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Tuesday
Mar062012

Sushi 101: How to Roll Your Own Sushi

I love sushi. Bold, underline, italicize the love because man-oh-man, in one word, that is exactly how I feel about sushi. In every city I have lived in, I can name my favorite sushi joint. I can list off rolls like its my job and I can conjure up the exact mouthwatering taste of eating a roll. I do not, however, like the cost of sushi. Do I think it's worth it for good sushi. Sure. But does it prevent me from eating it often. Yes. On Valentine's Day four years ago, the then-boyfriend, now husband, and I decided sushi was most definitely in our cards. Rather than go out and eat it, we decided we would make it ourselves. We bought the sushi mat, did some research and cabbed it over to the fish market of choice in Chicago (Dirk's Fish Market for any Chicago readers - hands down, the best place to buy sushi grade seafood). Many many many hours later, we had 100+ pieces of sushi. No, I am not exaggerating. It was more sushi than I had ever seen in my life in a single sitting. No, it was not pretty looking and yes, it was a laborious affair that took us way too many hours but it was fun and rewarding. AND it was incredibly inexpensive (relatively speaking). It cost maybe $40-50 for all of that sushi. Obviously the cost depends on fish prices but on average you can expect to spend $5-$15 for 1/3 pound of sashimi grade seafood. Since then, we have made DIY sushi on numerous occasions and mastered some things that I deem critical to our success. The ingredients I list below are what we tend to use. Number one rule of sushi making is be flexible and be creative. If you don't like a certain vegetable, substitute it. If you see a neat fish on sale, try it. There are tons of ways to roll sushi and tons of books out there. This is just the way I do it and the recipes that work for us. Before you get completely deterred, let me tell you. Now, sushi making takes no more than an hour from start to finish. No more time than many other meals take. Don't let the length of time stop you from trying, because though it may take you awhile the first time, as with everything, you'll get better the more you do it.


Roll Your Own Sushi

Sushi for 2-6, depending on how much you eat; Roughly 30-40 pieces

Sushi Rice

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Spicy Mayonnaise

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp siracha sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Sushi Ingredients

  • 1-2 packages of seaweed
  • 1/3 lb sashimi grade tuna
  • 1/3 lb sashimi grade salmon
  • 1/3 lb shrimp
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 jalapeno

 


  1. Make the sushi rice according to the instructions on the package. A rice maker is the easiest way to do this.
  2. When the rice is done, stir in the rice wine vinegar and sugar. Refrigerate it to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  3. While the rice is cooking, make the spicy mayonnaise. Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, siracha, and sesame oil. Refrigerate.
  4. Begin cutting all of the ingredients for the rolls. There is no science to this. With the vegetables, simply cut them into thin strips, no longer than 2 inches (or use a julienne tool). For the avocado, cut it in half and remove the pit. Place the avocado flat side down, then cut it into thin slices. If you are using shrimp, cut it in half, lengthwise. With the tuna and salmon, cut it into strips, 1-2 inches long by roughly 1/4 inch thick. As I said, there is no wrong way to do this, just make sure you cut the ingredients small enough to fit inside the rolls.
  5. Prepare the seaweed rolls. The best way to do this is to cut them in half, lengthwise. What you'll end up with is 2 usable pieces per sheet of seaweed. Doing this makes rolling the sushi much easier.
  6. Place a bowl of water next to your work space. You don't need any sushi mats or plastic wrap if you don't want it.
  7. Now it's time to get rolling. Place the seaweed in front of you, vertically, so the short edge is facing you. Take roughly 1/4 cup of rice and spread it on the top 1/3 of the seaweed. Leave a 1/4 inch of space at the top and on either side. Again, see the pictures above.
  8. Add wasabi or spicy mayonnaise on top of the rice, making sure not to add too much.
  9. Choose what seafood you want to add, layering it directly on top of the rice. I recommend not stacking this too high. Instead, put only what you can fit in one or two layers.
  10. Next add the vegetables, following the same process. You don't want to overfill the roll.
  11. Dampen your fingers with the water and draw a thin line on the far end of the seaweed. By dampening this end, the roll will be easier to seal.
  12. Using two hands, begin to roll the seaweed very tightly. When you finish, push the wet end onto the roll, sealing it.
  13. Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into individual pieces. Wipe the knife in between to remove stickiness. This will make it easier to cut.
  14. You can take any extra rice and seafood and make sashimi. Form a bit of rice into a oblong shape, top it with a dollop of wasabi or spicy mayonnaise and place a small piece of fish on top of that.
  15. Enjoy!

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