Most of us Singaporean love our Japanese food and in particular Sashimi 刺身. However, how many of us appreciate it as an art or understood the skill it takes to slice uniform slices, one after another. At least for me, I don’t. Not until I have the opportunity to ‘learn’ The Art of Sashimi Cutting from Chef Hara Shinji of Kanda Wadatsumi.
The trade of Sashimi cutting is both an Art and a Science.
Art Of Sashimi Cutting
First and fore most, the tool for slicing the Sashimi is important. Chef Hara showcased the numerous knife for different purpose and highlighted the section which was used to slice the fish, from the tip, approximately 2 inches.
A fact that may surprise some which I did. In fact, was wow by the precision. There are knife for right and left handed. So don’t assume one size fit all approach.
A well-trained chef will know which fish is Sashimi grade which aren’t. After determining that they are good for Sashimi, next decide the type of cut. According to the Chef, there are many ways to slice the fish for the best enjoyment, the best type of cut is needed.
Chef Hara demonstrated 2 slices method for our hands-on purpose; Sogi Zukuri and Hira Zukuri.
First is the Sogi Zukuri, slice it from an angle and it has to be thin.
Next Hira Zukuri, slice it adjacent to the table and approximate 1 cm thickness.
Even plating is according to a methodology. You need to image a scenery of mountain and river and plate it. The green leaf on the place represents the river while the Shiso (mint-like) leaf represent the mountain. The rest is left to your imagination.
Salmon is also best for Hira Zukuri.
While many white fish with semi-translucent flesh is great for Sogi Zukuri.
Aside Hira Zukuri for Tuna, it is great also for Kaku Zukuri (cube).
Hoso-zukuri / Kaku-zukuri, thin strips. Fish meat with thin such as squid and Japanese needlefish are best for this method.
Last method, I don’t recall the name but it is first slice using the Hira Zukuri then on one side, perpendicular to the length-wise, insert small cut.
Finally, the Sashimi are served to the diner table.