Sashimi is one of the most common dishes that really represents Japanese cuisines. Preparing for Sashimi is quite simple: food is thinly sliced and served with no heat required. Unlike sushi, sashimi is served with no rice and often made from seafood like tunas, salmons, scallops and beef.
Also one of the most popular sashimi is bluefin tuna sashimi (maguro). There are 3 main types of tuna sashimi which is akami, chutoro and otoro sashimi. They are different because they come from different parts of the fish. Akami fillet is the part with least fat, which is very lean and firm, coming from the red loins of the fish. Akami is the most popular and least expensive among these 3 kinds of tuna sashimi. Akami in Japanese means red (aka) meat (ki).
Akami sashimi is pretty easy to make. However, it also requires some very fresh ingredients as well as techniques to make a good and delicious Akami sashimi dish.
Here are 4 steps and tips of making the best Akami Sashimi:
1) Ask the fishmongers to sell you fresh tuna which is safe to eat raw. It is ideal to buy it absolutely fresh. You can tell if the fish is fresh or not by taking a smell. A fresh fish will smell like salty ocean and look firm with bright red color. If you are intended to buy a whole fish, make sure you check the eyes- go for bright and clear eyes and avoid fish with cloudy eyes. Also check for gills, which need to be bright red in order to be fresh.
2) Prepare a sharp knife. Imagine that when you use a not really sharp knife, you have to saw the piece of fish back and forth, which will make the fish taste worse as well as allowing juice to be leaked out of the fish. A sharp knife will help you cut straight with only one slice, leaving the sweat juice inside the fish.
3) There are numerous ways into which you can cut your Akami meat. It is the easiest, especially for a home cook to cut a piece of Akami into rectangular slice. You can start by cutting from the right side of the fish fillet, from the top to the bottom forming a vertical line. An ideal slide is around 1 cm wide. Another harder way to cut your Akami fillet is to thin slice it. It requires different techniques as instead of cutting the fillet into vertical lines, you cut the fish meat into horizontal line, creating very thin slices. The latter is harder to perform but Akami sashimi will be easier and bring more flavor if cut this way. Ensure the length and width of each slice is the same for better look as well as consistent texture and flavor.
Another tip for keeping your Akami fillet fresh when cutting it is keeping the knife and your hands in a consistent and cool temperature. Put a bowl of ice near your cooking station and soaking your knife and hands regularly into the bowl to keep them cool.
4) After cutting, the last step is placing all the slices into a dish. At home, you can decorate your dish whichever way you like. You can put daikon radish or seaweed underneath these slices of Akami. Japanese also want to add a little bit of spicy to their sashimi dish to bring out the flavor of the fish. Wasabi is the most famous, which is made from horseradish and have a distinct green color and spicy smell. You can also try grated ginger and mustard as well. Do not forget soy sauce.
After 4 steps simply include slide and decorate, your Akami dish is ready to be served. Akami sashimi is quite easy and quick to make. However, to be able to enjoy a good dish, you need to ensure you buy high quality Akami fillet, which is made for sashimi as well as using a sharp knife. You can enjoy your Akami dish with soy sauce, daikon radish and wasabi. Remember all of that and you will like eating this Japanese food like I do.