A take-out place near where I work makes an "avocado boat".

A whole avocado is peeled, pitted and cut in half. One half is placed on the bottom of a tray and filled with brown rice and assorted sashimi (raw fish). Then the other avocado half is placed on top. (Perhaps, it should be called a "sandwich"?)

In terms of quantity, there's about as much sashimi as avocado. The rice is clearly minimal. I assume, though that I should make mezonot on the rice and shehakol on the fish. Do I need to make any bracha on the avocado despite its significant quantity? It seems like it is a "tafel" as it is meant to hold the fish, really, and make the dish look pretty, though I am eating the avocado, also.

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/4712/5323 – MTL Feb 15 '15 at 3:05
  • @Shokhet - SOMEWHAT related, but not quite. Sushi has all the stuff together, and, actually, the seaweed is the "binder" or holder. Interestingly, enough in that answer, no one mentioned a bracha on the seaweed. Here, the avocado, in a sense, acts as the "holder" in place of the seaweed. – DanF Feb 15 '15 at 3:10
  • I don't know if "holder" is something we think about wrt brachos. I think that according to this answer, for example, it sounds like the relevant piece of information is volumetric majority. – MTL Feb 15 '15 at 3:13
  • @Shokhet - Ahah - "ta'arovet tafel" and the notion that we go by the majority. OK - as I stated in my question, there is about as much avocado as fish. The question is if the avocado is really a tafel, in this case. I believe it is, but perhaps, it isn't. According to the linked answer, I shouldn't even make a bracha on the rice b/c it's minority, here. – DanF Feb 15 '15 at 3:20
  • @Shokhet - Compare - I make a sandwich using a giant lettuce leaf wrapped around a few strips of grilled chicken. The lettuce has more volume than the 2 tiny pieces of chicken, but is it a tafel in this case, as I'm not really interested in the lettuce, per se? – DanF Feb 15 '15 at 3:22

if they're not cooked together, you should recite individual brochos on each item (i.e., ha'etz on the avocado, mezonos on the rice, and shehakol on the fish) only if there's mezonos from the 5 species (wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt), then the other ones are considered "tafel" (secondary), and would not require a brocha

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    Your answer seems sensible, though some sources would be more helpful. What would be esp. useful, here, is a backup source explaining the 2nd part of your answer, namely that even though the bracha on rice is mezonot, it does not qualify for the same "tafel" exemption as the other 5 grains. That aspect peaks my interest. – DanF Nov 12 '15 at 16:25
  • I heard that if someone considers any specific bracha-food "superior" then the the others are tuful to it (not just if the main food is mezonos) – Yaakov5777 Feb 20 '19 at 5:18

Independently and in addition to what @kitzur wrote, these questions are really hard to answer in general because they depend on the preference of the eater, e.g., one person might eat the sushi for the rice, another person might eat it for the fish and that changes the ikar. See for instance towards the bottom of here.

The easiest practical way out of the issue is to make individual brachot on each element in the right order (mnemonic: MeGa EASh: Mezonot Gefen Etz Adama Sheakol - works better in Hebrew mega aish). Note this order per Mishna Brura, some invert Mezonot and Hagefen, see e.g., here.

It is easier when mezonot is involved as in nearly all cases mezonot becomes the ikar and exempts the rest

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  • I never knew this order rule / mnemonic. Can you link a source for that? Re your last sentence - I question that rule regarding apple cobbler, and, perhaps, apple strudel. I need to research this. – DanF Jan 11 '16 at 21:37
  • @DanF added 4 sources per your request. Cakes in general are mezonot except if the dough is very thin and only used as a support for the rest. For strudel the OU says (oukosher.org/guide-to-blessings) As with all cakes, the dough is considered the primary ingredient and only Mezonot is necessary even if there is less dough than apple, and even if the cake is eaten mainly because of the apple. On the other hand, if there is merely a thin strip of dough, which is intended just to help you handle all the apple, the dough becomes subordinate to the apple and only Ha-aytz need be said – mbloch Jan 12 '16 at 4:37

The implication from here would seem to be that you would only make a "haetz"; though personally I'm skeptical and think that there's probably not enough acknowledgment that the fish is socially/psychologically the main component of sushi (historically, I believe rice was just used as a way to preserve the raw fish and that other components are just added as flavorings etc.):

Q13) You list SUSHI as being mezonos, assumedly because a mezonos food is never considered a taful. Is this actually true for rice as well, because, clearly, the rice of the sushi is taful to the rest of the ingredients.

A13) What bracha to say on Sushi is a really difficult and fantastic question. I personally asked Rabbi Mandlebaum, the author of V'Zos Habracha, and he confirmed that we treat sushi as the third category of Ikar and Tofel- TaArovet Tofel. Therefore, the bracha would be dictated by the largest ingredient by volume. I am no expert in sushi, but I feel like there is more rice than there is fish or vegetables (counted each separately)

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  • See my comment, above. In this dish, rice is not the main ingredient. It is equal between avocado and fish. Perhaps, my calling it "sushi" is creating a bias in the answers. – DanF Feb 15 '15 at 20:23

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