Almost a year ago, my birthday present was a sushi making class. It was such a fun experience as I love sushi, and I promised this was something I would make again. So here we are 11 months later and I finally got around to attempting to roll my own sushi, without a professional chef guiding me.
It looks intense, but overall there are three main steps to making sushi:
- Making the rice
- Preparing all your ingredients
- Rolling your rolls
Make your Rice
I used this instant pot recipe to make my perfect rice as it is also a rice cooker. If you don’t have either, you can also prepare the rice on the stove top!
Also, it is important that you have the right rice. You must use short grain white rice, that is labelled as sushi rice. I used Nishiki rice which you can find in some specialty grocery stores.
- To start the process you need to rinse your rice. Pour 2 cups of sushi rice into a bowl and filled it up with water. Mix the bowl until the water turns a murky white color. Pour out the water with a mesh strainer and repeat a couple times until the water no longer turns murky.
- Once it is fully rinsed, put it in the rice cooker with 2 cups of water and follow the instructions for your device. It takes about 12 minutes to cook and then the steam should release over 10 minutes.
- While the rice cooks, make your vinegar, sugar and salt mixture. The recipe called for white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, salt and sugar. I replaced the white wine vinegar with red wine vinegar because I had it. In general it still tasted like sushi rice, so I say if you do not want to buy another ingredient this substitution did work. Combine 1/4 cup white (or red) wine vinegar, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 2 Tbsp sugar. Then heat it in the microwave for 1 minute and mix well. The salt and sugar should completely dissolve.
- Pour mixture on the rice and gently mix together.
Prepare your Ingredients
I decided to make spicy crab salad rolls and salmon rolls both with avocado and cucumber. You can prepare your ingredients while your rice is cooking, but all ingredients must be prepared before you start the rolling process!
Salmon- slice up a piece of fresh sushi grade salmon into thin strips.
Spicy crab salad – I shredded up a pack of imitation crab meat and added about 2 Tbsp of Sriracha mayo. Mix well.
Cucumber– cut your cucumber in half lengthwise and cut out the seeds in the middle. Then you want to Julienne cut your cucumber into long thin strips.
Avocado– cut your avocado in half, and remove the pit. Then peel off the outside skin on both halves and slice each side into thin strips. You should be able to get between 6 and 8 slices from each side depending on how thick your pieces are. For this, a harder avocado is better than the super soft ripe ones.
Roll your Sushi
Lay all your ingredients out, and now set up your work station.
Before you start, some helpful tips are to place your bamboo rolling mat in a gallon sized ziplock bag to prevent the Nori (seaweed) and rice from sticking to it. Also, the rice is very sticky, my bamboo kit came with a spreader which helped me work with the rice, but if you do not have one, just wet your hands, and the water will prevent the rice from sticking as much.
Alright, lets get rolling!
- Place your Nori (seaweed) smooth shiny side down on your bamboo rolling mat.
- Rice on the outside (pictured below)- Cover your entire Nori with a thin layer of rice. This does not need to be perfectly edge to edge as the rice is sticky, and sometimes does not cooperate with you. Then flip your nori so the rice is against your bamboo mat.
- Rice on the Inside – Cover 3/4 of your Nori with rice, leave the top inch or so with no rice at all.
- For both rolls place your ingredients on the bottom. For the rice on the inside rolls, make sure the ingredients are going on the bottom that has rice on it, the area with no rice should be at the top of your working station. (Sorry I forgot to take pictures here!) Also, make sure all of your ingredients cover the full length, but are not too thick.
- The hardest and most exiting part is rolling. Working from the side with your ingredients, pick up the end of your bamboo rolling mat and using your fingers to hold the ingredients in place, slowly roll your mat. The end of your mat should remain up and does not go into your actual sushi roll. It should just guide the rolling process. After one roll, give the entire log a slight squeeze to make sure the rice and seaweed are sticking together.
- Lift the end of your bamboo mat one more time and complete the roll, giving the entire log another slight squeeze to ensure the whole roll sticks together.
- In the end lift your mat and you should have a perfect sushi roll. If not, try again, as practice makes perfect, and most Nori packs have about 10 sheets in them :)!
Take your finished rolls and slice them into around 8 pieces, a little smaller than an inch thick. You can see some of my failure cuts in the background of the picture below. I am not perfect, and again, it is not easy to roll your own sushi!
Display your beautiful creations! Some of the variations we made were
- Spicy crab salad, cucumber and avocado
- Salmon, cucumber and avocado
- Salmon, spicy crab salad, cucumber and avocado.
Some of my rolls have a little too much rice on them, so next time I will have to try to spread my rice thinner!
But over all, sprinkle some sesame seeds, dip in some soy sauce and any roll can be perfect!