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Sushi Tutorial

by: Adrienne Frankenfield

Sushi Related Japanese Words and Phrases

  • Sushi - Literally, "sticky rice," but in general, refers to anything made from the sticky vinegared rice.
  • Nori - Dried and pressed sheets of seaweed.
  • Maki OR "norimaki"- Regular old seaweed on the outside sushi roll.
  • Futomaki - Super big maki roll using a whole piece of Nori, rather than half.
  • Ura Maki - Inside out roll.
  • Temaki - Cone shaped hand roll.
  • Nigiri - A topping laid over a small bed of rice. Usually, this is fish, but you can use any veggie you like. ;)
  • Onigiri - A plain old rice ball filled with fun stuffin's.
  • Kappa - Cucumber (Kappa maki = cucumber roll).
  • Kombu - Kelp

Maki

sushi tutorial For sushi, use a short grain sticky white rice (usually labeled as "Sushi Rice"). I used 2 cups of uncooked rice here. I've found this at both my local grocery stores and the local Asian grocery stores. It's always cheaper at the Asian markets.
sushi tutorial Rinse the sushi rice that you are going to cook until the water you are rinsing it in remains clear, not cloudy. You will probably have to change the water several times. I find it's handy to put the rice into a large fine mesh strainer and then lower the strainer into a bowl of water, so I can remove the rice and change the water easily.
sushi tutorial If the water still looks cloudy, rinse again.
sushi tutorial After the rice has been rinsed thoroughly, you need to cook it. For every cup of uncooked rice, use 1 & 1/4 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil.
sushi tutorial After the water boils, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low/simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the water is all absorbed. Then, remove it from the heat and let it cool down a bit for about 10-15 minutes.
sushi tutorial While the rice is cooking, slice up the veggies.
sushi tutorial This is a julienne peeler. I picked it up at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $7 many years ago. I use it for making those tiny perfect cucumber (and sometimes, but not this time, carrot) strips. It was a great investment, and saves me a lot of time. You can also use a spiralizer device if it has a cutting feature for making straight vegetable noodles.
sushi tutorial Fluff the rice a bit in the pot so it won't pour out into the bowl all in one big clump. Remember, this is STICKY rice.
sushi tutorial Transfer the rice to a non-metallic bowl. Metal will interact negatively with the vinegar that the rice is seasoned with. Season the rice with 2 TB rice wine vinegar for every cup of uncooked rice that you started with in the pot.

Note: Many rice wine vinegars contain added sugar. For a healthier option, you can use use a blend of apple cider vinegar and brown rice syrup.
sushi tutorial Start with a whole sheet of nori. By the way, I picked up the mat cheaply at my local Publix (that's a grocery store chain for you non-Southerners) - it was less than $3. I've found the cheapest nori at Asian grocery stores. There are tons of them in and around Downtown Orlando.
sushi tutorial For making maki (small/medium seaweed rolls), fold the sheet in half. If we were making futomaki (the really fat rolls), we'd use the whole sheet.
sushi tutorial Here is our half-sheet of nori.
sushi tutorial Cover the sheet with a thin even layer of the rice. It's VERY sticky. Leave about a 1/2 - 3/4 inch edge. Keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip your hands into if you don't want the rice to stick to them.
sushi tutorial Place some of the veggies on top the rice. It helps to run a wet finger along the un-riced edge so it will stick and seal the roll closed.
sushi tutorial Make sure the edge of the seaweed is lined up with the edge of the mat. Hold the veggies with your fingertips and use your thumbs to start curling the mat up. Guide the veggies firmly toward the center of the roll as you bring the edge of the mat up and over to start forming the roll.
sushi tutorial As you start rolling the mat up and over the veggies, the tube will start to form.
sushi tutorial When the mat hits the edge as you are rolling, then just peel it back, fold it under a bit, and start rolling again so that the edge of the mat will come over the roll. Once the maki is rolled all the way, put your fingers over the roll and give it a good squeeze and tug to make sure it's nice and firm, and round out the shape.
sushi tutorial Your maki roll will look something like this if you've done it right.
sushi tutorial If you have veggie pieces sticking out from the ends, just give them a trim with a good SHARP knife to make the ends flat.
sushi tutorial All trimmed and ready to go.
sushi tutorial Use a VERY SHARP knife and slice it into about 6 pieces. A sharp knife is very important to making sure the roll has straight even edges and won't rip when cutting. It helps to dip the knife into some water before cutting the roll. Make sure there is no rice on the edge of the blade from cutting previous rolls.
sushi tutorial Voila! Put on a fancy plate and serve!

Ura Maki

We're not done yet!

sushi tutorial To make ura maki with the rice on the outside: Cover the ENTIRE sheet with rice. Don't leave any green showing around the edge. It's best to even go a little past the green edge.
sushi tutorial Then, pick it up and turn it over, so that the sheet is laying on the mat rice-side down. Don't worry, the rice won't fall off. It's VERY sticky, and the sheet will be pretty sturdy.
sushi tutorial Place the veggies on the edge of the seaweed. Since there won't be rice in the middle taking up space inside the roll, use more veggies on this one.
sushi tutorial Roll it and garnish with some sesame seeds. You will get something like this. Slice and serve the same way you would the regular maki. Once again, make sure the knife is CLEAN. Dip it in water so the rice won't stick to the knife.
sushi tutorial Close up of the finished product!
sushi tutorial Side view of our finished sushi.

A Few More Gratuitous Sushi Photos

sushi tutorial
sushi tutorial
sushi tutorial
Copyright 2014 Adrienne Frankenfield