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A Right Way of Cutting for Sashimi

We’ve been showing how to make sashimi at home in our 3 serial blog posts and here's the final topic: How to process/slice "Saku" (fish fillets).

In the first blog, we showed “Washing” (how to prepare fish with head and guts) and in the second blog, "San Mai Oroshi" (how to cut a fish into 3 pieces). Just check them out if you haven’t yet.

How to Handle Saku

How to Handle Saku

Fish meat is vulnerable against heat. High heat makes it oxidize and go bad. So don’t forget to put Saku in the refrigerator as soon as you cut it off from the fish. When there are concerns or risks for parasites, it’s better and safer to freeze Saku for 3 days and defrost before eating.

Even human body temperature is high enough to harm fish meat. Try not to touch it by hands too much.

We've done "San Mai Oroshi" so far. However, at this point, we haven’t finished "Sakudori" (making Saku). To complete Sakudori, we need to remove abdominal bones and skin.

How to Process and Finish Up Saku

First, remove abdominal bones with a knife.

First, remove abdominal bones with a knife.

Abdominal bones are lining along the abdominal meat. Make the knife horizontal and cut as little meat around the bones as you can. Be careful not to make the knife vertical; otherwise you will cut off too much meat around.

How to Pull off the Skin

Fish skin has bad texture and smell when eaten, so it should be carefully pulled off. You can do it with a knife, but this time we will show how to do it by hands.

Pull off the skin

Fish skin mainly consists of 3 layers, and only the outermost skin should be removed. Make an edge around the head, and from there pull the transparent skin off in one shot.

Saku without Skin

Except for fish bigger than sea bream, this can apply to most fish.

Lastly, when you remove tiny bones with tweezers, the next step is going to be "Slicing".

Lastly, remove tiny bones with tweezers

How to Slice Saku

This is the final step, and we use a Yanagiba knife (knife for sashimi).

Yanagiba knife can slice sashimi well without putting unwanted pressure or breaking fish cells, and prevent it getting watery or losing Umami flavor.

There are various ways of slicing sashimi, and we will show the most basic way called “Hirazukuri/Hiragiri”.

Insert the bottom edge in sashimi and pull the knife slowly toward yourself.

It is important to use the entire blade from bottom edge to top while pulling the knife toward yourself, without putting too much strength.

Sashimi is ready!

Now sashimi is ready!

We’ve been showing a basic process to make sashimi at home from “Washing” to “Slicing Saku”. There are other ways of cutting ,too. Let’s learn the most basic one first and enjoy more variety and elegance of Japanese culture!