Literally translated to pressed sushi, Oshizushi (押し寿司) is a specialty of the Osaka provice in the Kansai Region of Japan. It’s a type of sushi that uses a small wooded box called Oshizushihako (押し寿司箱,) to press the sushi into a rectangular shape.While most people think that sushi is limited to nigiri and sushi rolls; sushi actually comes in all shapes and sizes. If you’ve been reading the posts from our blog and Sushi101 tab, then you’re probably familiar with the more irregularly shaped sushis like the Temaki and Chirashizushi. But, unlike the temaki and chirashi sushi, the oshizushi is a little more solid, a little less scattered.
How to make Oshizushi
First thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the box. It’s going to be a three-piece box (traditionally made of cypress or cedar) comprised of a rectangular shaped piece with vertical slits on the side, and two flat pieces with wooden feet. Now that you know all three parts of the mold, it’s time to give them a good soak in 1:4 ration of rice vinegar and water (in favor of the water). Take note, to make sure that it’s completely sanitized, it should be submerged overnight. Before each use, soak your box mold 20 to 30 minutes in water to avoid having the rice stick to to the wood.
Take your sanitized mold and take the flat piece with the feet extending beyond the edges of the plank, and place it flat side up on your workspace.
Place the rectangle piece on top of the flat piece. If you don’t want the trouble of scrubbing some stray pieces off the mold, you can place a plastic wrap on the hollow and top parts of the mold.
Take your prepared sushi rice and fill the box 2/3 of the way. (Here’s a step-by-step guide for The Perfect Sushi Rice)
With the flat side down, press the other wood piece to compress the rice.
Take your toppings, whatever you want them to be, and place them one layer at a time. You can be as creative as you want, and make as intricate or as simple a design as you want. When you’re satisfied with the amount and design of your toppings, compress your sushi with the flat wood piece. Now, this may require a little arm strength. So if you’re about as strong as me (and I’m not particularly strong) it’d probably be a good idea to have a friend help you out.
After compressing your sushi, take a sharp knife and cut through the slits on the box to create even pieces. Yes, you can cut through the plastic wrap if you used some. No worries.
If you did use a plastic wrap, you can lift each individual piece with it. If not, gently take off the rectangular piece.
Some people prefer placing the fillings at the bottom, fill the rest of the space with rice, and then press the oshizushi. If this will make things easier for you, then by all means, go for it! When you’re cooking at home, there is no wrong and right way, as long as you cook with a little love.