Ajizushi: Mackerel Sushi

Ajizushi is vinegared mackerel sushi that is pressed together and left overnight to set. It is never stored in the refrigerator and should be eaten within 2-3 days of making. If commercially made it usually has a strong vinegar flavour to compensate for the transportation time and shelf life. If you make it yourself you know how fresh it is and it is not necessary to put quite as much vinegar. It comes down to personal preference.

Mackerel is usually served marinaded in vinegar.
Tsuke-aji Zushi is an alternative name for this sushi. It means vinegared mackerel sushi.
Oshizushi means pressed sushi. Ajizushi is a type of oshizushi. Hence the need for the heavy weight. to press the sushi.

Aji-zushi Recipe

Make this recipe the night required before for best results

3 mackerel
2 c short grain rice*
rice vinegar
soya sauce (for serving)

vinegar mix for the rice
100ml rice vinegar
2T sugar
1T salt

(*a rice cooker cup is about 180ml not a regular size cup)

Two shallow containers that are the same size
something heavy to place on the container to weight it down
cellophane wrap
rice cooker
hand fan
wooden spoon or rice cooker spoon
wide wooden bowl or a roasting pan

Add 2 cups of rice to the rice cooker.
Rinse the rice by rubbing it with your hand and remove water.
Add water to the 2 cup marker. Turn on.
Add the ingredients for the vinegar mixture for the rice and set aside.
Fillet the mackerel.
Salt both sides of the mackerel and set aside on a bamboo mat for one hour.
Rinse the mackerel by dipping the fillets into a shallow dish of rice vinegar.
Throw away this rice vinegar.
Place the fillets into a fresh shallow tray of rice vinegar.  Make sure to add enough rice vinegar to cover the mackerel.
Marinade for 1-2 hours.
Remove the fillets from the vinegar.
Remove the skin and bones from the fillet. The skin will be very easy to remove after marinading.

Place the cooked rice into a wide wooden bowl or a roasting pan.
Fan the rice to cool it down.
Use the spoon with a cutting motion,  don’t stir it.
(The ingredients for the vinegar mix can be added separately over the rice a little at a time.)
Fan the rice and add a spoonful of vinegar mix a little at a time and cut the rice to mix it.
Repeat until you like the taste, add rice vinegar mix as desired.
Fan until the rice has cooled to room temperature.

Line one container with a large piece of cellophane wrap. Make sure it has double the length as you will wrap the sushi.
Add the mackerel with the coloured side facing down, cover the bottom of the dish with fish in one overlapping layer of fish fillets.
Add the rice evenly over the top of the fish. You do not need to use all of the rice.
Fold the cellophane wrap over the whole sushi.
Place the second container over the sushi and place a heavy object on top of it.
Leave it out overnight to set.

Remove the weight.
Place a plate on top of the sushi and turn it over.
Serve the sushi with the cellophane wrap on. It will be easier to cut.
Once cut remove the cellophane wrap. Wipe the knife between each cut. This makes the cut clean each time.
Cut it just before you serve. Only cut as you need as it will dry out quickly.
Serve with individual dipping saucers of soya sauce.
This sushi best eaten with hands rather than chopsticks.

What would I do differently for next time:
Have a thinner layer of rice.
Use less water in the rice cooker. (I used half way between 2 and 3 on the water level marker.)
Use more vinegar on the rice.

If you have read down this far you may be exhausted at all the instructions but as you will note they are fairly straightforward and well worth the effort.


One thought on “Ajizushi: Mackerel Sushi

  1. Pingback: Ajidon Marinated Jack Mackerel Rice Bowl | Midori Lantern

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