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Nigiri vs Salmon Sashimi - Differences and Cutting Tips

18 Nov 2022 0 Comments

Salmon Nigiri is prepared with sashimi salmon and a dollop of fluffy sushi rice. The thought itself is lip-smacking and satiating. And the best part is that you don’t have to run to your nearest eatery serving the best Japanese cuisine.

Preparing sushi at home is incredibly easy and much cheaper when armed with the right tools and high-quality ingredients. If you love sushi, you may wonder how to cut salmon sashimi and Nigiri properly. Read on to surprise your friends and family with spicy tuna nigiri and salmon roll for a great family lunch or a lovely warm brunch with friends.

How to Cut Salmon Sashimi and Nigiri

Nigiri vs Sashimi: What’s the Difference?

If you have never tried making sushi at home, the world of this delicious fish can seem to be intimidating. There is a staggering amount of sushi rolls available in any Japanese restaurant, and those options are generally prepared with stuff that you may not find at traditional markets.

The first thing you will mention in any restaurant serving Japanese cuisine is a section dedicated to sashimi. But, surprisingly, sashimi is not a form of sushi in the truest sense of the term. Technically, sushi must have rice and sashimi refers to a delectable preparation of sliced fish served with other ingredients but not rice.

Even though the presentation of sashimi is quite simple, there's nothing to believe that the same goes for its preparation as well. Sushi chefs select their fish very meticulously and it takes a lot to understand how to cut sashimi salmon. Because how to slice salmon sashimi decides the fish's flavors.

This attention to detail and quality is why only the best fish is regarded as "sashimi-grade," meaning the fish is of such premium class that it can be enjoyed raw only.

On the flip side, nigiri is just a thin slice of cooked or raw fish layered on a mound of rice soaked in vinegar. In most cases, a small amount of wasabi is also given between the rice and the fish. It is often accompanied by nori or a tiny strip of seaweed. The word "nigiri" means two fingers' and translates to the size of the portion of rice served.

Apart from these descriptive and structural differences between sashimi and nigiri, there are certain similarities between these dishes. In the first place, true to their names, these dishes are made from only skinny slices of fish that are sliced with utmost dexterity and precision.

Thus, if you plan to prepare sashimi or nigiri at home, you will first have to know how to cut salmon.

Salmon is among the most commonly opted fish for making sushi. But it's better to avoid using raw salmon since this species is particularly vulnerable to various parasites, which may lead to foodborne diseases and infections. It would help if you only went for sushi-grade fish to ensure that your fish is suitable for consumption in its natural state. Let's see how to cut sashimi and nigiri.

How to Cut Salmon Sashimi

How to Cut Salmon Sashimi?

You may possibly think that it doesn’t matter but shockingly, the fillet knife you select and the way you handle it has a lot to do in determining how your dish with come out. Some people prefer using knives with handles.

Even though this is not wrong, you will have to depend on your thumb and finger for gripping the base of the blade for enhancing the durability and accuracy of the cuts. It may seem to be a bit difficult in the first place but once you get a hang of it, you can exercise better influence over the grip and the angle.

You must use your thumb for checking the surface of work from rising while you slice the salmon. Also, make sure that you must have the middle finger perpendicular to the cutting surface. This will prevent you from injuring yourself intentionally.

Another aspect that you should be careful about is that the tip of the knife should lie below the finger core for discouraging any unwanted slashing. You will also require the best knife sharpener when you want the sushi cut to be very delicate.

How to Cut Nigiri

How to Cut Nigiri?

If you think about cutting nigiri, you will be relieved to know that it’s similar to cutting sashimi with slight differences. Since you will be adding rice to it, you will have to make thinner slices. Now that you will cut the belly part of the salmon, you will have to make a roughly 45-degree angle for slicing against the grain of fish.

For the first piece, you will have to cut the corner from the whole fillet. But don’t go wasting this piece just because it will not fit within your nigiri. Like the sashimi, make a sharp stroke with your fillet knife to make a precise cut. Make sure that you don’t go for a back and forth motion since this will only result in tearing the fish and destroying the presentation.

Just like you have done with the previous cut, you will have to complete the entire fillet in the same manner. Make sure that the slices are uniformly thin along the whole length of the fillet.

Now that you have cut nigiri for sushi, the next step is presentation. All you have to follow is to dampen your hand and grab some rice. Just ball it up and flatten the top for placing the salmon.


The salmon fillet can transform into both nigiri and sashimi when you have the best fillet knife. If you want to make sushi for your family or friends, it’s best to have a whole fillet of fish. The significant distinction between salmon sashimi and nigiri is that the latter is slimmer than sashimi and can be served alone or garnished with wasabi sauce. Now you know how to cut salmon sashimi and nigiri properly and easily, first make sure that you are armed with a top-notch sushi knife.


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