Making your own sushi at home is actually not as hard as one would think, and it can make for a very fun evening with friends or family…both young and old. My picky 3-year-old wouldn’t even think about touching a piece of sushi until the first time she saw us making it at home (with brown rice of course). We had allowed our older daughter to be up on a chair at the counter with her own cutting board, bamboo mat, chopsticks, and fun little soy sauce dish (she already knew she liked vegetable sushi). Of course her little sister wanted to do the same, but we told her she couldn’t “make” any sushi unless she ate it. And what do you know…once our child (who barely even eats veggies in the first place) gave it a fair chance she actually liked it. I didn’t know if I should have been more shocked that she ate the sushi or the vegetables! She does love to “dip” her food so I am guessing the soy sauce aspect had something to do with it.
I do want to make sure I share that (especially if this is your first time making sushi) it can take some time to get the hang of it, and it also requires a lot of chopping. It can also make a little bit of a mess particularly if kids are involved. So we definitely like to reserve this event for a special occasion or weekend activity, but think it is worth the effort for such a fun and unique experience. Awhile ago I mentioned that I thought a child’s “first impression” of a food was important and making sushi at home turned out to be the perfect way to introduce it to my picky 3-year-old. She will now eat it anywhere!
- 3 cups short-grain brown rice (Some packages of white rice specifically say “sushi rice” on them, but you don’t see this label as often on brown rice. I’ve found that any short-grain variety is adequate.)
- 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- ½ pound raw shrimp (or cooked real crab…please do not buy anything labeled as an imitation!)
- ½ pound raw sushi-grade tuna or salmon
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 1 or 2 avocados (depending on how much you like them)
- 1 package of Nori (seaweed sheets)
- Necessary supplies: bamboo rolling mats, saran wrap, cutting boards, a very sharp knife, soy sauce (and little dishes for dipping), chopsticks (which can be modified with a rubber band and piece of paper for the little ones), and a flat wooden or bamboo spoon
- Optional supplies: toasted sesame seeds, wasabi, pickled ginger, toothpicks or skewers, and a bowl of water (to dip your fingers and spoon in to keep the rice from sticking)
- Cook the brown rice according to the package directions.
- Before cooking the shrimp stick a skewer or toothpick through each one from end-to-end so they will be “straight” after they are done cooking and will therefore be easy to cut into strips. Boil the skewered shrimp in the water for 3 – 5 minutes or until they are firm.
- Chop the cooked shrimp, raw fish, peeled carrots, and peeled cucumber into little julienned strips (pictured above). Similarly, slice the avocado(s), but save them for last since they could start to turn brown.
- Once the rice is done stir in the rice wine vinegar. Some sushi recipes also call for sugar to be added to the rice, but we think it tastes just fine without it. Also, it is best to use a wooden or bamboo spoon when handling the rice.
- Cut the sheets of nori in half long ways.
- Cover the bamboo mats with plastic wrap.
Now it is time to get started! (see pictures below)
- We think it is best for each person to either have their own cutting board and bamboo mat or at least only have to share their items with one other person.
- Lay 1 of the half sheets of nori along the bottom of the plastic covered bamboo mat.
- Completely cover the top of nori with a thin, uniform layer of rice.
- If you prefer the nori to be on the outside of your sushi roll then leave it the way it is with the rice on top. If you like the rice to be on the outside (like me) then flip it over like I did in the picture.
- Make a nice and neat row along the very bottom edge of the nori with whatever ingredients you’d like on the inside.
- Using the bamboo mat as an aide roll it over as tightly as you can and keep rolling until it is closed up completely.
Then squeeze down on the roll with a little force to really secure it together.
- If the rice is on the outside (like the picture) we think it is best to lay a little piece of saran wrap over the top of the roll before cutting it. Using a sharp knife cut through the plastic and the roll until you have the desired number of pieces of sushi.
- We believe in eating as we go when we have to work this hard for our food so enjoy!