Oshizushi A Unique Form Of Japanese Sushi

Oshizushi is a delicious type of pressed sushi. It is also one of the most common and versatile dishes in Japan.

The pressed oshizushi method layers each ingredient thoroughly and is available in various flavors, incorporating ingredients from around the region from where it’s made.

Sushi chefs use wooden molds called oshizushihako to create oshizushi. Wooden molds come in many shapes and sizes. Many modern molds are adjustable so chefs can continue to increase the height as far as they need.

Wooden Sushi Press

What is Oshizushi?

Oshizushi is a delicious type of pressed sushi with different layered ingredients. This layered sushi comes in many delicious flavors. Pressing the oshizushi creates a dense texture, often resembling a cake.

Unlike regular sushi, oshizushi does not need a Seaweed wrap. The pressure creates firmness, which will cause the ingredients to stick together. You may eat this delicious “cake” with your hands and never worry about it falling apart.

The layering technique of oshizushi also creates interesting designs. These creative designs make eating oshizushi an entertaining and unique culinary experience.

Depending on the ingredients you add, the thick cake will have a different appearance. Some sushi chefs love to experiment with different Japanese vegetables and fish to create bright colors and unique patterns. Others stick to traditional recipes.

A variety of flavors and textures are made with pressed sushi

The textures and ingredients inside oshizushi can significantly vary depending on what is available to the chef. Aside from the great tastes, the best part about oshizushi is viewing the result.

Consistency is key, so watch the sushi artist’s work to see their cutting skills and stacking techniques. If you are lucky, you might learn some helpful culinary tips.

How do you make Oshizushi?

Oshizushi is made by using oshizushihako. Oshizushihako is the wooden mold that presses sushi into dense, layered blocks. These boxes consist of three parts, with a wooden base, walls, and a wooden top to press down the sushi contents.

Chefs layer oshizushi ingredients in a mold precisely and give it a firm press after every layer. Mindfulness is paid attention to each part of the oshizushi, so all ingredients are evenly spread.

With each layer of ingredients, you must give another firm press until you arrive at the top. Give a final large press and compact all ingredients together.

Wooden molds (oshizushihako) come in several shapes and sizes. Some molding devices even allow for personal height adjustment by adding or removing wall blocks. This disassembly is great for constructing your oshizushi and for cleaning the mold.

Before using your oshizushihako, you should always briefly run it under water or dampen it. Getting the wood of your mold wet prevents rice from sticking to it. If you use a plastic mold, wetting your mold is less important.

The different types of Oshizushi

The flavors and tastes of oshizushi are endless. Many of these delicious flavors are dependent on the region, and every prefecture has a unique recipe. Flavors are not the only thing that sets all these firmly-packed sushi blocks apart. The way sushi chefs in different prefectures prepare their sushi is drastically different. 

Cutting style, ingredient packing technique, and mold selection are all unique to the sushi chef’s sushi crafting style. Witnessing any of these oshizushi styles is the technique of a highly conscious master sushi chef. 

On top of the traditional types of oshizushi in each region, sushi chefs tend to create their own recipes. Creative recipes are similar to the recipes in their area, linked to the framework and type of each regional recipe. However, they often experiment with the ingredients. 

Iwakuni zushi

Iwakuni zushi is a delicious oshizushi made from locally sourced fish and vegetables. The main ingredients in Iwakuni zushi are lotus root, denbu, vinegar seasoned shrimp and fish, egg, and rice. This Oshizushi comes from the Yamaguchi prefecture and is one of the largest oshizushi.

Battera zushi

Baterra zushi is pressed mackerel sushi originally produced in Osaka. On top is pickled mackerel, followed by mackerel, then thinly sliced konbu, and finally a thick layer of rice.

Omura sushi

Omura sushi is pressed sushi with traditional Japanese-style scrambled eggs on the top. The pressed Omura sushi includes white fish, eggs, rice, and vegetables. You must soak every layer of rice in vinegar for a more flavorful taste.

Gozaemon sushi

Gozaemon sushi is Tottori prefecture’s traditional pressed roll. Unlike the “traditional” pressed sushi, which inherits a cake-like shape, the Gozaemon sushi is cylindrical. Vinegar-soaked rice is densely packed with mackerel on the top and then wrapped together using smooth konbu.

Masu sushi 

Masu sushi is a beautifully stacked trout sushi from the Toyama prefecture. The visual appearance of the layered masu sushi is eye-catching, and the taste is flavorful in every bite due to the consistent layering. Sushi chefs use circular molds when making masu sushi, meaning trout sushi is often cut into slices and served like pie.

Kakuzushi 

Kakuzushi is Hiroshima prefecture’s regional Oshizushi. This dense sushi is full of many ingredients, including a thin later of scrambled eggs (kinshitamago), mushrooms, boiled clams, pickled mackerel, rice, and more. 

Kakuzushi is a large dish. Because of its quantity, people tend to serve this massive sushi dish only at events or large gatherings.

Final Thought On Oshizushi

Oshizushi is another term for pressed sushi. Packing sushi firmly creates a cake-like texture, eliminating the need for seaweed wrapping and creating a different sushi-eating experience. Oshizushi, like masu sushi, is a great type of sushi that you can eat with your hands. It is easy to make, and there are only a few ingredients in it.

Using the ingredients around them, every region in Japan has a savory interpretation of pressed sushi. Oshizushi is a gourmet type of sushi that is full of flavor. The densely packed ingredients press together so nicely to create delicious, compact recipes.

When packing the ingredients down, sushi chefs use either a wooden or plastic oshizushihako. These devices are strict molds that allow chefs to make shapes out of the oshizushi. They come in various shapes and sizes so that chefs can mold different styles, creatively or traditionally.

Making Oshizushi Video Via Youtube

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.