Glossary

 

A
Aburi – neta that is lightly torched or grilled on top.
Ainame – fat greenling.
Akagai – ark shell.
Akami – can refer to either red flesh fish in general, or to the leaner part of tuna.
Akamutsu – rosy seabass.
Akasu – traditional Edomae style red sake lees vinegar used by some chefs to flavor sushi rice.
Aji – Japanese jack mackerel, also called horse mackerel. Aji can also mean “taste” in Japanese.
Amadai – tilefish.
Amaebi – deep water shrimp.
Amai – sweetness.
Anago – sea eel.
Anakyu maki – anago and cucumber hosomaki.
Ankimo – monkfish liver.
Aori ika – bigfin reef squid.
Aoyagi – surf clam.
Ara – perch.
Awabi – abalone.

B
Bafun uni – “horse dung” sea urchin, with dark orange color and rich taste.
Binnaga maguro – albacore.
Botan ebi – botan shrimp.
Buri – adult yellowtail, also called Japanese amberjack.

C
Chawan-mushi – steamed egg custard.
Chu-toro – medium fatty tuna.

E
Ebi – prawn.
Edo – the former name of Tokyo.
Edomae – literally meaning “in front of Edo” as a reference to Tokyo Bay – used to indicate traditonal Tokyo-style nigiri sushi.
Ezo bafun uni – prized varietal of bafun uni.

F
Futomaki – a thick roll that contains multiple cooked ingredients. An Osaka regional specialty.

G
Gari – ginger.
Gezakana – throwaway, cheap fish.
Gunkanmaki – warship or battleship roll.

H
Hagotai – an “al dente”, or “toothy” consistency; considered a desirable attribute of shari.
Hamaguri – common hard clam.
Hashi – chopsticks.
Hikarimono – refers to blue / silver, shiny fish.
Himokyu maki – akagai and cucumber hosomaki.
Hiramasa – summer yellowtail.
Hirame – halibut / flounder.
Hirasuzuki – blackfin sea bass.
Hobo – red gurnard.
Hokkigai – surf clam.
Hon-maguro – literally “real tuna”, refers to pacific bluefin tuna.
Hoshigarei – spotted halibut.
Hosomaki – Edo-style thin sushi roll.
Hotate – scallop.

I
Ika – squid.
Ika no shiokara – squid guts fermented in salt and malted rice.
Ikura – salmon roe.
Inada – young yellowtail about 1 year in age and 1 foot in length.
Isaki – chicken grunt.
Itamae – literally meaning “in front of the board”, refers to a chef or cook.
Iwana – arctic shar.
Iwashi – sardine.

K
Kamasu – barracuda.
Kan – one piece of nigiri sushi rice.
Kanpachi – great amberjack.
Kanpyo – gourd.
Kanpyomaki – gourd roll.
Kappamaki – cucumber roll.
Karasumi – dried mullet roe.
Karei – flat fish / flounder.
Kasugo – young Japanese sea bream.
Katsuo – bonito.
Kawahagi – thread-sail filefish.
Kawashimozukuri – a sushi preparation method that involves splashing fish skin with boiling water to tenderize it, then quickly chilling it with ice.
Kazunoko – herring roe.
Kegani – horsehair crab.
Kihada maguro – yellowfin tuna.
Kinmedai – splendid alfonsino.
Kisetsukan – attention to the four seasons in Japanese culture.
Kisu – sillago / sand whiting.
Kobashira – ligament of surf clam.
Kobujime – cured with kelp. Can also refer to neta placed between strips of kombu. 
Kochi – flathead.
Kohada – gizzard shad.
Koikuchi shoyu – type of soy sauce often used to prepare sushi.
Komai – rice that has been aged six months to a year or more. 
Komé – rice.
Komézu – rice vinegar.
Konbu – kelp. 
Konoshiro – actual Japanese name of the fish typically called kohada.
Konowata – salted sea cucumber entrails.
Koshu – aged sake.
Kuromaguro – bluefin tuna.
Kuromutsu – gnomefish.
Kuruma ebi – Japanese tiger prawn.

M
Madai – Japanese sea bream.
Madara – pacific cod.
Magochi – flathead, also called kochi.
Maguro – pacific bluefin tuna.
Maguro bocho – large knife used by fishmongers to slice tuna.
Makajiki – striped marlin.
Maki – sushi made as a roll with rice, toasted nori, and filling.
Makisu– bamboo mat used to make maki.
Makiyakinabe – rectangular cooking pan.
Makogarei – marbled flounder.
Mebachi maguro – bigeye tuna.
Mirin – a type of rice wine used in cooking. Similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content.
Mirugai – giant clam, also called geoduck.
Miso shiru – miso soup.
Murasaki uni – “purple” uni which has yellow color and sweet taste.
Mushi-awabi – steamed abalone.

N
Nakaoroshi gyosha – an intermediate wholesaler in the seafood trade. A nakaoroshi gyosha at Tsukiji market buys product at auction and sells to sushi chefs or retail stores.
Nama – meaning fresh, unpasteurized  or raw, depending on the context.
Narezushi – a sushi preparation method involving salting fish and wrapping it in fermented rice for several months to preserve it.
Nebari – a sticky consistency and texture; considred a desirable attribute of shari.
Negitoro maki – fatty tuna and green onion hosomaki.
Neta – anything placed on top of the shari in nigiri. Also called tane.
Nigiri – vinegared rice combined with neta served as a bite sized piece.
Nihonshu – literally “Japanese liquor”, an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice that has been polished. Often called “sake”. 
Ni-ika – simmered squid stuffed with rice.
Nikiri – a sauce lightly brushed on top of neta just before serving to the customer. Usually comprised of soy sauce, dashi, mirin, and sake.
Nimono – refers to any simmered or boiled fish.
Nishin – herring.
Nitsume – a sauce made when anago broth is combined with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce, then reduced.
Nodoguro – rosy seabass.
Nori – toasted seaweed.

O
Oboro – sweet ground shrimp.
Okimari – a set course.
Okonomi – selecting what to eat à la carte.
Omakase – leaving what food to eat up to the chef, aka “chef’s choice”.
Oshibori – wet towel used to clean hands at beginning of meal, and between nigiri pieces.
O-toro – very fatty tuna.
Otoshi – small appetizer.
Otsumami – a small dish, usually served with alcohol and / or at the beginning of a meal.

S
Saba – mackerel.
Sake – liquor, can refer to any alcoholic beverage, but often refers to nihonshu. 
Sakura-dai – cherry blossom sea bream.
Sanma – pacific saury.
Sawara – Spanish mackerel.
Sayori – Japanese halfbeak.
Shako – squilla / mantis shrimp.
Shari – sushi rice that has been formed into a small piece (kan) to create nigiri.
Shigoto – the process of carrying out an extra step (such as brushing fish with nikiri) to prepare the sushi.
Shima aji – stripped jack.
Shima ebi – morotoge shrimp.
Shin ika – young cuttlefish.
Shinko – young kohada.
Shirako – cod sperm sac.
Shirauo – Japanese ice fish.
Shiromi – category of fish with white flesh.
Shoyu – soy sauce.
Shun – the peak season for a particular ingredient.
Sudachi – Japanese citrus fruit.
Sujiko – fish eggs still enclosed in the ovarian sack.
Sujime – marinated with vinegar.
Sumeshi – vinegared rice.
Sumiika – Japanese spineless cuttlefish.
Suppai – sourness.
Sushi – cooked vinegared rice combined with neta.
Sushi-meshi – sushi rice.
Sushiya – sushi shop.
Sushi-yasan – sushi shop.
Suzuki – Japanese sea bass.
Shusse-uo – a fish that is called differently depending on its age or stage of development.

T
Tai – Japanese sea bream.
Taishō – sushi master.
Tairagai – razor clam.
Tako – octopus.
Takuan – pickled daikon radish.
Tamago – grilled egg.
Tane – anything placed on top of the shari in nigiri. Also called neta.
Teate – any prep work such as marinating and curing.
Tekkamaki – tuna roll.
Temaki – hand roll.
Tobi-uo – flying fish.
Tofu – bean curd.
Torigai – cockle.
Toro – fatty tuna.
Tsukemono – pickled items.
Tsuke-dai – wooden serving platter on which nigiri is placed.
Tsukiji – world famous seafood and vegetable market in Tokyo. Most high quality sushi neta are sourced from this market.
Tsume – a reduction sauce made when anago broth is combined with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce, then reduced. Brushed on top of some neta such as anago, shako, and tako.
Tsuya – a visible luster and sheen, which is considered a desirable attribute of shari.

U
Umami – the fifth taste category which corresponds to the flavor of glutamates.
Unagi – fresh water eel, it is not served as Edomae sushi.
Uni – sea urchin.

W
Wakashi – young yellowtail.
Warasa – yellowtail that is about 3 years of age.
Wasabi – Japanese horseradish. 

Y
Yakimono – grilled item.
Yari ika – spear squid.

Z
Zuke – marinated in soy sauce.