Little Kitchen: The essence of sushi – more than just fish and rice

Everyone recognizes the famous Japanese dish, that has taken over the western world in the last few decades. Sushi’s history is based on hundreds of years old tradition, yet its form has changed significantly through the years. Little kitchen team wondered how sushi is made in Slovenia?

To find out we visited sushi chef Gregor in his restaurant Njami sushi Maribor.

In the early days, salted fish was fermented along with rice for several months. Later they started adding vinegar and sushi slowly became what we know it as today. With the introduction of “California rolls”, which were made for western tastes, the sushi revolution began. As a result, we now have all sorts of combinations and types of sushi. Despite it’s worldwide fame, remains an uncommon and foreign dish in Slovenia.

Sushi is their passion

Gregor and his wife create an authentic sushi experience for their guests in a small, minimalistic restaurant. They make sushi according to Japanese tradition. It requires their complete dedication and constant strive for perfection.

sushi rice and sushi fish

“We never stop learning” says Gregor with passion in his eyes.

Fresh fish doesn’t mean good sushi

Their ordinary workday starts with washing and cooking rice. Rice is the basis of every sushi and therefor of great importance. People in the west often mistakenly presume that good sushi requires fresh fish. Gregor explains why it’s not as simple as that.

Every fish requires a certain amount of aging to achieve the proper texture and taste. Different kinds of fish call for different kinds of techniques.  It’s up to the sushi chef to recognize what is the correct way to prepare each fish, to achieve harmony of taste and texture.

Slovenia sushi recipe

Japanese focus on details is ever so present in sushi preparation. It goes as far as striving for the right temperature. And we are talking about the exact difference in temperature of the rice and the fish. All these factors are key to reaching the perfect harmony of texture, smell and taste.

Umami – The fifth flavour

When fish are properly aged, they go through a process where they develop umami flavour. It’s the fifth kind of flavour next to sweet, salty, sour and bitter. It ties all of them together in a complete harmony of flavour. In Japanese culinary tradition it’s the holy grail that everyone is chasing. Umami can not simply be described with words. It’s what brings the smile to our face, when we taste the complete and balanced pallet of flavours in a dish. It’s the rich and full flavour, we always look for and find in different cheeses, sauces, soups, mushrooms and of course fish.

Sushi in slovenia

Umami takes flavour to another level. Watch our video to find out how Gregor brings it to the plate.

Looking for more seafood recipes?

Ok, now that you have soaked up all of this inspiration and you’re ready to rule your kitchen take a look at our Japanese food inspired recipe. A homey and tasty black tortellini soup awaits on the other side of the link! Tasty fish in a completely new presentation and flavour fusion.

And until next time – go cook a little!