For those who wish to make sashimi at home, we would like to talk about “San-Mai Oroshi" (cutting a fish into 3 pieces).
What is “San-Mai Oroshi”?
“San-Mai Oroshi” means cutting a fish into upper meat, lower meat and the bone in between. If you process a fish with head and guts, you need to wash the fish first. (Click here and refer to the last blog.)
San-Mai Oroshi might sound easy, but you should know there are a few points to take special care. Cutting a fish just randomly without thoughts will spoil its taste and looks. However, if you are aware of some tips, it isn’t so difficult. Just be sure of the following important points.
Avoid touching the fish too much.
Do you know how vulnerable fish are against heat as they inhabit the sea? Even human body temperature is high enough to harm them. In other words, the more you touch the fish by hands, the sooner they will go bad. As the freshness is the most important for sashimi, it is essential not to touch the fish too much. That’s why you should process the fish with minimum time and hand procedures.
Do not leave any meat on the bone.
It would be difficult to cut off all meat neatly until you get the hang of it. It’s an inevitable loss for practice, but try to leave as little meat as possible. This is because if the meat is left on the bone, the cut-out fillet (called “Saku”) doesn’t look nice either in terms of amount or shape.
Also generally for fish, edible amount is quite little compared to its entire size or weight. So you shouldn't leave much meat, and if any, use it for broth or ingredients of miso soup.
Procedure of San-Mai Oroshi
1. Insert a knife from the belly to backbone.
Make a cut on the skin and move the knife along the backbone while you hear the sound of the knife touching the bone.
2. Insert the knife from the back to backbone.
Then flip the fish over and do the same on the other side. The knife will reach the abdominal bone, then cut it with strength. If the surface of fish is slippery, use paper towels and hold the tail.
3. Do the same on the other side.
For the other side, insert the knife in the back first and in the belly last. Then it’s done!
The fillets are going to be sliced into sashimi, and the bones can be used for broth of miso soup or hotpot. Try not to waste the bones.
We will show you how to process/slice the fillets next time.