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Tips for Cutting Fish for Sushi

A chef cutting fish

If you’re making sushi at home, one of the most important things you need to know how to do is slice the fish. It’s not quite as simple as cutting your fish fillet into small chunks. Many people attempt that the first time they make sushi at home, and they end up with something that doesn’t resemble the sushi rolls they’re used to getting in Japanese restaurants.

Sharp Fish Knives

One of the reasons for this is the knife. You’ll notice that the sushi chefs all use very sharp fish knives. These knives are often yanagibas, which are the traditional Japanese knives for sushi. They’re long enough to make a single cut through the entire piece of fish. The suhijiki is another knife you can use. The yanagibas is a single-bevel knife that works well for fish, while the suhijiki is a double-bevel knife that can be used for other foods, too.

Cutting the Fish

When you start cutting the fish, you’ll see that the connecting tissue has a specific grain to it. You want to cut against this grain with your knife at an angle. The trick is to hold your knife parallel to the cutting board and cut completely through the piece of fish. If the fish was cut correctly at the market, you won’t have any trouble cutting it like this. Then you’ll want to slice the thin fish fillet into strips to put into the actual sushi roll.

If you can’t cut through the fish as easily, you may need to slightly adjust your angle or trim some of the connecting tissue off. Too much of this tissue and the fish won’t be as easy to chew.

Ideally, you want your pieces of fish to have a cross-section that measures about a half inch square. The same is true for any fruits and vegetables you cut. Otherwise, you may not be able to fit that much into your sushi roll.