It’s only fair to say right at the start that if this post fully answered how to make sushi at home, I could turn it into a cookery book and get published.
There are three day starter courses that don’t cover anything like everything – cooking the rice is a challenge in itself!
Start With A Sushi Making Kit – That’s Honest Good Advice
If your only experience with sushi is eating it, then my best and most honest advice to those new to making sushi at home, it to buy a sushi making kit – it’s how I got started after being given one as a birthday gift.
I’ve used three kits from different makers to try different sauce combinations and have only now recently progressed to buying the ingredients and making it from scratch.
Another advantage is that having bought the kit, you have the rolling mat and some sauces, plus the experience of seeing and using sushi ingredients coming together.
Basically other than ingredients you have everything you need – if you make sushi you’ll love it I promise – and want to make it again.
There are only two other bit of equipment you might want to consider investing in if you make sushi regularly. One is a rice cooker – most of my disasters have been in the rice department and eventually I got online and bought a cheap one.
Now perfect rice every time without me touching it again, I can concentrate on preparing sushi fillings while the rice cooks. The second is for rolling sushi – I don’t use a mat anymore, not since buying myself a Sushezi Sushi Made Easy which is basically a cool little sushi rolling machine – superb neat sushi every time – no contest!
If you aren’t a regular reader you may not know that I hate raw fish, so I use egg and vegetables for fillings – cucumber, mushrooms, pickled ginger, cooked fish too, there are plenty of alternatives – but not raw fish! Also tofu is commonly used as a filling and topping and absorbs other flavors well.
Making sushi has three main components, each with their own complexity, though none beyond anyone reasonably competent in the kitchen and with enthusiasm to learn new skills. This is not difficult at all and as with any new skill, a little practice makes perfect. The rice is far and away the most time consuming part, with the fillings being easy – just slice the ingredients or chop depending on the filling recipe.
The sauces I recommend you buy, I haven’t even begun to work my way through the possibilities with them, but can say you will need at least three to vary the flavors. You can also find many other ingredients such as sesame seeds, all of which add variety and subtle flavor to the sushi.
Preparing Sushi Rice – Proper Name Shari Rice
How To Make Sushi At Home Without A Kit – Very Basic Instructions
Many recipes say use short grain rice and you can, but not with the same results. Should you be lucky enough to have an Asian store near you, they will likely stock everything you could possibly need. If not, Amazon and many stores stock ‘sushi’ or ‘shari’ rice and I would advise you to use that. You’ll also need rice vinegar – no you can’t use ordinary malt or white wine – really if you are going to do this, using the correct ingredients will give you a head start.
You Want The Rice Sticky
The best advice if not using a rice cooker is to use a non stick pan for cooking the rice – it is less likely to stick on the bottom. And that’s the problem, you want sticky rice, not dough – which is what results from too much water, if anything you want the rice a little on the dry side – making it easy for rice at the bottom of the pan to burn. You’ll also need sugar, and if living somewhere hot, a fan to cool the rice.
There is a small shortcut with the vinegar and rice seasoning. If you live near an Asian store or somewhere selling oriental supplies, you may find sushi rice seasoning, a powder or sometimes flakes which contains dehydrated seasonings and vinegar – it can be called sushi-zu which I think means prepared sushi vinegar.
Rice Ingredients – Enough To Serve 4 Hungry People Or 6 Polite Ones
* 3 cups Japanese Rice
* ¾ cup water
* 1/3 cup rice vinegar – don’t be tempted to use more, less is better.
* 3 tablespoons of sugar. For diabetics use a sugar replacement.
* 1 teaspoon of salt
- Firstly wash the rice thoroughly in a large bowl until the water runs clear
- Drain and place in a pot – rice cooker is best!
- Add the water – allow to rest for 10 minutes
- Turn on the heat and bring to the boil stirring every minute or so
- Once boiling, turn down to simmer and replace the lid, you don’t stir again.
- Keep a close eye on it, every 4 minutes is ideal – don’t stir!
- When there is no more water just swollen rice, remove from the heat
- Leave to steam (lid off) for 5 minutes
Tip – Remember gas is instant, electric takes time to turn down, in that time rice can easily burn, so put another burner on to a simmer setting and transfer the pan to the cooler burner.
While the rice is cooking…
To avoid damaging pans with the vinegar I do this in a glass bowl and use the microwave with a wooden spoon to stir it.
Mix the vinegar sugar and salt together and heat, stirring gently until the sugar and salt has dissolved. You need to cool this again, so only heat it as far as you need to. Now cool.
When cool, add to the cooked hot rice and gently fold in using a wooden spoon, metal gets damaged by vinegar and damages the cooked rice grains.
When mixed, again carefully using a wooden spoon or sushi spatula, spread the rice out on a large plate or even two and cool – you can fan it if you like and many people do. Rice vinegar is about 15% alcohol, so it can be encouraged to evaporate. You want the rice to dry out a little and become sticky, not wet.
Sushi rice is best used immediately and not stored
There are some great recipes on the Internet for you to have a go at and if you really want to make a go of this, a ‘how to make sushi at home’ book will give you plenty more ideas.
I use omelet a lot in my sushi, a two egg omelet will easily provide filling or topping for 2 large or 4 small sushi.
You’ll also need 2-4 Nori Sheets (seaweed sheets) and Wasabi, an absolutely essential hot paste, either used inside the sushi or added at the table – my preferred way is adding your own at the table.
You’ll also need soy sauce for dipping the sushi – for light omelet fillings I use the light soy sauce for dipping, but again these are all things that go with your own personal taste, so regard them as a guide, not a bible.
* ½ Red pepper, very thinly sliced
* 2 Beaten eggs
* Small pinch sea salt
Make the omelet and allow to cool.
- Lay the Nori sheet either in the sushi roller or on the rolling mat
- Spread rice (about three quarters of a cup usually per nori sheet) evenly over it
- Slice the omelet into strips and lay them in the center
- Roll the sushi – I still use a rolling machine!
- Chill for 30 minutes before serving
- Cut the sushi roll if required
Well, that in a nutshell is the most basic ‘how to make sushi at home’ guide ever produced, but it tells you what you need to know.
Me? I’d go get a kit with all the sauces and ingredients included, then invest in the rest if you like what you make.
The kits include the correctly balanced flavors and sauces – just about everyone who uses them makes great sushi and enjoys the process, just read the reviews at Amazon for the Sushi Kits.
They make great gifts, funnily enough the friend who gave this to me, had received one herself and enjoyed making the sushi with her boyfriend so much, she gave one to each of her friends as their birthdays came around. All the recipients are now sushi converts, so the kits must be doing something right. Add to that the three Sushi Chef Kits I’ve given as gifts this year and we’re a growing trend!
You can find my review on the Sushi Chef Sushi Making Kit here, where you’ll also find a brief run down of the different types of sushi you’re going to make, so go have a read first.
If you want more recipes try http://makemysushi.com which is a website I found a few months ago, when I graduated the kit class and started looking for new sushi recipes.
Do let me know how you get on either with or without a kit – drop back and leave a comment below.