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DEFINITIONS
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Definitions of common sushi names and terms
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Friday, April 09, 2004

  J K L M N O P Q
Kaibashira Large scallops, giant clam adductor muscle or shellfish valve muscle, though often scallops are served, much like cooked scallops but more tender and sweet. Kobashiri are small scallops and like kaibashira may or may not come from scallops or other bivalves.
Kaiware Daikon-radish sprouts (Spicy Sprout).
Kajiki Swordfish.
Kaki Oysters.
Kamaboko Imitation crab meat. Generally used in california rolls and other maki, it's not the same thing as "soft shell crab".
Kampyo Dried gourd. Unprepared is a light tanish color. Prepared its a translucent brown. It comes in long strips, shaped like fettuccine.
Kanibo kaniCrab meat. Usually the real stuff, but also substituted with crab stick or imitation crab. Always served cooked, much better if cooked fresh but usually cooked and then frozen.
Kanikama Imitation crabsticks. Many Japanese restaurants will not hesitate to just call these Kani. Kamaboko and Kanikama are generally made with pollack or halibut, not "real crab meat".
Kanpachi Very young yellowtail.
Karei Flatfish.
Katsuo katsuoBonito, also known as skipjack tuna. It is usually found in sushi bars on the west coast because it lives in the Pacific Ocean, and doesn't freeze well.
Kazunoko Herring roe. Also see Roe.
Kohada kohadaJapanese shad or gizzard shad (or young punctatus, it's latin species name) a lightly flavored white fleshed fish.
Kuruma-Ebi Prawn.
Mackerel (Saba)
Maguro maguroTuna. Not toro -> toro, toro is the tuna belly (i.e. the fatty part) and maguro-> maguro is the leaner flesh from the "sides" of the fish.
Bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus is one of the largest fish on the planet. It is also one of the most sought after commercially. Weighing up to 1500 pounds, this fine fish commands a high price at Japanese fish markets. Caught and flash-frozen off the northeastern coast of the United States and Canada, they are shipped by air to Japan to quench their insatiable appetites for this fish. Known as maguro in sushi bars, it is one of the most popular items. The meat is bright red and translucent. The flavor is meaty but not fishy. It is served raw, alone as sashimi, in rolls (teppamaki), or on beds of rice (nigiri-zushi).
Maguro Sashimi Fresh raw lean tuna fillets (no sushi rice)
Makajiki Blue marlin.
Maki-Sushi makiThe rice and seaweed rolls with fish and/or vegetables. Most maki places the nori on the outside, but some, like the california and rainbow rolls, place the rice on the outside.
Masu Trout.
Meji (maguro) Young tuna.
Mirugai Geoduck or horseneck clam or surf clam, slightly crunchy and sweet.
Narezushi Some restaurants in Tokyo serve this original style of sushi, called narezushi made with freshwater carp. Cleaned, raw fish is pressed between layers of salt and weighted with a stone. After a few weeks, the stone is removed and replaced with a light cover, and a few months after that, the fermented fish and rice are considered ready to eat. Its flavor is so strong that it obscures the fish's identity altogether, and narezushi is something of an acquired taste.
Natto Fermented soy beans. (Not just for breakfast anymore) Very strong smell and taste, also slimy. Most people don't like it. Order it once, if for no other reason that to see the confused look of the chef. >;)
Natto Temaki Fermented soybean handroll.
Negi-Toro Tuna belly and chopped green onion in a roll.
Nigiri-Sushi tamago nigirimaguroThe little fingers of rice topped with wasabi and a filet of raw or cooked fish, shellfish, vegetable or omelet. Generally the most common form of sushi you will see.
Ni-ika Squid simmered in soy-flavored stock.
Nori Dried seaweed, used to wrap around the rice and filling in Maki-sushi. The green-black wrapping around sushi rolls consists of washed, chopped, pressed, dried and toasted Porphyra seaweed blades.These species are known variously as "laver" (England), "nori" (Japan, North America), "kim" (Korea), "sluckum" (First Peoples of the North American Pacific Northwest) and
"karengo" (New Zealand).
Nori-Tama Sweetened egg wrapped in dried seaweed.
Octopus (Tako)
Odori odoriUncooked sweet shrimp.
Odori-ebi Live "dancing" shrimp. They are soaked in sake (rice wine) until they are drunk, then dipped in a sauce and popped into your mouth. Then you quickly bite them to kill them and chew and swallow. I've heard that the dipping sauce is quite good.
Oshi Osaka-style sushi: squares of pressed rice topped with vinegared/cooked fish. This is a form of the original sushi which is made with fermented fish.
Oshinko Japanese pickled radish, yellow in color.
Otoro Fatty portion of tuna belly.
Pickled Radish Oshinko (Oshinkomaki, radish roll)
Plum Roll Ume and cucumber maki-sushi

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This page has been constructed using images and information gleaned from web sites around the world, especially including the links shown above, and my own experience. If you have any suggestions or comments please email them to me. I've tried to included links to all the sources I have used for information on sushi from the WWW.