Have you ever wanted to make sushi, but didn’t because it seemed too intimidating? That was me for a while. As it turns out, it’s not scary. Since I’ve been cooking more, I feel like I’ve been getting better at it and I’m more confident. Last week when my boyfriend requested I make sushi, I didn’t shy away from the idea like I normally do. Instead, I looked up everything I could possibly want to know on the internet and tried it out. If it didn’t work, no big loss. If it did work, I’d get delicious sushi. So this is the tale of my first time making sushi.
Sushi is really fun to make. I want you to be able to have fun making sushi too so I’ve compiled all the resources I used and divided them up by step in the sushi making process. Good luck. I would love to help anyone having trouble with their first time making sushi and I can try to answer questions. I’m no pro, but I have done it myself so I can try to help.
What You’ll Need:
Very sharp knife
Nori or seaweed wrap
Vegetables (whatever you want. I used carrots, cucumber, and avocado)
Other stuffing ingredients (cream cheese, sauces, spicy mayonnaise, etc.)
*All ingredients can be found at local Asian markets and are becoming increasingly common in regular chain supermarkets.
Making Sushi Rice:
To pick out the sushi rice, I went to my local Asian marketplace and asked someone where to find the sushi rice. They pointed out a bag that was clearly marked “sushi rice,” but also told me that sushi rice is just a grain of rice and there is nothing else special about it. Feel rather silly for not seeing the sushi rice, I bought it.
This is the brand I bought. I can’t vouch for this amazon seller I linked to, but the rice worked well. It was only about $5 in store.
After that, instead of cooking the rice in a pot, I cooked the rice in my rice cooker. I have an old, but really high quality, rice cooker and it cooked the rice very nicely. If you do not have a rice cooker, I would follow the instructions from the link above. I cooked 1 cup of dry rice and got about 3 cups of cooked rice. Once the rice was cooked, I removed it from the heat and put it in a bowl. I then heated 1/3 cup of rice vinegar on the stove and added 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp salt. I heated the combination until the sugar and salt had completely dissolved. The above link recommends 1/2 cup rice vinegar for 3 cups of cooked rice, but I found that to be a little too vinegar-y so I reduced it to 1/3 cup for 3 cups of cooked rice. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cooked rice and mix well. Allow to the rice to cool and the vinegar to soak in.
This is what I struggled with the most. I did not end up with pretty even little sticks of vegetables like I wanted. Turns out, it didn’t really matter. I followed the above instructions as best I could, but it didn’t end up having a big bearing on the taste or the outcome of the sushi. I think that practice makes better so I will eventually get better, but I didn’t find it to be very important. The best advice I can give is find very even vegetables. If you find ones that are perfect cylinders, then that would be ideal.
I did not buy raw fish or cut fish for this sushi. I found canned crab and used that for the sushi. Maybe I’ll get adventerous and try to use raw fish, but I was focusing more on the roll first.
Preparing the Sushi:
The first step is to wrap the sushi mat (usually bamboo with one side flat and one side round) with plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Prepare a small bowl with water and add a little rice vinegar. This is to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. Also have a hand towel ready. You want to handle the rice only with wet hands and you want to handle the nori or seaweed wrapper only with dry hands. Place the nori on the mat with the shiny side facing down and rough side facing up. Wet your hands and grab a handful of rice about 3″ in diameter. Spread the rice over the nori leaving about an inch of room at both the top and bottom of the nori (where you will start rolling and where you will stop rolling). Add the vegetables, fish, and whatever else you want (spicy mayo, cream cheese, etc) to the starting end of the roll on the rice.
Rolling the Sushi:
Use the video above. It was very helpful after 1:37. The beginning part is just her spreading rice out and is very boring. Start by using the mat to roll the nori over the stuffing (veggies and fish). Use your fingers to keep the stuffing from spreading out. Squeeze the mat tightly after this first roll. Roll the sushi again squeezing tightly after each complete roll until you reach the end.
Cutting the Sushi:
All I can say is use a sharp knife. What I did was first sort of wiggle the knife in a sawing motion to get through the top layer of nori. Then I cut straight through and I sawed again at the end. The helped keep the nori on the sushi and prevented it from exploding everywhere. I cut my sushi into 6 pieces, but you can decide where you want to cut it.
As I said at the beginning, good luck and I’d love to try to help anyone having trouble. I had a really fun time making sushi and I want you all to have fun too. Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!