What Is Sushi-Grade Fish? Tips To Consume At Home
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Eating sushi at a Japanese spot can feel both, virtuous and indulgent – given the simplicity of its composition and also how it can be an acquired pleasure to most. In India, where the concept of eating raw fish is in close association with the way it is dried to be preserved, eating fresh fish in its raw form might take a minute to wrap your head around. However, once you do, the passion for sushi seeps into creating an experience in one’s own kitchen depending on how great your knife skills and patience can be.

The uncertain risk of eating raw fish mainly stems from the lack of knowledge in understanding how to treat the protein – more so in a home kitchen scenario. Besides, the stigma associated with consuming raw fish in Indian culture makes the challenge even more daunting. However, looking for options of salmon and tuna that have been labelled ‘sushi-grade’ can be a good start to working with raw fish for sushi.

What is Sushi-Grade Fish?

When raw fish was first introduced to markets in the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a set of guidelines which allowed consumers to use them as a reference point while purchasing raw fish. As the ingredient was a key feature only in Japanese restaurants at the time, the guidelines in no way indicated a system of certification the way Wagyu b**f was. To put it simply, sushi-grade fish basically meant that the seller had deemed certain varieties as safe to consume when raw.

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Tips For Handling Raw Fish At Home

Assess Your Fish Market

One of the biggest risks involved in buying and consuming raw fish is the chances of bacterial contamination running high. Once you find the right seller, make note of how they store fresh fish. While filleted fish are usually placed on cold metal trays set on a mountain of crushed ice, whole fish is usually meant to sit upright in the ice – giving it the same effect as fish might swim in the water. This ensures that one side of the fish isn’t squished under the weight, which will be detrimental to the quality of your protein.

Buy Whole Fish

If you’re out seafood shopping, freshly cut fish fillets might not be ideal to consume raw for a number of reasons. Moreover, it is easier to get a sense of the fish’s freshness when it is still whole – firm, unblemished flesh, clear eyes and red under the gills. Avoid purchasing freshwater fish or cod fish for your sushi consumption, stick to farmed salmon and tuna instead.

Cold Temperature

If you’ve ever visited a live sushi restaurant, chances are that you might spot the fresh catch resting over mountains of ice. Considered to be one of the best ways to avoid the parasites moving from gut to flesh, using ice packs along with crushed ice while processing fish at home can allow you to fillet it easily without making trips to the refrigerator each time. Additionally, allow your whole fish to remain refrigerated until you’re ready to fillet it, as a way of keeping temperatures low at all times.