When I say “sushi”, I am sure most of you will start thinking of delicious pieces of fresh fish topped vinegared rice, or cylindrical rolls of rice wrapped with seaweed.
Today, I will introduce you to a type of sushi you are unlikely to see in most sushi restaurants outside of Japan – the Oshizushi ( 押し寿司).
Literally meaning “pressed sushi”, the oshizushi is named as such because sushi rice is placed into a blocked shaped box mold called a oshibako (押し箱), pressed until it retains a square-ish shape, and then taken out and cut into blocks of bite sized rice squares.
The action of pressing the rice (押し) is where the name of this unique meal comes from!
After the rice is prepared, toppings are placed onto the squares and served.
Unlike fresh nigiri sushi, the toppings for oshizushi tend to be thinner and comprised of drier ingredients.
When placed together, the oshizushi creates a beautiful checkerboard of colors and tastes.
Some advanced oshizushi makers also go as far as to create multiple layers within a single oshizushi akin to a layered cake.
The origins of oshizushi can be traced to the Kansai region, especially to Osaka sometime in the 19th century.
Back then, oshizushi was too expensive for most people because it was made with expensive seafood such as sea eel and sea bream, and hence was only served at ceremonial or celebratory occasions.
Luckily for us, oshizushi is now very affordable, and can be purchased at most food markets of department stores.
This set that I purchased only cost ¥496 (inclusive of tax) at the food department of Tokyu in Shibuya.
Can you believe it??
When you come to Japan, Please give this special cuisine a try!