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Nigiri Sushi
A plate of nigiri sushi with two pieces of gunkan-maki—literally, “battleship rolls” —quail egg and caviar in the front, and salmon caviar (ikura) at rear. Photo courtesy CaviarRusse.com.
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July 2007
Last Updated September 2013

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

Sushi & Sashimi

 

Page 6: Nigiri Sushi, Oskinko, Philadelphia Roll & Other Terms With N, O, P

 

If you enjoy this Sushi Glossary, we have a food glossary for almost every category of food. Check out the Seafood Glossary, too.

Click on a to get to the appropriate glossary page.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

This glossary is protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced in whole or part.
You are welcome to link to it.

 

NAMA
A prefix which means raw. (The same prefix applied to beer, nama-biiru, means draught.)

NAMA-TAKO
Fresh or raw octopus. Most octopus sushi served in the U.S. is frozen and cooked.

NANAMI TOGARASHI
A table spice made of seven ingredients: black hemp seeds or white poppy seeds, dried mandarin orange peel, ground sansho pepper pods (which provide heat), nori seaweed bits, red pepper (togarashi) and white sesame seeds.

NASU
Eggplant.

 


Nanami togarashi is a spice made from seven ingredients. Photo © Spice World.

NATTO

Fermented soybeans. Natto has a very strong taste and smell that many Westerners won’t grow to like. Japanese enjoy it in a sushi roll. Here, it is mixed with scallions in a creative inari sushi. Get the recipe from ShizuokaGourmet.com.

 


Natto and scallions in a beancurd wrap (inari sushi). Photo courtesy Shizuoka Gourmet.

NARUTO
A roll (maki) wrapped in cucumber instead of seaweed. See the photo below.

NEGI

Scallion or green onion.

NEGI-TORO
Chopped toro and scallion, a popular mixture for rolls and hand rolls.

NETA
Sushi topping, referring to the “liquid” sushi such as ikura, oysters, quail eggs, tobiko and uni, served in kakomi sushi (funamori and gunkan maki).

NIGIRI-SUSHI
A pad or “finger” of vinegared rice upon which a slice of fish or other topping is layered. This style was developed in Tokyo, then known as Edo, at the beginning of the 19th century, and was served at food stalls. It is also known as Edo-style sushi or Edomae-sushi. (Photo at right.)

 

 

Nigiri Sushi
Nigiri-sushi artistically displayed on a makisu, the bamboo mat used to roll maki sushi. (Pretty as it looks, Japanese would never use the mat, a food preparation implement, for
serving.) Photo by K.C. Wong | IST.

NIJIMASU
Rainbow trout. Regular trout is masu.

NORI
Dried sheets of purple laver seaweed used in the preparation of sushi rolls, known as norimake. The seaweed is washed and spread to dry, then toasted to enhance its flavor, texture and color. When toasted, it becomes black with green highlights.

NORI-TAMA
Tamago, or sweetened omelet, typically wrapped in dried seaweed when served as sushi.

 


Sushi wrapped in cucumber instead of seaweed is called naruto-maki. Photo by Vasko Miokovic | IST.

OCHA
Tea.

ODORI-EBI
“Dancing shrimp,” these are ama-ebi served and eaten alive. A Japanese custom, they are generally not served in U.S. establishments catering to Americans.

OHBA
Another word for the Japanese beefsteak plant, shiso.

OHITSU
A special bowl to keep the sushi rice warm. Today, these are electric rice warmers.

OHYO
Halibut.

  Green Tea
Serving ocha—tea—in a tetsubin, an iron Japanese tea pot. Photo of courtesy Harney.com.

OMAKASE
Chef’s choice—the chef prepares a selection based on the available fish of the day and his personal preferences. See photo at the top of the page.

OKONOMI
The practice of ordering sushi a few pieces at a time.

ONIGIRI
Rice balls or other shapes (squares, triangles) made with plain steamed rice and filled with various seasonings and stuffings: cooked fish and vegetables, nori, sesame seed and ume (plum paste). Some can be wrapped in nori or decorated with shredded nori, as in the photo of the ume rice ball, shown with two slices of pickled radish (takuwan).

  Rice Ball
Onigiri, or rice ball. Photo © Aryu | Dreamstime.

OSHIBORI
The moistened, heated towel offered to cleanse the hands before a sushi meal.

OSHIWAKU
A wooden box with a top used to make pressed sushi.

OSHINKO
Assorted pickled vegetables, which can be very salty. Another term for pickled vegetables is tsukemono. Depending on the restaurant, the latter can refer to a pickled cucumber salad. The vegetables generally include pickled carrot, cucumber, eggplant and different types of radish.

  Pickled Vegetables
Oshinko, pickled vegetables. Photo courtesy 5.ocn.ne.jp.

OSHI-ZUSHI
Osaka-style sushi, squares of pressed rice topped with vinegared or cooked fish. The sushi is prepared in a wooden box called an oshiwaku, then unmolded and cut into bite-size squares and rectangles. There are different styles of pressed sushi, including battera (topped with mackerel or gizzard shad and cut into squares or rectangles), bozushi (pressed into a long candy bar shape and cut into bite-size pieces), hazushi (layered with plant leaves), hakozushi (cut into squares or rectangles, Osaka style), masuzushi (utilizing a bamboo leaf) and tazunazushi (toppings put on at a slant, resulting in “candy cane” stripes).

 
Oshi-zushi. Photo courtesy Mai Cuisine.

OTORO
Also known as toro, the fattest and most prized portion of the tuna, from the lower belly of the fish. As with beef, the marbling of fat makes the cut more tender. If Otoro is the filet mignon of the tuna, chu-toro is the sirloin, akami is the chuck, kiriotoshi is the ends of the chuck, cut into chunks.

PANKO
A crispy wheat breadcrumb used in Japanese cuisine. It is made in small flakes rather than ground into crumbs like traditional breadcrumbs, so it provides a crunchier coating. Panko is used to provide crunch in some sushi rolls, either mixed in with chopped fish or sprinkled on other ingredients before they are rolled. More about panko.

 

PERILLA LEAF
See shiso.

 
Tuna tartare on a bed of avocado with a topping of panko bread crumbs and scallions. Photo courtesy Payard Restaurant | New York City.

PHILADELPHIA ROLL
A roll created in America, made of cream cheese (hence the “Philadelphia” brand reference) and either regular raw or smoked salmon.

PONZU
A sweet sauce made with Japanese citron.

PRESSED SUSHI
See oshi-sushi.

PUFFERFISH
See fugu.

 

Continue To Page 7: Definitions R To S

Go To Alphabet Index Bar Above

  Philadelphia Roll

Philadelphia Roll: smoked salmon and cream cheese, with optional cucumber. Photo by Andi Berger | Dreamstime.

 

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