Temari-zushi is a fancy, bite-sized sushi often eaten on Tanabata or Children's Day in Japan. It is also called "Kyo-sushi," and since it can be eaten without opening your mouth wide, it is said to be a unique culture created for the maiko in Kyoto.
Sushi is said to have originated in the Edo period, when fish was pickled in soy sauce, salt, vinegar, or seared for preservation, and simmered fish (squid, conger eel) was cooked or finished with vinegar and sold at stalls, as there were no refrigerators in those days. Before World War II, the size of a piece of sushi was about the same as a small rice ball. Gradually, however, the amount of sushi rice was reduced and the sushi ingredients were made larger. The history of Temari-zushi is said to be quite recent, but unfortunately, its origin is unknown.
Temari-zushi does not require the same skills as nigiri-zushi, and is often served at home or prepared in lunch boxes. A variety of ingredients, such as sashimi and pickles, are placed on top of Temari-zushi and it is richly colored, giving you a taste of Kyoto. Pickled red turnips and shiitake mushrooms are also used. Packed in a plate or box, it looks like a jewel box.
Temari-zushi may also be served in osechi, dishes served during the New Year's holidays. It may be arranged to include red and white colors, which is considered a set of happy colors, perfect for festive occasions. Additionally, it is a very good food to wish good luck, as the term "sushi" include the kanji meaning "longevity."
To make temari-zushi, first make sushi vinegar with soy sauce, salt and vinegar, and mix it with warm rice. Next, place a piece of plastic wrap on the palm of your hand, place the sushi rice on it, and form it into a bite-sized round shape. Finally, take off the plastic wrap and decorate with your favorite ingredients.
Temari-zushi is not only attractive for its appearance, but also for its variety of flavors, including Kyoto vegetables and creative ingredients. Please enjoy the cute Temari-zushi when you visit Kyoto. If you want to make it at home, please use Yamaichi's Handai to prepare the vinegared rice. We also recommend serving it in Appi Urushi Studio's authentic Flat Bowl. Please have a look at our homepage for more detail!
Appi Urushi Studio's Flat Bowl