Sakurazushi (Salted Sakura Leaf Tai Sushi)

Sakurazushi: Salted Sakura Leaf Tai (Sea Bream) Sushi  鯛桜寿し

Sakurazushi: Salted Sakura Leaf Tai (Sea Bream) Sushi  鯛桜寿し
Just when you think that you have tried all the sushi in the world, you discover one in the very ‘un-sushi’ town of Kyoto that takes you aback! Sakurazushi, as made by Kichisen, is tai (sea bream) wrapped in salted sakura leaf. More than sublime!

Itadakimono: Recently Tanigawa-san at Kichisen has been bringing a lot of yummies, especially sushi for us to try. I just can’t believe my luck. He doesn’t like to see them appear on KyotoFoodie the next day, but with this one I knew that all you foodies around the world would have to hear about it!

Shiozakura is the salted sakura (cherry) leaf that is used for sakura mochi (sakura mochi ice cream) and here Tanigawa-san uses it to make Kyoto-style sushi. He said that the secret is to sprinkle the tai (sea bream) sashimi with salt, then put it in vinegar for a short time. Subtlety, complexity and surprise is the point. Atop the rice, where you would usually find wasabi in sushi, Tanigawa-san adds kinome (sprig of sansho). Two sakura leaves wrap the sushi which is garnished with a cherry petal fashioned from carrot.

Sakurazushi: Salted Sakura Leaf Tai (Sea Bream) Sushi  鯛桜寿し

Sakurazushi – Inside
Sakurazushi: Salted Sakura Leaf Tai (Sea Bream) Sushi  鯛桜寿し
Of course you don’t unwrap it when eating it, I just thought that I would show you what it looks like inside.

Sakurazushi – Inside
Sakurazushi: Salted Sakura Leaf Tai (Sea Bream) Sushi  鯛桜寿し
If you look carefully at the fish, in the middle of the sushi (lengthwise) you can see faint green, that is the kinome under the flesh.

Sakurazushi – Served
Sakurazushi: Salted Sakura Leaf Tai (Sea Bream) Sushi  鯛桜寿し
Verdant green maple leaf decorates the plate to suggest the season.

11 Responses to “Sakurazushi (Salted Sakura Leaf Tai Sushi)”

  1. CatherineSF says:

    A cherry petal cut from a carrot–that is sublime! I can almost (almost!) taste this beautiful sushi–thanks for posting.

  2. That’s such a brilliant presentation. It looks like Tanigawa-san has salted his own leaves? I love curing tai in salt. Cured between layers of kombu and sea salt, it keeps for a long time and is fantastic in ochazuke.

    What’s the pile of black stuff in the bottom photo? It looks like a nori tsukudani?

  3. Chymes says:

    wow…this looks interestting. Question! What is the black stuff to the bottom right in the last photo?
    Note: oh, and wooden plate is perdy.

  4. noobcook says:

    the leafs are absolutely stunning for food presentation =D

  5. Peko Peko says:

    Hello CatherineSF, About the carrot, making decorations out of carrot or other veggies is common in Japanese cooking. It is a nice touch.

    Hello Marc, I didn’t ask Tanigawa-san if he made the sakura leaves himself or not. Yes, tai salted between kombu leaves is very, very good stuff!

    Hello Chymes (and Marc), The ‘black stuff’ is indeed nori tsukudani, made by Kichisen.

    The wooden plate is 1000 year old yakusugi cedar, from Yakushima (island) way down south. I got it as omiyage.

  6. Christelle says:

    Oh this Sushi looks amazing, you are so lucky!! 🙂

  7. alex says:

    i didn’t know that it was possible to cook sakura leaves! 😛

  8. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Christelle, Yes, I do feel pretty luck! (Last week Tanigawa-san came over to my house three times to feed me!)

    Hello alex, The leaves are only salted, not actually cooked in the sense of using heat.

  9. Momo says:

    I’ve never had sakurazushi before and after seeing your pictures, its definitely something I will try this summer! I happen to be a big fan of nori tsukudani and have a nice jar of it in my pantry and fridge right now!

  10. leonine says:

    I found out about salted sakura blossoms fr your blog last year before visiting Japan in Fall 2008. I bought some shiozakura in Kappabashi while in Tokyo and have since run out of it. These blossoms improves the flavour and appearance of the rice balls I made. I have a friend visiting Kyoto in June. Where can a tourist get these sakura blossoms in Kyoto? Does the Dintora Spice shop in Nishiki Market carry this product? Hope you can help. Thanks.

  11. Erica says:

    Wow! I love the presentation.

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