Sushi rolls are the most popular form and these rolls might include a variety of vegetables like chopped scallions, cucumber and avocado. Besides regular rolls, popular sushi includes the Rock and Roll — an inside-out roll with barbecued freshwater eel and avocado inside and rice with toasted sesame seeds on the outside. The inside-out roll allows for draping the sashimi on top of the entire roll. With a Tempura Roll, an entire roll is battered and fried tempura style.

The most popular sushi rolls are:

Alaska Roll

A variant of the California Roll with raw salmon inside or layered on the outside

B.C. Roll

Contains grilled salmon skin, cucumber, sweet sauce; sometimes with roe

California Roll

Consists of avocado, crab or imitation crab meat, cucumber and tobiko, often made with rice on the outside and nori on the inside

Dynamite Roll

Includes yellowtail and/or prawn tempura, with fillings such as bean sprouts, carrots, avocado, cucumber, chili and spicy mayonnaise

Hawaiian Roll

Contains shoyu tuna (canned), tamago, kamaboko, and the distinctive red and green hana ebi (shrimp powder)

Philadelphia Roll

Consists of either raw or smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, avocado and onion

Rainbow Roll

A Rainbow Roll is a California Roll with six or seven types of sashimi: yellow tail, tuna, salmon, snapper, white fish, eel, and so on. Avocado is wrapped around the fish.

Seattle Roll

Cucumber, avocado and raw and smoked salmon

Spider Roll

Includes fried soft-shell crab and fillings like cucumber, sprouts or lettuce, roe, avocado and sometimes spicy mayonnaise

Tampa Roll

Made with fried grouper, onion and mayonnaise

The most valued sushi ingredient is toro, the fatty cut of the fish. Most traditional sushi will be completely raw, and the most widely-used fish include tuna, yellowtail, snapper, mackerel, and salmon. Kani kama (imitation crab) is commonly substituted for real crab, most notably in the wildly popular California Roll.

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