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Maguro: What is It and How is It Served in Different Dishes?

Seafood is surging in world cuisine. The world produces more than 155 million tons of seafood every year. One very popular catch is maguro. It is a staple of Japanese restaurants, yet even experienced sushi connoisseurs don’t know what it is. What exactly is maguro? What are the different cuts of maguro? How can you serve it, and how can you cut it into individual pieces after you have bought it? 

Answer these questions and you can create delicious fish dishes for people of all tastes. Here is your quick guide. 

The Basics of Maguro 

Maguro is the Japanese word for tuna. Tuna is a saltwater fish that has a mild taste and a tender texture. It contains a little bit of oil, keeping the fish moist for sushi. 

Tuna is used in a number of dishes throughout the world, including in Japan. Maguro is most commonly found in sushi within Japanese restaurants. 

Some restaurants refer to maguro as bluefin tuna. This is a species of fish found throughout the Pacific Ocean. But other restaurants consider maguro to be a generic label for tuna, so you may serve several different species if you would like. 

Varieties of Maguro 

A tuna fish has several flanks, similar to different cuts on a cow. Se-kami is red and fatty flesh that comes from the upper back of the fish. Senaka is redder and comes from the mid-back. 

Se-shimo is mainly red, but it contains white streaks. This creates a stunning aesthetic when served to a patron. It contains less fat, making the flesh more tender. 

Hara-kami ho-toro is extra-fatty tuna that comes from the upper abdomen of the fish. It is light in color and soft to chew.

Hara-naka chu-toro is fatty flesh that comes from the mid-abdomen. Hara-shimo contains a mixture of fat and muscle, which makes the color less red. 

There are more than one dozen species of tuna available for consumption. Bluefin tuna is the most popular, but a restaurant can serve yellowfin or albacore tuna. You should sample each species of tuna before deciding which one is right for your restaurant. 

Akami is a term that refers to the leaner meat from the fish. Most restaurants will serve akami if someone asks for “maguro” and does not specify what they mean. 

Toro refers to the fatty parts of the tuna taken from the center of the fish. Otoro is the fattiest part of the tuna, and it comes from the underside of the fish. It often falls apart or melts in the patron’s mouth. 

You may hear the term, “saku.” Saku refers to a block of tuna that a chef can cut into pieces for sushi. It does not refer to a cut or species of tuna. 

Types of Sushi With Tuna

Sashimi is thin slices of fish. You can serve tuna sashimi alongside salmon and other fish.

Most plates of sashimi are accompanied by sushi rice topped with soy sauce. You can serve sashimi directly over the rice, or you can put the rice off to the side. The latter allows the patron to sample the flavors and textures of maguro on their own. 

Donburi is fish and vegetables that are simmered together with broth, soy sauce, and rice wine. The fish and vegetables then go on top of a plate of rice. The fish is usually sliced before the cooking process. 

The roll is one of the most popular forms of maguro sushi. The tuna can go inside the roll, surrounded by sushi rice. Nori goes around the outside so the roll does not fall apart. 

Cucumbers, avocado, and pickled vegetables can accompany maguro. A chef can put a number of sauces over the sushi, including spicy mayonnaise and sriracha.  

How to Handle and Cut Maguro

You should have maguro as fresh from the sea as possible. Look into the logistics of transporting your tuna.

Transportation by plane is your best option because your order will come to you in a matter of hours. Planes have refrigerated sections so the fish does not go bad. They are stored in containers that resist turbulence or abrasions to the tuna. 

You should serve your tuna soon after you cut it. Keep it in the refrigerator until you are about to serve it. 

Take your saku and lay it flat on a cutting board. Pull out a large knife and cut the dorsal and ventral sections into four pieces. 

Lay out each piece so the skin is against the cutting board. Then cut the piece horizontally, filleting slowly with your knife. Cut so your knife moves away from you, and keep your free hand away from the blade. 

Once you have made your horizontal cuts, you should cut your pieces so you form thin strips. You can then cut your strips into planks for sushi. If you are serving your fish with rice, make sure to prepare your rice while you are cutting your fish. 

Touch Base With a Tuna Supplier

Maguro is tuna, a tender yet oily fish. You can find many different cuts of maguro, but otoro offers fatty flesh that melts inside the mouth.

You can serve maguro as sashimi or donburi. Rolls are also popular, especially amongst Americans.

Order your tuna from a supplier that delivers your fish as fast as possible. Be very thorough with how you cut your tuna. You want small pieces that are of the same size and texture. 

You don’t have to travel far to get the best tuna. Bluefina provides maguro to restaurants all over the world. Contact us today.