Tag Archives: Issaquah Sushi Restaurant

The Nutrition Behind the Humble Edamame Beans

What’s in Edamame?

If you love soy milk or tofu, you’ll probably love young soybeans, the ones still in the pod. Young and green when they are picked, edamame is soft and edible. While the pod itself is not edible, you’ll find some grocery outlets selling green edamame that has been hulled and is outside of the pod. They are great additions for green salads, rice dishes, and in Japanese foods. But because pod flavor is so tasty, edamame make great snacks as well.

In Japanese restaurants, edamame is a popular appetizer. Vegetarians love them for their protein, vegans prefer them for snacks, or if you just want healthy eating, it’s a great choice. The beans are packed full of healthy and low-fat soy protein.

They are versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways: boiled, steamed, microwaved, or pan-seared. They can be seasoned with sea salt, red pepper flakes, or sesame seeds. Hot or cold, you can serve edamame as appetizer of snack.

Each 155-gram (g) cup of frozen, prepared edamame beans contains just 188 calories, 18g protein and 14g carbohydrates, 8g each of fat and dietary fiber, and lots of minerals to boot: calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. The young beans also have lots of folate (121% of daily requirement), vitamin K (52%) and C (20%).

Because it is soy food, edamame is a complete source of dietary protein, high in healthy polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, and contains isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens that have been linked to a lower risk for osteoporosis and cancer.

With its multiple health-giving components, ease of preparation, and appetizing taste, edamame is surely a pleaser in any dinner table.

Enjoying Everybody’s Favorite Appetizer

When you’re in Issaquah and craving Japanese, come by our sushi restaurant, Aji Sushi, and enjoy our classics. But first, tickle your appetite with our broiled edamame soybeans, a health-conscious choice.

Issaquah Sushi Restaurant: Know Sushi Basics

The Different Types of Sushi

Most people think that eating sushi is eating raw fish. It is not so all the time: not all sushi is raw and not all are fish. Sushi was then fermented fish with rice preserved in salt, a staple Japanese dish for a thousand years until the Edo Period, from early 1600s to about 1868. Then contemporary sushi was developed. The word “sushi” means “it’s sour,” which reflects back to sushi’s origins of being preserved in salt.

It is not really difficult to distinguish one sushi from another. There are five main types of sushi.

Nigiri is sushi rice with a topping, usually raw fish but it can also be cooked shellfish, a vegetable, egg, or some other ingredient. It may have a little bit of wasabi on top. Eaten with fingers upside down, the fish part is dipped in soy sauce (not the rice part) and that touches the tongue. It is a great way to appreciate the topping’s flavor.

When you are having Maki, both the rice and filling are wrapped in seaweed. The seaweed wrap is on the outside. Maki, meaning roll, are cylindrical pieces of vinegared rice and other ingredients wrapped around nori sheets, with thin slices of cucumber, soy paper, or thin omelette skin. Rolling the ingredients with a bamboo sushi mat and slicing the roll into cylindrical pieces, these are eaten with the fingers, too.

Uramaki is similar to maki but the seaweed is on the inside and rice is on the outside. The rice also wraps around the other fillings, like fat belly tuna or avocado or other. Hence, it is also called an inside-out sushi roll. Uramaki tend to use lots of sauces and toppings, either cooked or raw.

Temaki is sushi that has been hand-rolled into a cone shape. Nori is on the outside and vinegared rice with ingredients on the inside. Eaten with the fingers. The cones are not as easy to share, though, as the rolls.

Sashimi is fish or shellfish served alone, without rice. It’s preferred by those who really love to taste the fish or shellfish since it comes with nothing else. Sashimi is not referred to as sushi because of this. While most sashimi is raw fish, some sashimi is not raw and some sashimi is not fish. If the sashimi is raw tuna, it’s called Ahi; if deep-fried saltwater eel it is called Anago; Ebi if cooked tiger shrimp; Hamachi if raw yellow tail; Kani if crab meat, and so many other varieties.

Love My Sushi in Issaquah

So when you’re in Issaquah and ready for your exploration into sushiland, drop by Aji Sushi and you will know more about the wonderful, diverse world of sushi and sashimi.

Appreciating the Yellowtail: by Issaquah Sushi Restaurant

The Amazing Yellowtail (aka Hamachi)

The name yellowtail can be confusing because it can apply to flounder, tuna and sole. However, yellowtail is the common name for some species of amberjack (sometimes referred to as yellowtail amberjack) that can be found off both coasts of the US. The fish is called so because of the corresponding color of its fins. Its large sleek body resembles that of a tuna; it is a heat-loving, schooling fish that can grow to one meter in length and weigh up to 10 pounds. The yellowfin lives mainly in East Asia, around Korea and Japan.

The most valuable member of this family is the yellowtail farmed in Japan and featured in U.S. sushi bars under the name hamachi. The fish is prized for eating raw and commands a premium price in Japanese markets. Raised in cages in Japan’s Inland Sea, hamachi are harvested at 15 to 20 pounds, then iced and handled with great care to prevent bruising of the flesh, which lowers its value as sashimi. A small amount of hamachi is harvested wild off the coast of central Japan.

Another yellowtail species (Seriola lalandei) is harvested wild off southern California and Baja, California and farmed in Mexico and Australia. While amberjacks are subject to parasite infestation in the wild, this is not a problem with farmed hamachi. The Stehr Group in South Australia is presently (2010) the largest producer of cultured S. lalandi in the world. Most cultured S. lalandi is sold to the Japanese restaurant market for consumption as sashimi and sushi.

This freshwater fish is valuable, especially in Japan where it is also used for canned food, and is specifically grown for aquaculture. Farmed yellowtail is consistently light colored because it is high in fat. Yellowtail fillets can have a dark muscle line along the edge. Cooked meat is white and firm with a sweet, mild flavor. The high oil content gives the flesh a buttery texture.

The fish contains many health-giving nutrients: vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, K, micro- and macro elements, as well as saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Hence, it is beneficial in conditions as metabolic disorders, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, high blood pressure. It is also recommended to use for prevention of atherosclerosis. However, yellowtail is very oily and so best consumed in small quantities.

Prime and Safe-to-Eat Hamachi

Enjoy Aji Sushi’s yellowtail, both as sashimi or in sushi and in our other selections. There is no mistaking its buttery texture and value content. We offer only primed and safe to eat hamachi in Issaquah.

Chirashi: A Quick and Easy Way to Enjoy Sushi

What’s in Chirashi Sushi?

Chirashi sushi is a bowl of vinegared sushi rice topped with a bunch of colorful ingredients. The rice is covered with slices of different raw fish. It’s also called “Scattered Sushi” which came around the 18th century along with Maki Sushi. It is generally like a sushi salad. There is no rolling or shaping involved, the ingredients are just scattered or topped on sushi rice. It’s perfect for families, straight from a large serving bowl, or if you are by your lonesome.

In Japan the most popular types of chirashi sushi has no meat, only vegetables, eggs, fried tofu, etc. Usually the ingredients used in chirashi are not used in most other types of sushi like, kamaboko (fish cakes), soboro (meat, egg, or fish), bamboo shoots, lotus root and baby corn.

Other ingredients that go well in it are crab, avocado, carrots, green beans, unagi (eel), omelette slices, tofu or fried tofu, scallions, green beans and bell peppers. A vegetarian version is with simmered shiitake mushrooms, carrots, egg, sugar peas and benishoga or red ginger.

Because of the festive look of chirashi sushi, it is served for celebrating special occasions, such as festivals, birthdays, others. Sakura denbu or seasoned ground codfish, which is sweetened and pinkish in color, is also added to chirashi sushi for its resemblance to pink cherry blossoms. It is popular during spring but is also served year round.

There really is no set recipe for chirashi sushi and the ingredients tend to vary from region to region. It is up to you how you want your chirashi or you leave it up to the chef. Traditionally, it is eaten on Hinamatsuri (Doll’s day or Girl’s day) on March 3; it is said to be a healthy dish for girls.

Celebrating with Chirashi in Issaquah

Enjoy our Chirashi Lunch at Aji Sushi. It’s an all seafood, healthy choice if you are celebrating some occasion. You will love our well-prepared sushi bowl of rice with the following toppings just for lunch: fresh tuna, yellowtail, salmon, albacore tuna, scallop, kampachi, shrimp, octopus and tamago.

The Rise of the Japanese Ceviche

Ceviche: Origins and the Japanese Influence

Ceviche is your spicy, raw fish salad that has salt, garlic, chopped onions, and hot Peruvian peppers like aji or amarillo, mixed and marinated in lime. The lime denatures the fish protein, giving it a slightly cooked texture. In other words, the fish is chemically cooked by citric acids making it tender, hence it is not raw fish anymore. Many people think that ceviche is native to Mexico because the dish has been part of traditional Mexican cuisine for centuries, especially of the people living near the coast. But it is not so.

Peru is the birthplace of ceviche, dating back to when Spaniards first imported citrus to the new world. The initial versions were thought to have been brought to Peru by Moorish women from Granada together with the influx of Spaniards in colonial times.

Present day ceviche is the national dish of Peru, so popular that it has its own national holiday. There are many restaurants in the country solely dedicated to ceviche, they’re called cevicherias, especially in Lima, somewhere like 20,000. While there are generally just 5 ingredients in ceviche – fish, salt, onion lime and chili – there are many variations. In Peru there’s ceviche with a touch of milk, passion fruit, orange juice, celery, among others. It is garnished with lettuce leaves, corn kernels and sweet potato.

The traditional ceviche used to be marinated for 12 hours, and then the Japanese came. The Nikkeis people, of Japanese ancestry, first emigrated to South America in 1899 to work in the cotton and sugarcane fields. Japanese ingredients and way of cooking were not at first understood by Peruvians, but slowly soy sauce and ginger became part of Peruvian cuisine.

Equal lovers of fish, the Japanese eventually began opening cevicherias. The merging of Peruvian and Japanese techniques became known as the Nikkei cuisine. The Japanese influence enabled a shorter marinating time for the famous ceviche.

In the 1970s, when Toyota and Mitsubishi started exporting to Peru, a classically trained Japanese sushi chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, came to Lima, age 24, to open a sushi restaurant. Limited by the range of ingredients available, he adapted and improvised using Peruvian ingredients. This is now known as the Nobu style, eventually turning into a global restaurant empire. Meanwhile, the traditional ceviche has spread around the world, adapting to the country and culture where you find it.

Peruvian and Japanese Fusion in Issaquah

Ceviche is a great alternative to sushi – especially if you are not a fan of raw fish. Experience our Japanese ceviche at Aji Sushi here in Issaquah and recall how much has Japanese influence have on Peru’s national dish.

Japanese Grilled Foods: Types and Traditions

The Many Faces of Japanese Grilled Foods

One of the oldest cooking techniques since the dawn of humanity is grilling over open flame. Traditionally, in Japanese homes, the family hearth is the center of the house where people come together for warmth, light, drying clothes and cooking. For two thousand years until the 1950s, it was wood-base charcoal grilling that cooked food. From then, many cooking techniques developed as well as the dishes cooked. Here, we delve on the different types of Japanese grilled food. Some of them you might have already tried and loved.

Teppanyaki is one of the most popular, using teppan-style cooking. The meat and vegetables are grilled on open-iron foodtop. Teppanyaki came into being in post-war Japan when it copied the American-style steakhouse setting. Today’s teppanyaki styles, tastes and presentations are only limited through a chef’s creative skills. The popular Japanese pancake, okonomiyaki, also uses the teppan.

There is Yakitori and Yakiton. Yakitori refers to chicken meat. Chicken parts are grilled over charcoal until they are crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. All parts of the chicken are used, even hearts and intestines. On the other hand, yakiton is similar but it is for pork.

Yakiniku is Japanese barbeque, with beef or pork cooked over charcoal flame tableside. The meat are bite-sized slices, juicy and tender in themselves but also because various marinades and dipping sauces are used. There’s sakana no shioyaki which refers to any fish seasoned with salt and grilled over charcoal. Most popular grilled and skewered fish are the ayu (sweetfish) and the saba (mackerel).

Robatayaki or robata, is a style of cooking around an irori hearth originated by Hokkaido fishermen. Robata restaurants that specialized in this technique have a large irori hearth or central grill with seats around it. The chef lays all the meat, fish or shrimps for diners to see and choose from. Food is grilled and served on a wooden oar in tribute to the cuisine’s fisherman origins.

However, if you are having kabayaki, grilled food from the Edo period, the fish or eel is first boned and butterflied and the fillet marinated in sweet soy-based sauce. Then they are skewered, cooked over charcoal and served with steamed rice.

You never thought grilled Japanese food could have different cooking techniques, did you?

Grilled to Perfection in Issaquah

Try any of Aji Sushi’s juicy offerings – grilled just right. Here at your Issaquah sushi restaurant, our cooking and cooking equipment spell quality – for dining enjoyment.

Miso Soup: Not Just a Cup of Soup

The Healing Cup of Soup

Most Americans will set aside miso soup and regard it as an unnecessary accompaniment to a regular meal. Or after a Japanese dine-out, you might just have to take it home and let it sit in the fridge forever. It can be a cumbersome process making this at home, but knowing this soup’s healing qualities, you’d make it part of your diet.

Made from soybeans, sea salt and koji (a mold starter), and often mixed with rice, barley or other grains, miso soup is the result of 3 months to a few years of fermentation process. It brings out all its enzymes. Zybicolin, the binding agent in miso, is effective in detoxifying and eliminating elements your body has absorbed through industrial pollution, radioactivity and artificial chemicals in the soil and food system.

You are looking at a food preparation that has been a Japanese staple for thousands of years. The Japanese of today begin their day with a warm bowl of miso to energize their bodies and aid in their digestion.

What’s in Miso Soup

Just what is in miso soup that makes it a powerful, healthy dish?

Miso soup is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids, building blocks of your body organs and systems. It stimulates your stomach digestive juices to make for better digestion. It assimilates all the foods in your intestine and restores the probiotics that are otherwise lost in stomach acid, hence promoting still better digestion. From miso soup, you get vegetable-quality vitamins, B12 in particular.

Miso soup strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid and lowers the levels of your harmful cholesterol. It is high in antioxidants, enhancing your body’s battles against free radicals, reducing your risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. It amazingly protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, which mixes with heavy metals, and discharges them from the body.

The soup is not just healthy, but also tasty. A wonderful mix of sweet and salty flavors improves the appetite and goes well with a variety of other dishes. Cook with root vegetables, wakame sea vegetable and dark leafy greens to bring out the earthy tones and hearty flavor. Try not to overpower the dish that it becomes strongly salty by using more than enough miso.

Serving Healthy in Issaquah

Experience healthy miso soup at Aji Sushi in Issaquah and take in its enzyme-rich and protein-building deliciousness. We serve only quality and authentic Japanese even in our cups of soup.

Chirashi: Sushi in a Bowl

Chef’s Choice – Chirashi Bowl

Do you ever wish that you could eat your sushi out of a bowl? If so, our Issaquah sushi restaurant has good news for you. Try ordering a bowl of our chef’s special chirashi bowl. This way, you can try assorted sushi all in one dish!

Everything in one

Chirashi sushi, or “scattered” sushi, comes in the form of a bowl of sushi rice topped with some form of seafood or vegetable. Usually this topping will be either seaweed or sashimi, giving you a real sushi taste in a convenient bowl form. Many sushi fans appreciate the versatility of a chirashi sushi bowl, in that they can alternatively eat their fish as sushi or as sashimi. Try it out for yourself at Aji Sushi & Grill in Issaquah!

Japanese and Korean Cuisines: World’s Healthiest

Asian Neighbors and Common Cuisine

A US-based global movement named Oxfam reported that not only are Japanese and Korean cuisines two of the healthiest in the world but also are outstanding where healthy eating habits and food availability are concerned. Both have common basic elements, like rice, vegetables, meat and fish, contributing to some of the longest life expectancy in the world.

While Korea is famous for its variety of side dishes, Japan is known for her soups. Both involve slow food cooking generally and are quite unlike the growing fast food trends in the West, even if lifestyles in metro areas have been fast-paced. There is no rushing East Asian food. Even the eating styles are different – Asian dining is about eating together and sharing, not individualistic. Japanese and Korean meals mean variety and customization, there’s something for everyone. In contrast, Western meals are one-menu sit-downs.

Note that the use of chopsticks; they contribute to eating more healthy. You tend to concentrate on the food, slow down and lose some of the weight. Smaller plates not only provide you differing varieties, allow you to soon finish your meal, not necessarily stopping because you’ve already emptied your plate, as Westerners do. In Japan and Korea, you finish when you are not hungry anymore.

Look at what makes these East Asian meals so healthy. Firstly, they use fermentation that keeps the enzymes, vitamins, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids intact. Thanks to their soybean meals, tofu and soymilk for their wealth of iron, calcium and proteins, while staying low in carbs and fats. Vegetables are a major part of Asian diet as well as their vitamin-rich rice.

They use condiments that are low in sugar and fat content. They much prefer nuts and dried fruits for snacks, and not chips and chocolate bars. Finally, helping your weight, health and digestion are Japan and Korea’s natural alcoholic beverages and their much-loved green tea.

Balance is what Japanese and Korean cuisine is all about, a balanced mix of vegetables, protein, and grains, some oils, sauces, and fruits. It is little wonder why theirs are two of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

Experiencing Asian Delights in Issaquah

Our Issaquah sushi restaurant offers Japanese classics with their healthy and tasty portions, complete with their balance mix. Savor authentic Japanese when you dine with us. Also, know that we offer Bibimbap, too, if you are just as passionate for Korean fare.

Why Does Nigiri Sushi Come in Pairs?

Life is better with Two

If you visit a lot of places like our Issaquah sushi restaurant, you’ve probably noticed that nigiri sushi is almost always served in sets of two. Have you ever wondered why Japanese establishments so often serve their nigiri like this?

Nigiri Pairs

Serving nigiri in sets of two started back in the eighteen hundreds. Edomae-zushi, the predecessor of the nigiri sushi we know today, was the common form that sushi took in this time. Such sushi came in the form of a single large, square piece.

These pieces were often too big for most diners to comfortably eat, so people got in the habit of cutting the edomae down the middle into two bite-sized pieces. Over time, restaurants began to serve their sushi way, and the nigiri sushi as we know it was born.