- Sushi rice (all of it prepared directly beforehand)
- Fish/vegetables (this may consist of either raw/smoked salmon, tuna, etc or perhaps cucumber or avocado)
- Sheets of nori (red algae seaweed paper).
- You must also have a makisu or sushi roller (bamboo sticks strung together with string)
- Wasabi paste, powders should say how to make them into paste.
- Plastic wrap, if making inside-out rolls with rice on outside
- Sesame seeds, if making inside-out rolls with rice on outside (optional)
- Take the roller and place it on top of a cutting board. If making inside out rolls with rice on the outside, make sure your makisu (roller) is completely wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap. this task is simple and effective in keeping rice from sticking to where it shouldn't and especially sanitation. Finally, put a sheet of nori shiny side down on top of the makisu. lengthwise or longwise depends both on the roll and amount of ingredients are being rolled.
- Dampen your hands before applying the rice. This will prevent clumping and the rice sticking to your hands, but may also make the rice less sticky, so don't go overboard. Grab the rice with one hand and put a fistful on the center of the nori. When spreading this, leave a 2 centimeter gap on the side parallel to the bamboo. As a general rule, if you can't see the nori through the rice, you have too much. A 6mm layer has been recommended.
- If making an inside out roll, flip over the nori and rice quickly onto the makisu. So as the rice is now on the surface of the mat and the nori is facing you.
- Next place the primary ingredients in a row in the middle. Then, slowly use the roller to push the nori against itself (rolling it away from you), using your thumbs and heels of hands for stability. Be careful when you reach the row of ingredients, making sure that it goes underneath the roll rather than just being pushed along.
- When you reach the end of the nori sheet, use the roller to compact the roll a little, making sure the rice is making it all stick together. Trying to even out a bumpy roll is simple, and it's really just a matter of hand pressure. Don't squeeze too hard on the sides and don't flatten the roll from the top. If you want to fix the ends of the roll, just poke about 1/2 an inch out from one side of mat and while gently holding it in place, press it with the heel of your hand a little.
- Next remove the maki from the sushi roller, and put it on the cutting board below.
- Before you cut, wet your knife every time to reduce sticking (don't do it sparingly this time). This can be done using a sink, a large bowl, or a large plastic cup. A knife with dimples supposedly works well for cutting sushi. Slice the rolls from the inside out, into sections of 5, 6, or 8 (depending on roll). Cutting from the inside first will ensure that all ingredients that shift shift towards the outside two pieces. For the rolls of 6 or 8, cut from the center, then put one roll behind the other, and cut each half in half. If you were making an inside-out roll, you may wish to put on a line of sesame seeds primarily for garnish.
- Serve with soy sauce and something shallow for dipping. You may also want chopsticks, pickled ginger, and wasabi if culture allows. Sashimi, Miso soup, other sushi, or just general Japanese food is also often served alongside it. Green Tea is considered the drink of choice to have with sushi.
Things to remember about guest habits
Don't be surprised if someone asks for wasabi with their soy sauce. Although this might be rare or offensive in your culture, it's very common in North American and European cultures. Also don't be surprised if someone eats it without chopsticks. This is also very common, this time in east Asia. Sushi was originally designed to be eaten that way, until someone discovered how yummy soy sauce made it taste, reducing its portability. It's a clean way to eat maki (not for other types of sushi), you don't need to eat them with a fork or chopsticks. This phenomenon is similar to some cultures eating pizza with their hands, others with a fork and knife. It can be seen as unnecessary and idiotic, two good ways to eat food, or the sanitary and polite way.
Common sushi rolls
- Tuna Roll: Tuna, wrapped in rice and seaweed. This same combination is used to make plain rolls with any other type of fish.
- Cucumber Roll: Sliced cucumber. Vegan.
- Egg Roll: Sliced Egg Yellow. Vegetarian.