How To Slice Fish For Sashimi Or Nigiri
In order to learn how to cut sashimi or nigiri, we must first understand the difference between the two. Typically, sashimi is cut thicker (≈ ¼ inches) and is served raw with soy sauce and wasabi. Nigiri, on the other hand, is sliced thinner and served with a ball of sushi rice.
Saku loins are the best for slicing Sashimi and Nigiri. “Saku” is the Japanese term to describe a uniformly cut block of skinless, boneless seafood, ready for slicing into perfect slices or cubes.
When cutting into the fish, it is important to note the direction of the grain and motion of your knife. The grain of the fish is indicated by white lines of fat in between the protein as seen below.
Firstly, the grain of the fish will dictate the angle of the cut. Never cut parallel to the grain, always perpendicular. This helps the slices of fish stay intact as well as shortening long fibers which may contribute to a tough texture.
Next rule when cutting sashimi is to use a pulling motion when slicing as opposed to a back and forth movement. Cutting fish with a sawing motion can result in broken meat and subpar presentation.
Typically, when cutting nigiri, the belly of the fish is utilized, while sashimi is normally cut from the loin of the fish. Sashimi slicing on the loin is relatively easier as it is a vertical cut along the top loin. Nigiri, on the other hand, requires more patience. First you must angle the blade 90° in relation to the fat lines in the belly. This ensures an even spread of protein to fat in every piece. In order to slice thinly, hold knife and slice at 45° angle.