Cooking weekly: Sushi Making for Dummies

Enjoy an Iconic Asian Dish Without Throwing your Life Savings Into the Incinerator


Ben GarciaMcKinley, Journalist

Sushi is an iconic Japanese cuisine, and Japan is known worldwide for it. Learning to Make it professionally can take years to master, but learning the simple stuff is something you can pick up in an afternoon. First, to start, you need clean hands and a very sharp knife to cut the fish with. Wash your hands real good, and then slice up the fish.

 Speaking of, these are the ones I would recommend using. You can get it at your local grocery store, but the best fish comes from your local Japanese market. For a beginner, you should get a large bag of white rice, a block or two of tuna (the red-colored fish often labeled as ahi), some salmon, the stripey orange fish, you probably already know what I mean, some shrimp, they look like mini lobsters, some surf clam, it is white on one end, but slowly transitions to reddish-brown on the other. The last thing you may need in the fish department is a scallop, so you can chop it up and cover it in hot sauce, and put it in a roll. Then, you need some seaweed wrap, which looks like dark green paper. You also need some wasabi powder, and lastly, some cucumber and avocados. 

When you get home, clean your hands, sharpen your knife, cook the rice by boiling it in water, and get your hands nice and moist because we need to make some rice balls. With your hands a little wet, grab some rice and squish it into a log about 1 inch wide and 2.5 inches long. With that, make about 24 more, and set them out, keeping your hands moist to keep the rice from sticking. 

Then, rinse your hands and grab your knife, because we need to slice some fish. Orient the piece of fish landscape-style on your cutting board in front of you, slice off a bit about a quarter inch thick, and do that to the whole thing. Do the same for the salmon. The shrimp and surf clam is already the right size, so you don’t need to cut those, and the scallop needs to be diced into little pieces, for a spicy scallop roll. 

First, let’s start with nigiri, which is the classic sushi. Take a rice ball, and mix up some wasabi with wasabi powder and water. Smear a little bit of wasabi on the rice ball, and lay a piece of fish or shrimp or surf clam on it. If you want to get fancy, cut a strip of seaweed and wrap it around the middle of the piece. Secure it by getting one end wet, and sticking it to the other piece once you’re done wrapping. Repeat until you run out of rice balls, and make sure to save some tuna and salmon for rolls and sashimi.

 Speaking of which, let’s make a roll now. Start by taking a whole sheet of seaweed wrap and covering it about ⅚ of the way with a layer of rice about a quarter inch thick, leaving a 1-inch strip of uncovered seaweed. Then, lay some strips of fish on the side of it, longways, so that there is a line of fish slices about an inch from the end. Make sure that you are using the side that is completely covered in rice. Then, start rolling it up. To secure it, moisten the uncovered strip, and stick it to the roll. If you have one, use a sushi roll mat (several small half rods of wood held together with string) to compress it and make it look better.

 You can also put avocado and cucumber in the roll with the fish. To make a spicy scallop roll, you need to take your diced scallop from earlier and place it in a bowl. Then, add about a tablespoon of mayo and about a half-tablespoon of siracha hot sauce, a.k.a. Rooster sauce. Mix it up well, place it in a line on a roll, and do our standard roll procedure. To make something into a rainbow roll, lay tuna, salmon, avocado, and tuna on it in any order. You can serve any leftover fish as sashimi, which is just plain fish served on its own. With sushi, presentation is just as important as the food itself, so arrange the nigiri and rolls into a cool design, dim the lights, bring out the square plates, and play some ambient Japanese music during dinner. Enjoy :)!