How to Make Sushi

How to Make Sushi

Do you love sushi? We are lucky to have a plethora of excellent sushi restaurants to choose from. But have you ever thought about making your own? What might seem intimidating is actually not that difficult, and you’ll probably find it to be a lot of fun. The key is to make sure beforehand that you have the necessary equipment and ingredients.

Sushi can be enjoyed in many different ways. Sushi prepared as rice rolls wrapped in nori (a thin slice of dried seaweed) is called Maki sushi. Some kinds of Maki sushi are Futo Maki (“fat rolls”, usually with vegetable and egg centres), Tekka Maki (with raw salmon or tuna centres), and Kappa Maki (made with vegetable centres, e.g. cucumber sticks).

Sushi that is a fish slice on a palm full of rice is known as Nigiri Sushi. If the raw fish is served alone, it is called Sashimi.

Today we’ll be making a style of Maki Sushi.

What You’ll Need:


Sushi Rice

Rice for sushi has to be glutinous (sticky) and should be short or medium grain. Hands down we recommend our Kokuho Rose® rice. For a more healthy option, try Kokuho® Rose Brown. For instructions on how to cook sushi rice please click here.


You will need to use rice vinegar, which is easy to find at most grocery stores. If you absolutely must, you can substitute white vinegar for rice vinegar, but we do not recommend it.


Nori are thin, dried seaweed sheets. Seaweed is cheap, so buy a lot, as you’ll make mistakes at first.



Soy Sauce

This is a staple already in most people’s fridges. Soy sauce is important for dipping your sushi. We recommend the brand Amano, which is available in three kinds: Soy Sauce, Tamari Soy Sauce, and Wheat Free Tamari. Tamari is the first pressing when making soy sauce — like asking for extra virgin olive oil — resulting in a superior taste. The Wheat Free Tamari is delicious and is suitable for gluton-free diets.


Known as “Japanese horseradish”, wasabi’s hotness is akin to hot mustard. Wasabi is an important condiment to complete your sushi. Sushi chefs usually put it in between the fish and the rice, and it can also be added to soy sauce for dipping. An imitation wasabi is available at most grocery stores sold in tubes of ready-to-use paste, made from horseradish and mustard powder and dyed green. Real wasabi is more expensive and harder to find.


Pickled ginger, or gari, is used to clean the pallet between bites of sushi. It can be found in many grocery stores.


Toppings and Fillings

Fish, for example salmon and tuna, is the main ingredient in most sushi. For culinary, sanitary, and aesthetic reasons, fish eaten raw must be fresher and of higher quality than fish that is cooked. The FDA recommends that fish be frozen before being consumed, as this will kill all parasites (but not all harmful microorganisms). Make sure when you buy your fish you ask for sushi or sashimi grade fish. Pre-cut fish is easiest. To start with, you can even make a simple tuna salad.

s are also popular in sushi, notably avocado, cucumbers, carrots, and asparagus. Leaf lettuce in a roll gives a nice ruffled appearance as it peeks out of the end pieces. Fruits can also be used in sushi. Other ingredients for sushi include omelette, fish eggs, sesame seeds, cooked shrimp, imitation crab, cream cheese, etc. Feel free to get creative with local ingredients that you have near at hand!


The best way to keep rice from sticking to your hands is to use tezu, a mix of one-part water and one-part rice vinegar. Keep a small bowl of this near your sushi rolling area. Apply it to your hands sparingly, and you’ll be able to handle rice without it sticking. Also soak some into a rag, and use this rag to clean your knife after every few slices when cutting rolled sushi.


Necessary Equipment

  • Tub or large dish to cool rice
  • Spatula to turn and spread rice while cooling
  • Fan to cool rice
  • Bowls for ingredients
  • Cutting board
  • Sushi rolling mat
  • Knives

Optional Equipment

  • Sushi knives
  • Geta (wooden sushi tray)
  • Sushi serving dishes
  • Condiment dishes
  • Japanese omelet pan or square cast iron skillet


How to Make a Standard Roll

  1. Start by cutting a sheet of nori in half. Purists use a knife, but you can fold and tear the nori, or even use scissors.
  2. Place your half-sheet of nori on the rolling mat.
  3. Moisten your hands with tezu and spread rice onto the nori using your hands. Leave about 1/2 an inch of the nori bare. Beginners may find it’s easier to leave a bit more than that. Spread some wasabi along your rice, if desired.
  4. Add your ingredients.
  5. Holding the mat with both hands, carefully roll the bottom end over the filling, taking care to squeeze and compress evenly across the entire roll. If there’s a bit too much rice at this point, you can use the back end of your knife to scrape a bit of it away.
  6. Continue rolling the nori around the rice and ingredients until the bare nori seals itself. If it doesn’t seal on its own, use a slight bit of tezu to seal the edge off.
  7. If your knife is sharp enough, cut the roll in half now. If your knife isn’t the greatest, put the roll in the refrigerator for a few minutes. This allows the roll to harden slightly to make it easier to cut.
  8. Cut the roll into six pieces by cutting through both halves at once.

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