Did you know the well known rolled sushi is not the only sushi? There is a variety of sushi that exist in Japan. As far as Sushi is concerned, pressed sushi – known as Oshizushi in Japan – is the easiest to make because it does not require rolling. Gather your favorite sushi toppings and press them all together into a mold with sushi rice.
What is Oshizushi?
Oshizushi is this type of sushi. Oshi means press in Japanese, and therefore it literally means pressed sushi. When you hear sushi, you are probably imagining nori sheets wrapped around rolled sushi. Oshizushi is not rolled sushi but the sushi rice and toppings are pressed into a mold to shape.
Pressed Sushi Molds
Traditionally Japanese use wooden molds to make this type of sushi. They are called “Oshibako” or “Oshizushibako”. They are usually made from Hinoki cypress and comes in various shapes and sizes. I bought a wooden rectangular mould (7 x 3.5 x 2.5 inch/18 x 9 x 6.5cm) in Tokyo. The rectangular molds are also available online.
Alternatives to Wooden Molds
I understand it can be difficult to get Japanese equipment and ingredients when we are overseas. We just need to be a little creative but I assure you that we can still achieve the same authentic Japanese flavor! I did not have the wooden mould last time I shared this recipe. I used a $2.80 plastic mould from Daiso. Or you could use Tupperware containers and baking tins also.
Ingredients You Need to Gather for Pressed Sushi
1. Sushi Rice
Making perfect sushi rice is a fundamental part of cooking any type of sushi. So make it right by following by my perfect sushi rice recipe and tips. To make one rectangular shaped mould (7 x 3.5 x 2.5 inch/18 x 9 x 6.5cm), you need the equivalent to making one full sushi roll. Use the calculator on the perfect sushi rice post to determine how much sushi rice you need.
2. Smoked Salmon
Basically, you can press any toppings you like. I found the easiest ingredient you can get overseas is Smoked Salmon. To make it even easier, get already thinly sliced smoked salmon. Smoked Salmon is also the easiest to make pressed sushi too. Because it is already cured so that you don’t have to do anything to prepare.
3. Some Greens
I used avocado. My other recommendation is thinly sliced cucumber which will add some crunchy texture. Also, my favourite Japanese herbs to use is Shiso leaves. I did not have Shiso leaves this time but if you can get it easily, it adds a beautiful flavor.
Typical toppings of pressed sushi are cured fish with vinegar. In Japan, cured Pacific saury (Sanma) and Mackerel (Saba) with vinegar are often used. If you can buy grilled eel with teriyaki sauce it also makes for a great topping. Also, try thinly sliced rolled egg (Tamagoyaki).
How to Press
1. Oshibako (wooden box) Mold Preparation
Oshibako consists of three parts; the bottom base, the outer box, and the press. When all the ingredients – sushi rice and your toppings – are ready to be pressed, wet all the parts of the Oshibako with water in order to avoid the sushi rice and toppings stick to the mold(step by step photo 1).
2. Layering the Ingredients
Place the outer box on top of the bottom base(step by step photo 4-7). The bottom layer becomes the top of the sushi, therefore layer the topping to the bottom of the mold. In my case, I layered smoked salmon first at the bottom, then arranged the sliced avocado. Top with sushi rice and then compress with the top.
3. How to Remove the Mold
When all ingredients compressed evenly, remove the outer box by sliding it up while your two thumbs press down on the top firmly. Then flip it over altogether, and place a serving plate on it and then flip it back. Finally, remove the bottom base(step by step photo 9-10).
How to Cut Pressed Sushi?
You need a sharp knife. It will be disappointing if you fail to cut the pressed sushi properly. So I recommend wiping the knife with wet cloths each time you cut, even though it is a bit troublesome. Also, start from one corner and pull the knife through in one cutting movement rather than push the knife.
Check Out the Other Types of Sushi
As I mentioned before, there are many different types of sushi. I have shared Maki(rolled)zushi, Chirashi(scattered)zushi, Inari sushi, Temakizushi and more in the previous posts. Explore other types of sushi on Chopstick Chronicles if you are interested.
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Pressed Sushi with Smoked Salmon
- 2 full-sized rolls Sushi Rice *1
- 3.5oz/100g thinly sliced smoked salmon
- 1/2 avocado sliced
- 1 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- baby shiso leaves and white sesame seeds to garnish *2
- wasabi *3 optional
- Soy sauce for dipping *4
- Sushi ginger *5
- Prepare and gather all ingredients that you are going to press.
- Wet the "Oshibako" pressing mold under running water. *6
- Place the bottom base on the kitchen bench, and place the outer box on top of the base.
- Place smoked salmon slices at the bottom of the mold. *7
- Then layer sliced avocado over the smoked salmon and mayonnaise.
- Place half of the sushi rice into the mold evenly making sure the corner is filled especially. *8
- Compress with the top of the mold firmly using some force.
- Remove the outer box while you keep your thumbs on the pressing lid, slide the outer box up.
- Remove the pressing lid carefully. *9
- Place a serving board or a chopping board upside down over the top of the pressed sushi and flip them all together.
- Remove the bottom base, and cut the sushi about 1.2 inch/3cm apart with a sharp knife. *10
- Wipe off the sharp knife each time with a wet cloth. *11
- Garnish with baby shiso leaves and sesame seeds.
- Eat with wasabi (optional) and soy sauce.
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