Making sushi in your own home can be a daunting process. There are many steps in making sushi that require attention to detail, cutlery skills, planning, and timing appropriately. This series of articles is designed to teach anyone how to create a sushi meal for friends and family.
Planning is Critical to Success
The most important lesson I have learned making sushi is how critical planning is to the overall success. The entire process can take three to four hours to complete a sushi roll platter for six individuals. It is important to understand the timeline and order of operations. Even planning what kind of rolls you want to make and how much rice to cook is important. Before I get into too many details, there is a critical step at the beginning of the process. The first step to making great sushi is purchasing the correct ingredients.
What to Buy and Where to Find It
The basic ingredients for making sushi are typically available at your local grocery store. These items consist of seasoned rice vinegar, soy sauce, short-grain rice, soy sauce, and seaweed sheets. You can make your own seasoned rice vinegar at home, but I find it easier to purchase in a bottle. It is very important you purchase the correct kind of rice. Short-grain rice is ideal, but medium-grain will work as well. I always buy the same brand to avoid this issue. For seaweed sheets, I generally use one sheet per roll. If you want to make hand rolls, you will cut a sheet into smaller pieces. Two packs of ten sheets is usually enough. I have seen these ingredients for sale at grocery stores such as Harris Teeter, Kroger, and Bi-Lo. If you are fortunate enough to have a local oriental market, I recommend going there to purchase the necessary ingredients. From my experience, oriental markets offer more selection and lower prices than large grocery stores. Here is a list of the basic ingredients and my favorite brands:
Seasoned Rice Vinegar - Kikkoman.
Soy Sauce - Kikkoman's reduced salt version.
Short-grain Rice - Kokuho Rose's 5 lb. bag of California rice.
Wasabi Paste - Any brand that has wasabi paste pre-made in a tube.
Seaweed Sheets - Any brand with normal sized sheets.
Pickled Ginger: Harder to find at large supermarkets.
Siracha Mayo (optional): Lee Kum Kee. You can make your own mixture too.
Beyond buying the basic ingredients, you need to consider what kind of fillings to put inside your sushi rolls. The staple fillings I always consider buying are imitation crab, cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, cucumbers, cream cheese, and avocados. This will allow you to create California Rolls (imitation crab, cucumber, avocado), Philadelphia Rolls (smoked salmon and cream cheese), and other combinations with cooked seafood. If you are planning to purchase sashimi grade tuna or salmon, I highly recommend visiting a fresh seafood market. Sashimi grade fish is also expensive, so budget accordingly. Typically, I will purchase a combined total of 1.0 to 1.5 pounds of sashimi grade tuna and salmon from a seafood market for six individuals.