Last night, my husband and I tried something new – making our own sushi from scratch. I mean, why not? It looked like fun, and it’s less expensive than buying pre-made sushi at Wegmans all the time. Right?
All in all, while the sushi rolls came out kind of messy, it was a really fun and educational experience. I don’t want to give a step-by-step tutorial on making sushi, since there are a few procedural things we still need to improve on to get it right… but I will share a few tips and tidbits on the experience for anyone who might want to try it themselves.
Homemade sushi is 100% safe if you stick to the right ingredients.
When one hears the word “sushi,” most people immediately think of raw fish… which can be dicey. However, there are a lot of rolls you can make either with vegetables, cooked seafood, or a combination of the two. We opted for cucumber and imitation crab meat (leg style), both of which are available at most grocery stores. You could also use shredded carrots, avocado, or canned tuna.
Gather your tools and resources.
In order to make your own sushi, you absolutely need a bamboo rolling mat and a really sharp knife. Aside from that, you can buy short grain rice, nori and the necessary condiments (rice vinegar, soy sauce, wasabi, ginger, etc.) at the grocery store. You could also buy everything in a set. We used this all-in-one sushi making kit I bought my husband for Christmas. In addition to all of the necessary ingredients, it came with a basic sushi cookbook.
Read through the instructions and do your prep work in advance.
It took us a few hours to make 9 rolls of sushi, mostly because we jumped in without any prep. We could have saved ourselves a lot of time by preparing the rice and chopping the vegetables in advance, or even doing them concurrently rather than one step at a time. Had we done this, we could have focused entirely on assembling the rolls.
Go easy on the wasabi. Seriously.
Most cookbooks tell you to put wasabi paste in your cucumber rolls for a little kick. However, they don’t really tell you exactly how much. We hardly put any on our rolls, but it still turned out to be too much. Ow. Even worse was my husband’s idea of making a “special” roll with both wasabi and a generous amount of Sriracha sauce. (You can imagine how that went, lol.) If you or your guests really love wasabi with your sushi, put it on the side of your serving dish as a garnish/condiment. Otherwise, you could probably skip it.
Don’t overdo it with the filling.
In general, be careful not to put too much of anything in each roll or they’ll fall apart. This is particularly difficult with traditional sushi rolls, since the rice is typically on the inside. If you want more vegetables or seafood in each roll, consider making them inside-out (rice on the outside).
Practice makes perfect.
The biggest takeaway from this experience was that making sushi takes a lot of practice. It’s not something you’ll be really good at right away, even if you follow every direction to the letter. You might even be terrible at it. However, if you focus on the task and troubleshoot when things go wrong, you’ll make a lot of progress from one roll to the next. After all was said and done, we knew exactly what needed to improve, and I’m honestly excited to try again!