Saturday, August 11, 2007


Hiiiiii yaaaaa- SU-SHI! That’s right boys and girls, it was sushi night- homemade sushi! Lots of folks are intimidated by making it. I can understand. 1) It’s raw fish. 2) It’s in weird complicated looking shapes. 3) It’s raw fish.

I however, am undaunted. The first time we made those lovely rolls and rice beds, I was prepared for the consequences, because that’s the kind of fool I am! I’m happy to say though that we always have good luck- and full bellies- when we go for it. Tonight was no exception. We had chilled sake (it does not always have to be warm) and seaweed salad (from the store) with our spread. We were stuffed and satisfied!

It is not a fast process- it’s a labor of love for sure. Tonight I did this solo and it took me about 2.5 hours from start to finish to make 4 types of maki rolls and a bunch of nigiri (rice with fish on top.) You have to make the rice, prep the fish and fillings, and then get to rolling. Below I have the rice recipe from my “Easy Sushi” recipe book- the rice is the most important part of sushi making. You can then choose any fillings that suit your fancy- below are the basics and some of my favorite insides.

Basic Ingredients:

  • Sushi Rice (recipe below)
  • Nori Seaweed Wrappers (if making rolls)
  • Wasabi Paste (optional)
  • Pickled Ginger (optional)
  • Rolling Mat- it just makes things easier for rolls

  • Tuna
  • Yellowtail
  • Sea Bass
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Cod
  • Marinated Eel (comes cooked)
  • Cooked Shrimp
  • Cooked Crab/ Imitation Crab Sticks

*You must find a reputable fish seller to purchase your raw fish. It must be “sushi grade.” If the person you are buying it from doesn’t know what you are talking about, walk away. Fish should not smell “fishy” if it is fresh. It should have vibrant color too.

  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Green Onions
  • Garlic Scape
  • Avocado
  • Daikon

Sushi Rice
  • 2 C. Sushi Rice (Must be “sushi rice”- it’s different than long or short grain or risotto)
  • 3 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Salt

  1. Rinse the rice in cold water, drain and repeat, swishing the rice around with your hand, until the water stays mostly clear. Let the rice soak for 15-45 minutes and then drain.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pot with the lid on, bring the rice to a boil in 2 1/2 C. water over high heat. This should take about 5 minutes. Do not remove lid.
  3. Simmer the rice over low heat for about 10 minutes or until the water is gone. Do not remove lid. Remove rice from heat and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Don’t remove the lid still!
  4. While rice does it’s thing, mix together the vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves.
  5. After the rice sits, transfer it to a shallow dish. Pour the vinegar dressing over the rice and gently fold it through. If possible, fan the rice to cool it while you fold the dressing in.
  6. The rice will be ready to use once it has cooled to about body temperature.

How to Make Sushi Rolls (Maki)
Have all your items ready to go. Be sure to have a bowl of clean water handy to rinse your hands. The rice is sticky and hard to work with when you’re covered in it!

Put down a sheet of seaweed on your rolling mat. Take a handful of rice and press it down onto the seaweed, spreading it thinly to all sides except the far edge. Leave a half inch or so of the nori empty on the far side.

Lay down a line of filling an inch or so in from the starting edge. Be sure not to overfill it- that is a common mistake of ours. Do feel free to put a thin layer of wasabi down under the filling.

Using the rolling mat, fold the nori and rice over on itself to start the roll. Continue rolling, folding the mat back so as to not roll it into the food.

When the roll is completed, give it a firm squeeze to seal up the nori.

Cut the roll with a sharp serrated knife into 4-8 pieces.

How to Make Nigiri
Moisten your hands and grab a small handful of rice. Gently yet firmly form it into a rectangular form about 1 inch by 0.5 inches.

Firmly place a solid small filet of fish onto the rice bed. If desired, cut a strip of seaweed and wrap it around the fish and rice like a belt!

Enjoy with soy sauce, pickled ginger, wasabi, seaweed salad, and sake wine.


Meg's Adventures in the Kitchen said...

wow... your sushi looks GORGEOUS! yummm :)

megan said...

That all looks so good, and you did a great job putting it all on your blog! Where did you buy your fresh fish and also the marinated eel? I don't know that I've ever seen that around, but it's one of my favorites.

Erika said...

Megan- I got the crab, eel, rice, seaweed salad at Sun Oriental Market on Congress St. It's a really great little shop with every type of asian food. They are open from 9-6 every day. The bass and tuna I got from Browne Trading down on Commercial. Man, I love that store- I could drop a bundle on all the cheeses and wines and goodies! They have a great fish counter with knowledgable staff.

I actually tried to get fresh fish in the fall for sushi at a fish monger on one of the piers downtown. They had nothing! I was shocked- don't we live on the coast?! I was so surprised and pleased to see that Browne's had everything I needed right down the street.

megan said...

Good to know! I've been into Sun Market, but never to Browne Trading - I'll have to, it sounds great!

Glenn said...

mmm... sushi...

i notice you didn't use any wasabi as an adhesive in your nigiri... does it stick together well enough without it?

DeborahSW said...

What a fun post! Thanks for sharing! :)

Erika said...

Glenn- The nigiri could stick better, but the rice itself has a pretty sticky texture, so it isn't too bad. I find that if we let it sit for a few minutes (usually 10-20 while everything is put together, it makdes it easier to eat. The fish adheres better and the rice bed doesn't fall apart as easily. I wouldn't recommend whipping it around in your chopsticks though, not without a "seaweed seatbelt" in place!

Beth G. said...

We love making sushi- you're pictures are FABULOUS! We wrap our rolling mat in seran wrap because we noticed the chefs at our fave spots did it- it keeps the mat clean and prevents the rice or nori from stickin' :)