Hamachi, commonly known as yellowtail, ranks high on the list of go-to fish for sushi and sashimi lovers, right after salmon and tuna. Its luxurious, fatty texture makes it a top choice for raw dishes.
In this guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about hamachi, from its origins to how to choose, prepare, and serve it.
What Exactly is Hamachi?
Hamachi is the term for young Japanese amberjack or yellowtail fish. When it reaches adulthood, it’s called “buri.” This fish is raised in Japan’s pristine waters and then shipped globally, mainly for use in sushi and sashimi dishes.
How Does Hamachi Sushi Taste?
Compared to other white fish, hamachi has a very soft, fatty texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor. Its rich taste and melt-in-your-mouth feel make it a prized delicacy.
Buying Hamachi for Sashimi or Sushi
When selecting hamachi fillets for sashimi or sushi, look for:
- Deep orange-yellow color with white marbling of fat
- Firm, resilient raw flesh
- Clean briny smell – no strong fishy odor
Hamachi is available year-round, but considered best in the winter months when it has higher fat content. For raw preparations, always choose sushi-grade hamachi which has been handled to prevent parasites and is safe to consume raw.
Does Hamachi Have Mercury?
After doing some research, I discovered that Hmachi does indeed have higher levels of mercury, therefore groups such as pregnant women should avoid Hamachi. Source: American Pregnancy Association.
Preparing Hamachi for Sashimi
Proper knifework is key to beautifully presented hamachi sashimi:
- Use a long, extremely sharp sashimi knife. This makes clean, thin slices.
- Position the knife at an angle and slice the hamachi across the grain of the fish.
- Cut evenly into 1⁄4 inch thick rectangular slices.
- Cut the slices into 2 inch long pieces.
- Arrange the hamachi pieces attractively on a chilled platter.
Serving Suggestions for Hamachi Sashimi
Hamachi sashimi is often served very simply to appreciate the pure flavor of the fish. Traditional garnishes and sides include:
- Grated ginger and wasabi – dip the fish lightly in soy sauce mixed with wasabi. The spicy wasabi enhances the hamachi’s sweetness.
- Thinly sliced scallions add a pop of color and mild onion flavor.
- A wedge of yuzu, lemon, or lime adds bright citrus overtones.
- Shiso leaves or microgreens make an aromatic garnish.
|Grated Ginger||Fresh, cleansing|
|Scallions||Mild onion notes|
Hamachi for Sushi
Beyond sashimi, hamachi is also popular in sushi rolls and nigiri:
- Use hamachi in place of tuna for tekka maki (tuna rolls)
- Top sushi rice with a slice of hamachi for hamachi nigiri
- Add thin sashimi strips of hamachi as filling for uramaki (inside-out rolls)
The soft texture and richness of hamachi pairs well with avocado, cucumber, and crab meat in sushi rolls.
- Hamachi has a soft, fatty texture and sweet, mild flavor.
- Carefully slice hamachi sashimi paper-thin across the grain.
- Serve simply with wasabi, soy, and garnishes like yuzu, ginger, and scallions.
- Use as a filling for sushi rolls or topping for nigiri sushi.
- A highly prized fish, hamachi stands up beautifully on its own in sashimi and sushi.
With its elegant simplicity, hamachi sashimi makes for an impressive appetizer. The rich taste and velvety texture also makes hamachi a perfect addition to sushi rolls and nigiri sushi.