Nowadays, we can find in sushi anything from a piece of mango or strawberry to a piece of fried banana, but it is the avocado that has gone from being just another ingredient in a dish to being the key element. How did this happen?
Japanese gastronomy is undoubtedly an art — and sushi is one of its most emblematic and world-famous dishes. However, the sushi we know today is not traditional sushi.
The ancestral cuisine did not include salmon or avocado as key ingredients; these arrived with the westernization of the dish, which has varied over the years.
With Japanese emigration to other parts of the world, sushi became an increasingly common dish in restaurants that introduced a gastronomy still unknown.
Knowing that culinary customs change in each region, it is not surprising that avocado, which accompanies nachos and the best salads, is now one of the main ingredients in sushi.
How was avocado introduced into the recipe?
It was during the 1970s that Japanese chefs began experimenting with new ingredients in their rolls. But more precisely, in a restaurant in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo called Tokyo Kaikan, it was chef Ichiro Mashita who invented the now-famous California Roll.
Prepared with rice, nori seaweed, crab meat, avocado, and cucumber, and topped with sesame seeds outside, this was the first sushi recipe to use avocado.
Mashita, who went down in history as the inventor of this recipe, was in the market looking for ingredients to prepare his dishes in the restaurant when he could not find tuna belly. Looking for a substitute, Mashita thought avocado was a good choice for its flavor but, above all, for its creamy and palatable texture.
In fact, in Japan, the literal translation of avocado is “forest butter.”
With avocado being such an abundant and popular ingredient in the California area, seeing such a well-known ingredient in sushi served by Mashita made it a favorite of millions.
From this success in the California Roll, chefs began to integrate avocado into other recipes, making it an essential ingredient in sushi preparation. It is used in all types of rolls and is a favorite of vegetarians and vegans, and some chefs have even prepared avocado in tempura and made it the protagonist of some of their dishes.
Nowadays, we can find in sushi anything from a piece of mango or strawberry to a piece of fried banana, but it is the avocado that has gone from being just another ingredient in a dish to being the key element, to the point that it is difficult to think of sushi without a bit of delicious avocado in the center.