Although a popular ingredient, not all sushi contains raw fish. Sushi dishes are generally considered to be anything consisting of cooked vinegared rice. People often get sushi mixed up with sashimi which predominantly features raw fish.
While raw fish is present in popular dishes like Chirashizushi and Hosomaki, many contemporary types of sushi feature lightly-cooked fish – this method was first established by Hanaya Yohei in the 19th century. In addition, tempura dishes, which are particularly popular in the west, consist of battered or deep-fried vegetables and seafood.
There are also many other toppings and fillings used in sushi, including avocado, carrots, peppers, sprouts and red onions. Meats like beef and chicken are also occasionally used. And it should be noted that most traditional Japanese dishes don’t generally include raw fish at all but instead utilise shell-fish toppings like shrimp or crab.
Some Western versions do include raw fish such as the Alaskan and Philadelphia rolls. But many dishes incorporate vegetables or fruit toppings such as cucumber, avocado and mango. The term sushi actually originates from the Japanese phrase, ‘It is sour’ which in turn was used to describe the ancient process of fermenting meat and seafood with salted rice.