How Arai differs from Sashimi: Japanese Raw Fish Dishes
Originally, Arai (洗い) is the noun form of Arau (洗う), the Japanese verb for “wash” in English, but when used in daily life, the word often refers to a fish dish similar to Sashimi.
Correctly, Arai is a cooking method of Sengyo (鮮魚: fresh fish), where the fresh raw fish is filleted and thinly sliced. But Arai is different in subsequent processes from Sashimi.
Arai vs. Sashimi
Then, how exactly does the dish Arai differ from Sashimi? For the unfamiliar, this article will explain the difference.
For Sashimi, we use various varieties of fish and shellfish. But the ingredients for Arai are mostly white fish such as red sea bream, sea bass, flatfish, Japanese horse mackerel, and freshwater fish such as carp and crucian carp.
In Sashimi, fish is filleted and thinly sliced. Meanwhile, for Arai, further going, the thinly sliced fish is washed with water (cold or lukewarm) to remove its fishy smell and excess fat and soaked in ice water for a while.
Besides, unlike Sashimi, the fish for Arai needs to be very fresh and usually prepared before the rigor mortis occurs.
Taste & Texture
The chilled fish for Arai is light and fresh tasting with a distinctive bouncy texture compared to Sashimi, and for these features, the Arai dish is preferable during summer.
How to Eat
We typically eat the chilled fish for Arai with shoyu (soy sauce) and wasabi (grated Japanese horseradish) or ponzu shoyu, and we often prepare vinegared miso for the freshwater fish with a characteristic smell and taste.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 洗い )