Sushi has been a popular Japanese food for decades. It consists of different ingredients that make up a whole new and fresh dish.
Because of its fresh ingredients, many people find sushi light and refreshing. Some people who carefully watch their diet may wonder how many calories are in sushi.
What’s In a Sushi?
There are many components found in sushi, and they depend on the type of sushi you consume. Sushi can have eggs, fresh ingredients like fish, vegetables, seaweed wraps or sheets, and an essential ingredient, sushi rice.
Sushi rice can be considered the most crucial ingredient in sushi. It is sticky and starchy; different chefs master the art of cooking this type of rice to make a good set of sushi.
This usual rice type for sushis is Japonica and, in a more specific term, the Koshihikari cultivar. This rice is distinguished through its medium and slightly rounded grains.
It would be easy for you to identify them apart because of their difference from the usually long and skinnier grains of other types of rice. Japonica is starchier than usual rice sold in the west.
This type of rice has higher levels of amylopectin, which is a form of starch.
As you may have already observed, the rice is always sticky whenever you eat sushi. The extra starch makes it stickier than other types of rice when cooked.
Stickier rice is also ideal for eating sushi as it helps hold the ingredients together, molding is more effortless, plus it’s easier to eat with chopsticks.
Two Main Types of Sushi
Sushi is made with different ingredients but mainly with Koshihikari cultivar or Japonica rice. There are two main types of sushi, namely nigiri and maki.
Nigiri-zushi is roughly translated as ‘hand-pressed.’ It embodies its translation as nigiri sushi is toppings gently pressed onto an oval-shaped mound of rice.
The toppings are usually raw, but they are fermented or cooked in some cases and preferences. Most usually, the toppings that get cooked are eel and shrimp.
Altogether, nigiri sushi comprises a mound of rice shaped into an oval and topped with fresh fish and other seafood types.
The primary process for making nigiri sushi is molding the rice by hand and then pressing the toppings onto the rice. Despite the simplicity of the process, it’s more complicated than it seems.
Chefs can get as creative as they want in making nigiri sushi. Sometimes, they add subtle things like wasabi in the middle of the rice and toppings. The most usual fish and seafood topped on the rice are as follows:
- Fatty tuna
Although people are used to eating nigiri sushi using chopsticks, they are meant to be eaten by hand. Also, when you dip your nigiri sushi in the sauce, the toppings should be the ones to touch the sauce first.
Maki is the type of sushi that’s rolled. The main ingredients for maki sushi are usually seaweed sheets called nori, rice, and fillings.
Maki sushi is cylindrical and is made by rolling up all the ingredients into a tube and slicing it into bite-sized cylinders. Maki sushi can be filled with different ingredients like vegetables, seafood, fish, eggs, cream cheese, mayo, some fruits like mango, etc.
- Uramaki: Unlike the popular image of maki having the fillings rolled in, there are maki sushi variations where everything is moved oppositely. This maki variation is called uramaki. For this maki, the rice is outside while the seaweed sheets are inside.
- Hosomaki: These are maki sushis with thinner rolls.
- Futomaki: These are maki sushis that are thick.
Sushi Calorie Count
Although there are only two main types of sushi, there are still many kinds and variations under these more enormous umbrellas. They can be differentiated by the process and the ingredients involved, whether the topping or the filling.
Here is a comprehensive table of different types of sushis, their components, and their calorie count.
Sushi Calorie Counter Table Per 100 grams
● Crab stick
The type of fish depends and crab stick can be optional.
● Vinegar rice
|● Vinegar rice
|● Imitation crab
● Tempura shrimp
● Unagi sauce
There is a veggie-rich version of dragon rolls too.
● Sesame seeds
|Salmon Avocado roll
|● Raw salmon
● White rice
● Sushi vinegar
● Pickled ginger
● Sesame seeds
|● Raw tuna
● Imitation crab
● Radish sprouts
|● Tempura soft-shell crab
● Spicy mayonnaise
● Vinegared rice
Sushi With High-Calorie Content Explained
- Shrimp Tempura Roll: The shrimp tempura roll has the most calories out of all the common and popular sushis available in various restaurants worldwide. Unlike other types of sushi, shrimp tempura rolls are breaded and then fried. This also means there is oil involved adding up to the calorie count. As a result, you get your typical fresh, crunchy and delicious sushi.
- Dragon Roll: Dragon roll has been a popular type of sushi also because of its visual presentation. This type of sushi might look excellent and delectable, but if you are someone who carefully watches their calorie intake, then this is not the best choice on the list. Dragon rolls are fatty and contain 507 calories, making them high-calorie sushi compared to other versions. However, this depends on the ingredients too. Dragon roll has a veggie-rich version, but the typical roll is almost consistent in having shrimp, eel, roe, avocado, and cucumber. While all of these are healthy ingredients, the rolls’ sauce is thick and unhealthy.
- Rainbow Roll: Rainbow roll sushi is just what you expect them to be. They have a little bit of everything and are rich in protein. These rolls are a go-to when you are in the mood for a combination of things. Rainbow rolls can be topped with a wide selection of fish and are high in calories.
- Eel Avocado Roll: By the name of this sushi roll, you can quickly know what ingredients are emphasized. This type of sushi is on the list of high-calories sushi because of the eel. Eel is one of the fattest fish. In fact, it’s the fattiest fish in the sushi world, or when talking about fishes that can be put in sushi.
- Caterpillar roll:Caterpillar is another roll that involves eel. The eel plus the avocado and the fish roe (tobiko) add 329 calories.
- Philadelphia roll: Philadelphia roll is one of the most popular sushi served worldwide. This roll is typically a combination of salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese—the combination results in one of the calorie-filled sushi.
Eating Sushi On a Diet
While diet is entirely up to you, and you can eat what you want and avoid what you want to avoid, it’s still good to know you can still eat what you like with the help of some adjustments.
People who aspire to lose a particular amount of weight by watching what they eat should not deprive themselves of the goodness of sushi! Here are some tips on ordering and eating sushi on a diet!
One of the best things to use as a guide is a helpful table where you can see the number of calories of sushi you are craving.
You can easily calculate how many calories you consume and mix and match it to fit your whole day. This helps you judge and decide whether you can or cannot eat the sushi you crave.
Avoid high-calorie sushi
You can quickly tell what sushi you need to avoid when you have a table and a list of sushi types and their nutritional content.
And so, when looking a the menu, you can mentally assume a sushi’s calorie amount. Here are some terms that can indicate high calories.
- Crunchy: When a sushi dish name on the menu mentions the word crunchy, there is something fried in the sushi. Nevertheless, this means there’s oil and extra fat content. This can either be the meat or something else.
- Spicy: When sushi is spicy, this can equally be related to having mayo. Mayo can be an additional calorie contributor, so it would be better to avoid sushi names on the menu that might equate to mayo if you are cutting strictly. Mayo should sound good, but discipline should win!
- Tempura: Tempura would also be directly related to frying and oil.
Indulging in your favorite Japanese menu sure sounds like paradise. However, when you are following a diet plan to lose weight or to have a healthier body, you need to watch your calorie intake.
Fortunately, this does not mean letting go of sushi, though; it’s just a matter of adjusting. Thus, “How many calories in sushi?” is very valid.
Hiroshi Nakamura, a Tokyo-born sushi chef turned US-based writer and critic, is the voice behind ichisushi.com, blending traditional sushi wisdom with modern insights.