We were fortunate enough to be selected for this month’s Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event, in which our proposal was to host a sushi-making party at our house. We invited some friends over who have never made sushi before to give them an experience they would never forget. We wanted to focus on the step-by-step process of rolling sushi so that it can give our readers a guide to follow, which is easy enough to be done at home and a complete beginner can master simple sushi making with great success. It doesn’t matter if first attempts aren’t perfect, making sushi is fun, and even less artistic efforts will taste delicious! So, without further ado, Irasshai, irasshaimase… Welcome!
We bought all of our sushi at Mitsuwa Japanese Supermarket in Torrance. We then sliced them at home. A basic rule to follow when determining the thickness of cut is the softer the fish, the thicker the slice; the firmer the fish, the thinner the slice. We did rectangular cuts, as well as angled cuts - which is cutting the fish on a bias.
The first thing we showed our friends was how to make the thick sushi rolls, also known as Futo-Maki-Zushi. To start, place one sheet of nori on the bamboo sushi mat. Spread some rice over the nori sheet (you can spread it entirely over the nori, or half if you want less rice). Then lay the ingredients across the center.
Holding the line of ingredients with your fingers, push up and turn over the end of the bamboo mat closest to you with your thumbs, so the edge of the nori meets the rice on the other side of the filling. Lift up the top of the mat and continue to roll, so the strip of nori on the top side is now on the bottom. Squeeze gently to firm and shape the roll.
As a rule, the roll is cut in half first, then each half into four pieces. Remember to wet the knife and do not saw through the roll.
Next, we had our friend Cecille make the inside-out rolls, also known as Ura-Maki-Zushi. This is the roll where the rice is on the outside. First, she placed a sheet of nori on the mat and spread rice over the entire sheet, from edge to edge. Then, she turned the rice-covered nori sheet upside down onto the sushi mat.
The rice will now be facing down and the nori sheet up. Spread your desired ingredients across the middle of the nori sheet (here, she added spicy scallops). Like the other technique, roll the mat up over the ingredients and roll almost one complete turn, stopping to press and firm and then complete the roll.
It's important to squeeze firmly to tighten the roll so it doesn't fall apart. At this point, you can either sprinkle sesame seeds on top, or coat roe evenly over the rice. Cecille decided to layer the roll with shrimp and avocado (nice choice!).
To get the shrimp and avocado to stick to the rice, place the bamboo mat over it and squeeze firmly again. Now it's ready to be cut up! Again, start in the middle and gently cut into 8 pieces.
The last thing I showed them was the hand rolled sushi, known as Te-Maki-Zushi. This is probably the easiest form to make because you don't need a bamboo mat. You can do this all in the palm of your hands. For pictures sake, I've shown it laying down. Simply take a half piece of nori and top it with rice, sushi, and any other ingredients you desire. Place them near the edge of the sheet.
Fold the nearest corner over the filling and bring it up to meet the top edge of the nori. Continue to roll around until it forms a cone, making sure there's not a big hole in the bottom. Think cone-shaped, not burrito-shaped.
Now we'll show you some pictures of the sushi we all made last night. The first picture is a spicy scallop roll combined with lettuce and crab and topped with baked scallops and drizzled with spicy mayo sauce. To prepare the baked scallops, simply place a small portion of raw scallops with some of the sauce on a piece of foil and broil it in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes. Place it on top of the roll and squeeze more spicy mayo sauce across the roll. The next picture is a Katsuo Tataki roll with black and white sesame seeds on the outside.
We had our deep fryer on for the tempura ingredients, so we decided to also dip an entire roll in tempura batter and deep fry it - creating a crunchy exterior. Our friend Rich made this one with eel and shrimp tempura inside.
Tim got really creative and wanted to replicate the Darth Vadar roll he had at Yamishiro Restaurant. He attempted to completely cover the outside with black sesame seeds. And... more creative rainbow-style rolls from our friends. Yup, they got all fancy!
Forming Nigiri-Zushi is super easy - just wet your hands and take about 1 1/2 tbsp of rice and gently squeeze into a slightly oval shape. Use the tip of your index finger to place a dab of wasabi in the center of the rice and then place the pre-sliced sushi on top. Firm gently on top and you will have your nigiri-zushi. We thought it would be fun to also form the nigiri into the shape of a ball, shown in picture 2. Just use a plastic wrap to mold the rice and fish into a round shape.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to making sushi at home. With the right ingredients, you can make an array of beautiful sushi cut rolls and hand rolls in the comfort of your own kitchen, without the huge restaurant bill. Play around with soy wraps, jalapenos, eel sauce, mango, fried onions and garlic, bonito flakes, roe, etc etc. You get the idea!
We hope that we were able to create a little tutorial for you to practice making sushi at home. Why not throw a party of your own and invite your friends over to experience the fun? We are not sushi experts, but we are getting better and more confident about what sushi is and we are definitely enjoying making our own at home! Thanks again to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this amazing event and here’s to many more wonderful meals of sushi!