Gunkan sushi, or Gunkanzushi in the original language, is a Japanese boat with a soft heart and derives from the word gunkan which means war boat or battle boat, this particular type of sushi requires that the main ingredient is presented above the rice , creating a ship-like shape, hence the name Gunkan sushi. This dish is a type of sushi used for soft ingredients which therefore need to be retained given the consistency of this specialty (these could not be used for example for nigiri sushi), such as salmon or flying fish roe or tartare.
If you want to taste this Japanese cuisine dish, just follow the gunkan sushi recipe described below!
Gunkan sushi what is it
Gunkan sushi is a special sushi dish from the nigirizushi family (more commonly known in the West as nigiri). In this dish, the main ingredient is the fish which is placed on top of the rice and not inside, precisely to give the unmistakable shape of a boat that distinguishes it, even if in some cases the shape is more rounded similar to a beignet. The seaweed is placed externally and contains the soft interior, foods that can vary from caviar, fish roe, quail roe, salmon roe, corn and/or, even meat tartare. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be a nori seaweed that contains these delicacies, it could also be another type of fish or a thin strip of salmon.
Gunkan sushi history
Gunkan sushi, unlike many Japanese dishes, which have their roots in very ancient times, was invented in decidedly more current times. In fact, its creation took place in the 1940s in the Ginza district of Tokyo and more precisely in the Kyubey restaurant. Since then this restaurant has become an obligatory stop for sushi lovers who go to that unique area, because it is still open and active.
Preparing condiment for gunkan sushi rice
To prepare sushi rice, it is necessary to season the rice with a basic condiment called sushizu, which in addition to giving it flavour, also serves to keep the rice soft and to preserve its tenderness.
TEXOLIQ sushi kit.
- 75 grams of rice vinegar
- 30 grams of granulated sugar
- 15 grams of salt
mix all the ingredients well using the TEXOLIQ bamboo spoon in a bowl.
Preparing gunkan sushi rice
To make gunkan sushi, sushi rice is the key ingredient for really good sushi. Contrary to what one might think, the most important thing is sushi rice. In Japan, before becoming a sushi master, apprentices spend several years preparing only rice. Learning to cook it to perfection is the basis for becoming true experts in Japanese cuisine.
TEXOLIQ sushi kit.
- 450 grams of sushi rice
- 450 grams of natural water
- 120 grams of seasoning for sushi rice (preparation in the previous section)
Wash the rice with running drinking water to remove the starch, drain the excess water and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
In a saucepan with high sides, add the washed rice and plain water.
Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and let it cook for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Add the rice seasoning and mix with the TEXOLIQ bamboo spoon.
Finally, cover the rice with a damp cloth, keep it at room temperature.
Traditional gunkan sushi recipe
To prepare gunkan sushi at home, you first need the TEXOLIQ knife and excellent ingredients.
TEXOLIQ sushi kit.
Ingredients for 10 mixed pieces
- Two sheets of nori seaweed
- 120 grams of sushi rice
- 50 grams of blast chilled sushi salmon
- 50 grams of blast chilled sushi tuna
- Two tablespoons of salmon roe
- Two tablespoons of flying fish roe
- just enough wasabi
- just enough mayonnaise
- just enough tabasco
With the TEXOLIQ knife, finely chop the salmon and add some chives. Do the same procedure for the tuna. Create a sweet tartare and a spicy tartare with both salmon and tuna. For the sweet tartare you need to add mayonnaise, instead for the spicy tartare you need to add a few drops of tabasco.
Take both sheets of nori and cut them into five strips using the TEXOLIQ knife.
Take a small amount of sushi rice and form small rectangles. Repeat the same procedure until you obtain ten rectangles of rice and add wasabi as desired on the upper part (which will be the part that will come into contact with the fish) of the rectangle just created.
Wrap each strip of seaweed around the sushi rice horizontally. If the nori seaweed is too long, you can cut it beforehand or put a few grains of rice at the end to prevent it from opening.
Stuff the 10 pieces of gunkan sushi. Take the first and second piece and lay the salmon roe, a spoonful per piece, for the next two pieces a spoonful of flying fish roe, and on the remaining 6 pieces you have to stuff them respectively with the salmon tartare and with the tuna prepared in advance (sweet and/or spicy according to your tastes).
How to serve gunkan sushi
Serving gunkan sushi is really easy. The table must be set with bamboo mats and served on neutral serving plates, together with the bowls for the sauces. This dish should be garnished with a ball of wasabi paste and some ginger. If desired, the bowl with the soy sauce can be placed next to the plate.
How to eat gunkan sushi
Traditionally, gunkan sushi should be eaten in one bite with Japanese chopsticks without cutting it into further pieces. For this reason just described, Japanese chopsticks are included in the TEXOLIQ sushi kit. Furthermore, this indication also applies to many other types of sushi rolls. A further tip is not to dip the boat completely in the soy before eating it, as it would completely cover the original taste.
Storage of gunkan sushi
We recommend preparing and consuming gunkan sushi at the moment, as well as all other types of sushi that should be made and eaten immediately and not stored. However, if it should not be served immediately, this type of dish must be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of twenty-four hours covered with transparent kitchen film, until it is time to serve it.
Variants of gunkan sushi
Gunkan sushi is a particular Japanese dish that involves the use of different types of ingredients. The three main types of this dish are: Tobiko, Ikura and Uni. The variants are not only always fish, but also meat and sauces of all kinds.
Gunkan with quail eggs
A very particular preparation is the one that involves the use of quail eggs. Very often it is also combined with raw salmon, it is worth tasting, the taste may surprise you. In the West it is really rare to find this type of gunkan sushi, but thanks to the TEXOLIQ sushi kit it can always be prepared.
This preparation includes sliced crab surimi or cooked crab meat as the main condiment. It is a very common type in the East where it can be found above all in Japanese bistros (Isakaya) at a good market price.
Gunkan with minced ebi shrimp
Certainly the exquisite raw shrimp could not be missing, often this type of gunkan sushi is accompanied with different sauces and condiments. In particular, it is very often found with Philadelphia, with mayonnaise sauce and with tabasco (for those who love spicy).
The best known and appreciated gunkan sushi for its delicate flavor is undoubtedly the one with salmon. In some cases, the nori seaweed leaf that wraps the sushi is replaced by a very thin slice of salmon itself, an aesthetically beautiful and scenographic preparation. This variant is the most widespread ever in the West.
Gunkan with salmon roe
Gunkan sushi with salmon roe is the most widespread and well-known preparation of this Japanese dish in the East. The upper end of this sushi is covered with salmon roe often decorated with very thinly cut strips of cucumber.
Gunkan sushi is often wrapped with a strip of cucumber and covered with fried squid. This preparation is also very popular and widespread, this particular squid-based variant, like many other preparations, can include the replacement of the nori seaweed strip with a slice of cucumber.
Gunkan sushi tips and curiosities
If you decide to consume raw fish, you must be sure that it is blast chilled. Raw fish should be frozen at a temperature of -18° for at least 96 hours, in a domestic freezer marked with 3 or more stars, and then gently thawed in the refrigerator.
There are no rules on the choice of filling ingredients, in fact you can indulge yourself with the fillings and external trimmings, there are really a lot of them. As ingredients you can also use: cooked or raw shrimp tartare, scallops, amberjack and/or sea bass or the very tasty lobster, cooked beforehand.