10 most used fish and shellfish to prepare sushi

Do you know the fish and shellfish that are most used to make traditional sushi? Here we explain what they are and how to use them.

Last update: December 12, 2021

The sushi It is a traditional dish from Japan which is prepared with rice mixed with a little vinegar with a mild sweetness and fresh raw fish. There is a wide variety when it comes to this dish. A sushi Quality will depend on the cutting technique and the fish and shellfish you choose to do it with.

Although the origin of this rich dish is not Japanese, since it dates back to Southeast Asia in the 4th century BC, Japan is where it has had the greatest boom. It could be said that its originality is due to the wide variety of fish and seafood that surrounds the island.

In the last half century, eating raw fish has become fashionable in western countries. However, its seas do not have the same variety of sea foods as Japan. For that reason, we need to know the most common fish and shellfish to obtain a sushi original and safe for health.

Selecting the fish or shellfish is decisive to obtain the best sushi. According to Kishi Daisuke, whichever is chosen, one of the most important aspects is that they are fresh and safe for consumption.

1. Horse mackerel

Horse mackerel, also known as common chicharro or Trachurus trachurus, It is considered a blue or fatty fish, since contains about 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat, as DHA and EPA, for every 100 grams of horse mackerel pulp. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this favors the health of adults and children.

It has a greasy texture and an intense flavor ideal to eat it raw in a good sushi. In addition, it contains B vitamins, vitamin D, and minerals such as selenium and phosphorus.

2. Salmon

Salmon o Salmo salar breeds in salty, sweet and cold waters. It is also classified as a blue fish because of its content and type of fat.

The Chilean Nutrition Magazine reported that salmon is an important source of essential nutrients, also highlighting omega 3. Its attractive pink color is due to the presence of the carotenoid astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant.

This is the ideal fish to prepare sushi for the first time. Its tenderloin has a mild flavor and is also very easy to digest. However, if you use the belly, it will result in a sushi of higher quality and intense flavor.

Salmon is the ideal fish to prepare this meal for the first time or to experience the flavor as a beginner.

3. Tuna

Tuna is one of the most selected fish in the gastronomy of the sushi. The most common in Japanese cuisine are red and white tuna, known as yellow tuna.

It is an expensive fish that varies according to its freshness and its quality. Let’s see the most used types of bluefin tuna, which are the following:

  • Akami: It translates as Red meatas it has an intense and bright reddish hue, no blood clots and no stains at the time of purchase. This cut is the most common and the cheapest. 80% of bluefin tuna is consumed as raw fish.
  • Chu-toro: It is bluefin tuna, but with a little more fat than the previous one.
  • O-bull: This tuna is exclusive in the best restaurants in Japan. The belly part is used, as it has a lot of fat, leaving a rich flavor and texture that is associated with butter. It is the most expensive of all.

Yellowfin tuna is the largest, most caught and most valuable. It owes its name to the color of its fins, and it can weigh up to 400 pounds.

4. Sea bass

According to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, sea bass or snook (Dicentrarchus labrax) lives in salty waters, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It is one of the leanest white fish, since it only provides 1.3 grams of fat for every 100 grams of product.

However, its fatty acids are of the omega 3 type and a very good source of vitamin B12 and niacin. Like other fish, it is high in protein, phosphorus, selenium and potassium.

The sushi prepared with very fine cuts of sea bass is very popular, since the fish is of good flavor, easy to work and it is small. Snook is generally served raw, as its meat is somewhat tough when cooked.



5. Yellowtail fish

In Japanese, the yellowtail is called hamachi or young yellowtail. This fish has been a part of Japanese cuisine for centuries.

To maintain your sensory characteristics you must weigh between 3 and 5 kilos. If a yellow tail weighing more than 5 kilos is bought, then it would be called buri and it wouldn’t taste the same.

It has a soft and somewhat buttery meat, with a smoky flavor reminiscent of life at sea. It is rich in protein and contains 12.71 grams of fat, whose fatty acids are polyunsaturated, such as DHA that stimulates the brain and EPA that improves blood flow. It also contains vitamin E, vitamin D, and the amino acid taurine, which is part of the fifth flavor (umami).

6. Anguilla

The European eel, Anguilla anguilla, It is a food for traditional consumption on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, especially in Valencia, Galicia and part of León. However, the main consumers are in Asian countries.

It has an elongated shape that resembles a snake and its body does not have scales, but it is lined by a mucous secretion. They have a sticky, jelly-like flesh that has been prized since ancient times.

It has a high fat content, of almost 16 grams per 100 grams of eel. 64% of that fat is monounsaturated, related to heart health. It also has high-quality protein, phosphorous, zinc and iron, vitamin D and A.

In Japan the Japan eel. It is considered a delight to prepare sushi, but unlike other fish, it contains many purines that accelerate gout.

The eel is cured by soaking it in rice vinegar for 2 hours. After draining it, add more rice vinegar and wait 10 minutes.

7. Mackerel

Mackerel o Scomber scombrus is another of the blue fish richest in omega 3 that enhances the flavor of preparations such as sushi. They contain about 10 grams of fat for every 100 grams of product.

The selenium and phosphorous content covers up to 50% of the recommended daily value, as does niacin. The value of vitamin B12 also stands out in a special way, since it is 6 times above the recommended daily intake.

With this fish you can prepare 2 types of sushi: the makiwara or rice ball and the sushi mackerel. Make sure you use the nori seaweed sheet and not the normal ones, because it is more difficult to work with.

Perhaps it is not one of the fish that are first considered for the sushi, but the mackerel enhances the flavors of this dish.

8. Squid

Squid o Loligo vulgaris, like the octopus, they are mollusks that belongs to the cephalopodsbecause they have their feet on their heads. Other names by which they are known in Spain are squid, magician, lura Y squid.

The Loligo vulgaris It is pinkish-white, with some brown or purple spots. Although it is low in fat, it contains high cholesterol values, a valuable reason to be discreet when consuming this delicacy from the sea.

To prepare sushi you must know how to clean squid, since it requires a certain dexterity. The unfortunate thing is that it is not always available on the market.

9. Scallop

The scallop or scallop is the species Pecten maximus Y can be considered as the most common crustacean to prepare sushi. It is also known as shell of Santiago. Only the trunk is used and must be alive to be felt on the palate.

From a nutritional point of view, it is a source of protein, but it barely reaches 1% fat. Again, the most prominent minerals and vitamins are selenium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin B12, and niacin.



10. Sea urchin

Although it may seem strange to you, an alternative to the popular sushi of tuna is the sea urchin or Paracentrotus lividus. The biologist Enrique González specifies them with the name of echinoids.

They are very curious sea animals, since they are balloons covered with spikes whose head cannot be distinguished from the rest of the body. They are given other names, such as orices, garoinas Y garotas.

Urchins are found in waters around the world ranging from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. They are very delicate and the best way to taste them is by eating the raw yolks or gonads when opening the hedgehog. They have a greasy texture that melts in your mouth.

In Japan it is a common ingredient of sushi and the sashimi. They have a sweet and savory sea flavor that goes very well with pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi.

Try these fish and shellfish for your sushi

Remember to look for the best professional recipes for sushi and guide you through them to select the best fish and shellfish. It will be so good that no one can believe it.

Remember that fish and shellfish for the sushi they must be fresh to bring the vinegary sea to your mouth. Take your time and select the best ingredients.

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