The other night my best friend Jenn came over for dinner. “What should we make for dinner?” I asked her. I was thinking maybe something like Cottage Cheese Pizza or Smoked Salmon Potato Salad. Not Jenn though. Her response was, “Well, to be honest, what I really want is sushi.”
Now, normally I would just have said, “Alright let’s do it – hop in the car and we’ll go to Akitas (our favorite local sushi place)” but this time I was feeling up for a challenge, so I said, “We can make that.” And make it we did.
I had made sushi once or twice in college, but it has definitely been a handful of years since I attempted it. It was actually surprisingly easy. I can say hands down that the hardest part of making the sushi is collecting all the ingredients. We ended up needing to go to two different grocery stores. The seaweed (Nori) was the toughest thing to find, but in a well-stocked supermarket, most everything you need should be in the international aisle. Sushi is great because you just need a few staples, and then you can mix and match veggies and proteins to your heart’s content. Here’s what you need:
Ingredients & Supplies:
Sushi rice (found in the international aisle at the grocery store)–I used 1 whole box, which was like 3 cups of dry rice
2/3 cup of seasoned rice vinegar (this has some sugar in it so it makes the rice sticky, which is just what you need)
Nori (dried seaweed)–I used one package of 10 sheets, so I made 10 rolls
I would suggest buying a sushi mat because it makes rolling the sushi really easy. I got a mat and a paddle (for the rice I guess…) in a little sushi-making kit in the international aisle for 5 dollars.
Now, you also need some veggies, and some protein if you so desire. It’s great cause you can mix and match as much as you want.
I used 1 cucumber, 1 bunch of asparagus, 1 avocado, and 1 pound of raw salmon
1. Make your rice. Add the 3 cups dry rice to a pot and add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Let the rice simmer for like 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Taste it when you think it’s done and just make sure it’s not crunchy. Remove the rice from heat. Add in the 2/3 cup of seasoned rice vinegar and stir to get it evenly coated. Now set the rice aside.
2. Prepare your sushi innards. For vegetables, it’s very simple, just julienne them (which means cut them into thin, long slices). For cucumbers, peel them first and then slice thin. Avocados need to be peeled, seeded, and then sliced thin. For asparagus, steam it in a covered, microwave safe dish with a little water for about five minutes. (Don’t need to julienne the asparagus because nature did it for you! Isn’t nature awesome sometimes?) For the salmon, this is a little trickier because you need to get the skin off before you can julienne it. My best advice is to use a super sharp knife (like a fillet knife) and to grab the salmon skin by one end and try to carefully use the knife to separate the skin from the flesh. If this step sounds intimidating to you, just watch a tutorial on YouTube that shows you how to do it. After you’ve removed the skin, just slice the salmon into thin slices.
3. Get your roll on. Lay out the sushi rolling mat. Lay a slice of nori on top. Then, take a little rice (just about 1/4 of a cup), and spread it thinly on the nori. Make sure you leave some room at the end of the nori without rice so that it’s easier to roll it up and have it seal better. Next, choose your innards. My favorite combination from this dinner was avocado, asparagus, and salmon. Now, the first time you put innards in your roll, you may be tempted to pile it in there–resist that urge! Adding too much to the inside of the roll makes it really difficult to roll up. So start small and get a feel for how it rolls before you go crazy adding filings. So for example, say you chose to start out with just veggies. You would take a piece of asparagus and lay it at the end of the piece of nori (not the end that you left rice-less). Then lay a slice of cucumber next to it. Now, you’re ready to roll. Starting at the end with the fillings, use your fingers to start the roll. After you get it started with your fingers, then use the mat. Using the bamboo mat helps you get it really tight. It’s kind of difficult to explain, but you start rolling the mat. You roll it maybe 1/4 of the way and then stop and unroll the mat (because you don’t want to roll the mat into your sushi). Then you keep rolling the mat making sure you don’t roll the mat into your food. Here’s a YouTube video showing you how to roll sushi (you can skip to about a minute and half into the video). After that, you can slice your sushi roll into 6-8 pieces and dunk it in some low sodium soy sauce!
Using the amounts of the ingredients listed in this post, we made 10 rolls–which was enough to feed 4 sushi-loving people. If you are looking for a really great, more in-depth tutorial of making sushi, I suggest you check out this blog post by Peas & Crayons. It provides a lot more detail about the process, and also provides you some ideas for extra toppings, sauces, etc.
I cannot stress enough how easy this was. Also, it was amazingly delicious. I love going out for sushi, but it’s just so darn expensive! This is a very cost-effective way to make your own. We bought all the ingredients listed here (except for the avocado because I had one left over from making the Avocado Hummus and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches), and it was less than $30 dollars. Not bad to feed 4 people. And by feed, I mean stuff them with sushi–we ate a ton.
This was last Saturday night. There was also a pretty neat sunset happening, so I tried to take some pictures of that…
Have you ever made your own sushi? Was it easy? What kind did you make?