Sushi has become the symbol of Japanese cuisine and has paved its path to the table of people all over the world. There are many types of sushi (basically you can call anything sushi if sushi rice is an ingredient in it), ranging from the beginner-friendly Maki roll to the Nigiri sushi and maybe further to Sashimi, which is just raw meats without any sushi rice. Today I will talk more about Otoro, the true delicacy of Japanese sushi (and maybe the most ridiculously pricy sushi you can ever try).
Otoro is a cut of belly which contains the highest degree of fat of the bluefin tuna. Because of its high content of fat, you can literally feel it melting inside your mouth when having a bite of Otoro, either raw or seared. Unlike Chutoro, which is the belly part running through the side of the tuna, Otoro is only the lowest part of the belly, hence it is very low in quantity. You can imagine how expensive a cut of Otoro is; however due to its scarcity, it may be hard to even have a taste of it as Otoro is served only in famous sushi restaurants.
How To Enjoy Your Otoro Sushi At Home:
It is highly recommended to have Otoro along with rice because Otoro can be really greasy to eat on its own as the sushi rice features some sour taste and will balance the taste out.
If you are too afraid to make sushi rice pillows at home, you can go to the convenient store and find the instant sushi rice pillows; or you can order some frozen sushi rice pillows at online stores. It is such a time saver as all you need to do is turn on the microwave, toss the rice pillows in and prepare the sliced sashimi in the meantime.
Usually when purchased at supermarkets, fish markets or premium Japanese stores, the Otoro has been nicely cut into pieces so all you have to do is to adjust the piece’s size to fit with the sushi rice pillows (of course, you can have a bigger or smaller piece of Otoro; it is all personal preferences here). Gently put a piece of Otoro on top of a sushi rice pillow (with a tiny bit of wasabi if you want), and you just make your own Otoro sushi.
A very favoured style of preparing Otoro at many sushi restaurants is to serve the Otoro that is slightly seared. This could be simply done by using a small blow torch to delicately sear the Otoro pieces to bring out the umami (a type of taste apart from sour, sweet, salt and better) and the hidden flavours of slightly seared fat and skin. Seared Otoro will make you think of a nice slice of steak more than a piece of sushi.
Now you can just close your eyes and let the seared Otoro vanish in your mouth…
Just a quick heads up before you try to make Otoro, the true Otoro is undoubtedly fatty and it is like eating a raw butter with just a hint of tuna smell. It is highly recommended for you to try the Chutoro first and then proceed to the Otoro. Chutoro is kind of similar to Otoro with a very high fat content but the Chutoro includes slightly more meat, meaning that you will feel more tuna flavours than just a buttery taste. What’s more, Chotoro costs way less than Otoro so why not give it a try first?