You’ve got guests coming for a delicious dinner, but don’t know how to serve the sushi in the best way possible ? Or maybe you’ve just bought your first ever sushi, brought it home, and want to know how to best enjoy it ?
No matter the case, you know that temperature matters when serving food (of any kind). So what’s the best temperature to eat sushi ? Does it matter ? Does the taste change all that much if it’s hot or cold? Let’s find out !
What temperature to eat sushi
Sushi is traditionally served at room temperature. That means that if your sushi is cold, it’s still good, but the flavors will come out better when it’s at 20–22 C (68–72 F).
However, you should always eat your sushi fresh, right as it’s made. If it’s made with raw fish and older than 24 hours you’re better off not eating it, even if kept in the fridge.
Sushi rice is stored and used at room temperature, but must be kept much colder if it’s being transported, or on display.
The whole reason for this is the spread of bacteria and fungi, which may contaminate the rice. To combat this, sushi rice is always mixed with a little rice vinegar. This acidifies it and slows the spread of pathogens.
In fact the whole point of (ancient) sushi was to keep the fish meat from spoiling, by using fermenting rice. The meat would be kept edible for weeks or months, and the rice would be discarded before meals. Nowadays vinegar is used in lace of fermentation, to reach the same effect.
Read also: Why Is Sushi So Expensive ?
Should I let sushi rice cool ?
Yes, let sushi rice cool before adding vinegar. You also need cool rice to roll a good sushi roll. Warm sushi rice will be soft, and difficult to work with.
The best way to this is to layer freshly steamed rice on a sheet pan. Let it cool completely, then sprinkle with the vinegar and sugar mixture. Go easy on the sugar. Mix lightly, and make sure the whole pan has been sprinkled with vinegar.
Let it absorb the vinegar and dry out a little. Once it’s done, you can work with it.
Do I have you use rice vinegar ?
Yes. you have to use rice vinegar. It’s the mildest vinegar there is, in terms of flavor, and it’s the traditional one. If you don’t have rice vinegar you can use regular white vinegar.
If you want to use apple cider vinegar the flavor will be very fruity, so be sure to use it sparingly.
Now, if you question was about using vinegar in general, then yes you absolutely have to use vinegar. It does two things.
First, it acidifies the rice and this helps the seafood keep fresh for a bit longer. We recommend eating sushi as soon as it’s made anyway.
Second, vinegar adds the slightest bit of tanginess to the sushi. This keeps the fish flavor in check, and even makes the rice easier to digest.
How long does sushi last ?
Sushi is good for up to 24 hours if made with raw fish, as long as you refrigerate it. If it’s made with cooked fish or seafood, use it within 3 days, and make sure to keep it in an airtight container in the back of the fridge.
If your sushi comes from a store, be sure to check the ‘best by’ date. That’s usually a two week period, but it’s better to find one that’s closest to its production date.
The whole reason sushi doesn’t last that long is because the flavors will get muted, and the fish could go off. either in texture or in taste, it’s not fun eating spoiled fish.
Read Also:Can You Eat Undercooked Salmon?
How is sushi made ?
Sushi is a roll of rice, with a form of seafood on the inside, and nori (seaweed) on the outside. Now, you’ll see various sushi types, like the ones that are inside-out, or the ones that are just a ball of rice and a slice of fish on top.
For any kind of sushi, you will need:
- sushi rice, a sticky white rice that keeps the grains intact
- seafood, either cooked or extremely fresh
- wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce on the side
- cucumber, cream cheese, or avocado if you want a little extra
- nori sheets to wrap the sushi
- a bamboo stick roll to shape the sushi
- rice vinegar and a drop of sugar
First the rice is steamed. Not boiled, it becomes too mushy. Then the steamed rice is spread on a sheet pan, allowed to cool completely. If it gets a little dry it’s okay.
Sprinkle a bit of rice vinegar and sugar on top of the cooled rice. Mix gently so everything is coated. Allow to dry out and absorb all the vinegar. This is a crucial step, it keeps everything fresh and safe to eat.
Prepare the nori sheet, make sure it’s on top of the bamboo roll. Add a dollop of rice on the nori, in a long, thick line. Make sure there’s a divot in the rice along its length. Add the fish or seafood, and whatever else you may like to add like cut cucumber or avocado.
Now comes the fun part. You need to use the bamboo roll to roll and shape the sushi, The nori will wrap around the rice and the result should be something similar to a swiss roll. Except the nori is only on the outside. A fully rolled nori will yield 6 or 8 sushi pieces, depending on how you cut it.
This will be frustrating and you will need lots of practice. If you fail, give up and just make nigiris. You need a dollop of rice, shape it into an oval. Make a small divot on top, add a dab of wasabi, layer on a single piece of seafood, like a blanket. There you go !
Now we know that sushi should be at room temperature but there are cases when it’s cold if transported or displayed somewhere. Maybe you noticed that at some restaurants you get it a bit warm, that is a sign that most likely it is fresh but the cook didn’t have the patience for the rice to cool a bit. I don’t like sushi warm but that’s me.