• Rock Rousseau

HOW TO Make Perfect Sushi

Sushi is fun and less expensive to make at home, especially when you can put all your favorite ingredients into your very own custom roll. Homemade Sushi is so much cheaper than going to a Sushi bar or restaurant.

Keep in mind that making sushi is not easy, but will become easier with practice. It is always good to keep a few things in mind during your first attempts. These HOW TO tips will greatly guide you with making epic sushi at home. Even if your first few attempts don’t turn out the way you envisioned, don’t get discouraged. Even if messy and not perfect, they will still be delicious. I would recommend making a few times before planning to make sushi for a dinner party or family gathering.

  • 4 Nori seaweed sheets

  • 1 cup uncooked sushi rice-( I recommend Nishiki Sushi Rice)

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/4 cup preferred seasoned Rice Vinegar

  • 1/2 lb strips of imitation crab meat or desired raw fish of choice (must be Sushi Grade- see list of common protein fillings below for alternatives)

  • 4 oz cream cheese, sliced into strips (see list of common protein fillings below for alternatives)

  • 1 Hass avocado, sliced (see list of common veggie fillings below for alternatives)


  • Toasted sesame seeds and/or chia seeds

  • Sriracha chili sauce

Serve with:

  • Wasabi

  • Pickled ginger


Click the icon below to view ingredient alternatives that satisfy the following dietary needs:

Medium mixing bowl, mixing spoon, measuring spoons, measuring cups, Makisu bamboo mat (or you can use a thick hand towel as well), plastic wrap, Long and sharp knife, Cutting board, bowl of water Prep: 60 minutes prep Ready: 60 minutes Serves: 4 rolls

Purchasing Ingredients You can find many of these ingredients at your local Asian food market or if your grocery store has an international food aisle. Some markets even arrange them next to the store-made sushi for convenient pick up. Rice: Use polished (white) short-grain Japanese rice (japonica) or medium-grain California rice. These types of rice are often labeled as sushi rice or Calrose rice. I recommend Nishiki Sushi Rice. Brown rice and Quinoa works excellent too! Seawood: More commonly known as Nori. Use a thick Nori instead of a thin sheet which would be more flimsy. Make sure you get seaweed specific for sushi-making, which it should state on the package. Fish: Buy sushi grade fish or other seafood if you intend to eat anything raw. Only use raw fish if the seller or packaging specifically states it meant to be consumed raw, and make sure it’s kept cool right until processing and consumption. Fish fillets should be frozen for at least one day prior to making sushi in order to kill any parasites. You don’t need a lot of fish to make a couple rolls; approximately 75 grams of fish per roll. For the best flavor and texture in oily, purchase strong-smelling fresh fish, such as salmon, tuna, crab meat, shrimp, and mackerel. Otherwise you risk illness from parasites and bacterial contamination. And handle your food carefully, being particularly careful to keep your raw ingredients well chilled when not in use. Avoid cross contamination! Never let your raw ingredients touch anything other than your utensils and the food you intend to eat it with. Veggies. Purchase ripe vegetables, including Hass avocados When purchasing ingredients, plan to purchase enough ingredients to make the preferred amount of rolls. The average person consumes about 2 rolls per sitting.

Common fruit and veggie fillings:

  • cucumber

  • avocado

  • asparagus

  • jalapeño

  • green onion

  • carrots

  • yuca

  • sprouts

  • lettuce

  • bell peppers

  • red onion

  • pineapple

  • strawberry

  • mango

  • kiwi

  • blackberry

  • raspberry

  • pineapple

  • apple

  • pear

Common protein fillings:

  • shrimp tempura

  • crabmeat

  • sashimi grade tuna

  • chicken

  • sashimi grade salmon

  • tofu

  • cream cheese

Step 1: Boil the Rice

1. Pour water into a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. For every cup of rice, use 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then mix 1 teaspoon salt into the water.

2. Pour rice into the boiling water. Stir just enough to separate the rice Use a wooden spoon to separate any clumps.

TIP: Don’t over-stir: That can cause the rice to become sticky.

3. Cover the pot and simmer. Be sure the lid fits tightly on the pot. Turn down the heat to its lowest setting. Let rice simmer for about 20 minutes.

TIP: Cooking the rice is the only time-consuming part of the entire process. While it cooks, save time by prepping your fish, veggies, and sauces!

4. Remove from heat and let the rice sit, covered for 10 minutes to ensure that the rice is fully cooked. Rice should be tender and all water should be absorbed.

TIP: Take a taste test to ensure that your rice is perfectly fluffy.

Step 2: Season the Rice 1. In a measuring cup, add 1/4 cup of vinegar:

  • Seasoned rice vinegar: Pour in measuring cup. No additional salt or sugar is required.

  • Unseasoned white vinegar: Add 1/4 cup of vinegar, two teaspoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool in measuring cup.

TIP: Add seasoning once rice has cooled to room temperature. Use 1/4 cup of vinegar per cup of rice.

2. Stir vinegar into the pot of cooked rice. The rice will seem very wet, but continue to fold in the seasoning as the rice will dry as it cools.

TIP: Don’t overwork the rice when seasoning; Sushi rice needs air to stay fluffy. Use a cutting and folding motion as to avoid crushing the rice and making a paste. You want to keep the grains as intact as possible.

3. Fluff rice with a fork, and taste. Add more salt and sugar if preferred.

4. Add seasoned rice to a bowl and cover with a damp hand towel. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so rice is cool enough to handle.

TIP: Rice can be made hours before making sushi as long as the damp towel covers the top of the rice to maintain its moisture level. Once the rice is cooled, it will be ready to roll!

Step 3: Prepare the Fillings 1. While the rice is cooking, prepare the fillings that you wish to use.

  • Fish: Rub fish fillet with fine sea salt and refrigerate for 30 minutes; rinse the fish well and pat dry. Slice across the grain into strips about 4 inches long and 1/4 inch thick.

  • Veggies: Remove seeds (if any) and slice vertically into matchstick shapes and set aside.

  • Cream cheese: Slice cheese into strips about 4 inches long and 1/4 inch thick.

Avocados: Cut a ripe Hass avocado in half. Carefully strike the pit with the blade of a heavy chef's knife, then twist the knife to remove the pit. Peel the halves, then cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Cutting an Avocado This is probably one of the more meticulous vegetable preparations that sushi chefs perform:

The easiest method for slicing the avocado:

1. Use sharp knife to cut down center of avocado lengthwise. You will most likely bump into the pit towards the center.

2. Using a twisting motion, cut around the pit and through the rest of the avocado.

3. Use a spoon to scoop out the and remove the pit. Carefully remove the pit and discard it.

4. Using your hands, gently peel off the skin. Peeling it by hand gives each avocado an ideal texture and prevents them from becoming too bruised on the edges.

5. Repeat previous step for both halves. Place each half, flat side facing you, onto your cutting board.

6. Slice avocado meat to create thin 4mm cuts lengthwise across the entire avocado.

Step 4: Form the Maki and add fillings

1. Lay out your bamboo mat, and top with a sheet of plastic wrap.

TIP: To avoid messy clean-up and scrubbing, wrap your bamboo mat in plastic wrap. You can also use a thick hand towel instead of a bamboo mat. It acts just like a bamboo mat and also wipes up your mess when you’re done. Because it’s so flexible it allows you to shape and roll the rice effortlessly into a perfect roll.

TIP: Keep in mind, sticky rice is very sticky! Keep a bowl of water and a kitchen towel close to you when making sushi. 2. Lay a sheet of Nori on top of the plastic wrap, smooth shiny-side down. TIP: Before handling the sticky rice, wet your hands in the bowl of water; this will keep the rice from sticking to your fingers and help to mold your rice ball.

3. Roll a softball-sized ball of sticky rice that will fit inside one hand; approximately ½ cup. That will yield the correct amount of rice per roll.

4. Place the rice ball in the center of the Nori sheet. Flatten the ball gently with a rice paddle; Do not smash the rice. Continue to spread the rice all over the Nori, re-wetting your hands and paddle as necessary.

5. Use the paddle to spread rice evenly; creating a layer on top of the seaweed sheet. Leave a 1/4-inch border at the top edge.

6. Line up your toppings in the center, end to end, very close to each other.

  • For rice on the inside: line your veggies +/or seafood on top of the rice.

  • For rice on the outside: flip the sheet of Nori so the rice touches the plastic wrap and then add your vegetables to the seaweed-only side.

Step 5: Roll the Maki

1. Dampen the 1/4 inch border of the Nori with a little bit of water

2. Begin to roll mat up slowly and firmly from the bottom towards the top border. Roll the bamboo mat up and away from you, curling the Nori and rice around the filling. Use your fingers to hold the filling in place as you roll.

3. Continue to tightly roll the mat to bind the ingredients into the center of the rice.

4. Repeat the process until you’ve rolled the entire sheet of rice, Nori, and veggies into a spiral. Give it one last squeeze and secure the roll with the 1/4-inch border flap of Nori.

5. Once the roll is sealed, gently squeeze, pressing gently on the top and sides, to push out any air pockets in the roll.

6. Press on each end of the roll to make a neat surface.

TIP: Depending on how dry/moist the Nori is, you may need to keep the roll bound in bamboo mat for a few minutes to help maintain the seal.

Step 6: Slice Rolls into Sushi

1. Lift the roll off the bamboo mat and transfer it to a cutting board.

2. Use a sharp and long knife for slicing the roll. Gently slice the roll into 1 inch slices.

TIP: Dip the tip of a long, sharp knife into water; let the water run down the length of the blade. A sharp wet blade will cut through the Nori seamlessly.

Step 7: Add Toppings and Sauce to Sushi

1. If preferred, add toppings to your Sushi. There are a variety of toppings that you can sprinkle or lay on top of your Sushi, including:

  • Chia seeds

  • sesame seeds

  • thin slices of fish

  • shrimp or crab salad

  • sliced almonds

  • crushed pecans

  • crushed French onions

  • spicy baked seafood

  • sliced mango

  • chopped green onion

  • Avocado

  • Pickled Ginger

  • Wasabi

2. If preferred, add sauce to your Sushi. There are a variety of sauces that you can add or lay on top of your Sushi. The most common is Soy Sauce.

Coming Soon- recipes for variety of different sauces in our 10 Epic Sushi Recipes.

3. Serve with chop sticks and enjoy!

TIP: Do not keep sushi overnight. The longer you keep the raw fish, you risk bacteria growth and illness. Also, refrigerated rice gets hard and dry, and doesn’t reheat well. Sushi is something that should be eaten freshly made.