Making sushi

To make sushi at home, you need some special equipment, the ingredients are expensive, it’s fiddly and time consuming.  But it’s a real treat and a lot cheaper than going to a good Japanese restaurant, so I recommend having a go if your family like sushi

I already had a good, sharp knife, so just bought a rolling mat (preferably flat on one side, which the cheapest ones aren’t) and a nigiri mould. If sushi nights become a regular event, then a rice cooker would be a good investment.

To serve there are lots of lovely special presentation dishes, but you can use plates and save up for those 🙂 Chopsticks are essential – sushi wouldn’t taste right with a fork! A little dish for everyone to mix up soy sauce and wasabi in is nice, but you could improvise with something like a ramekin.

The ingredients:sushi

  • fish – don’t pick up some tired salmon on special offer at your local supermarket. Go to a good fishmonger and ask what is best for sushi today. Last time I got tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Sea bream and crabsticks are good.
  • rice – it has to be sushi rice or it won’t stick together properly
  • rice vinegar, sugar and salt for seasoning the rice – (or buy sushi vinegar which already has sugar and salt in it)
  • nori  – seaweed sheets for rolling
  • soy sauce – worth buying in large quantities
  • wasabi paste and pickled ginger
  • other sushi filings: cucumber, red pepper, blanched green beans, avocado etc all cut into thin matchsticks

Preparing the cold, cooked rice is the first step and one that takes longer than you think. The sushi rices needs to be washed very thoroughly in lots of changes of water until the water stops going milky. Then it need to be cooked in a pan with about 10% more volume of water than there is rice. Keep the pan covered so the steam doesn’t escape, otherwise your rice – water ratio goes wrong. Cook it for 10 mins then leave the pan still covered for another 15 mins and the rice should be perfect.

At this point stir the sushi vinegar through the hot rice and spread it out to cool. So you have plenty of time to cut up the fish, matchstick vegetables, lay the table, have a bath and a few drinks… or even better, be organised and cook the rice the day before or in the morning.

To make nigiri, you simply line the bottom of the moulds with a thin slice of fish, pack cold rice in on top (dipping your hands in cold water helps a bit to stop the rice sticking to you), put the top of the mould on and press down. Then turn the mould over and press on each of the ‘slits’ that is over a piece of fish – this will push the nigiri out of the moulds to be arranged neatly on a plate. It is pretty easy!

To make sushi, put a sheet of the nori on the rolling mat. spread a thin layer or rice on the nori, leaving a small gap at top and bottom. put a line of fish and vegetable  matchsticks along the middle and a very small amount of wasabi paste along the top gap, to act as glue. Then use the mat to roll it up, pressing firmly. You should end with a black sausage, which you then cut with a sharp, wet knife into sushi pieces.

The results may not look perfect, but they will still taste great and my family were impressed.


  1. I tried this last night, and wow, it was a revelation. I have only ever had shop bought sushi before, and it always seemed rather bland. I bought the Sushi kit from Sainsburys as we had none of the basic ingredients. They were a bit fiddly to make, but we had fun choosing what to go in them (raw salmon, cucumber and avocados) the end result was a flavour explosion in the mouth. Will definitely do them again.

  2. Paul Watkins says:

    For good instruction on sushi and particularly on other Japanese food I recommend
    A great teacher, and fun time – even though East London

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