Experimenting with Homemade Sushi

When I was doing my regular weekly grocery shop on Tuesday, I had a flash of brilliance. Why not try to make sushi myself? It would be cheaper, possibly healthier, and I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about all of those styrofoam takeout containers that normally come with my sushi. What’s not to love?

Now, I have fallen victim to my own brilliant ideas before, so before I dove in headfirst I took to Twitter to ask my friends. Several of them confirmed that preparing homemade sushi was surprisingly easy. Buoyed by their reassurance, and all stocked-up with ingredients, on Thursday evening I Googled how to make sushi rice and got started. Here’s how it went:

Making Homemade Sushi: The Rice

1. I cooked the rice, being careful to rinse it thoroughly and following the instructions as well as I could. While the rice cooked, I also heated the rice vinegar, sugar and salt together. As often happens to me, I tried really hard not to let it boil as instructed, but it might have boiled a little. Or a lot. I was doing my best here, people.

Making Homemade Sushi: The Vegetables

2. While the rice cooled, my daughter and I chopped the veggies. This part was easy. I rocked it.

Making Homemade Sushi: The Wasabi

3. Still waiting for the rice to cool, I mixed up the wasabi. It smelled wasabi-like. I was feeling confident. I should not have, because like they say, pride cometh before the fall.

Making Homemade Sushi: Putting it Together

4. I didn’t take many pictures of spreading out the sushi rice. This is because I was too busy swearing. They call it sticky rice for a reason. However, some cool water on my hands did help, and I mostly managed to get the rice laid out. When I tasted a few errant grains, it didn’t exactly taste exactly like I thought it should. It may have been slightly undercooked. However, at that point, there wasn’t much I could do about it, so I rolled with it. (Get it? Rolled with it. Sushi. Sushi rolls. I slay me.)

Making Homemade Sushi: The Roll

5. Rolling was the part I was most worried about, but it turned out not to be that bad. I had a vague memory of one of my university roommates making sushi, and I recalled that she had dabbed water on the edge of the nori to hold it together, and that worked well. The finished roll was fine. However, you can’t eat a finished roll.

Making Homemade Sushi: The Slicing

6. Slicing the sushi was the hard part for me. It’s probably a sign I need a better knife, but I had a hard time cutting through the nori on the bottom, which made the rolls fall apart a little. Still, not bad for a first effort, I say.

Making Homemade Sushi: The Results

7. Finally, it was time for the verdict. My children, who adore sushi, were excited. But upon taking his first taste, my son promptly spat it out. The canned crab I used tasted different than the crab we normally get from a sushi restaurant. The rice, like I said, was slightly undercooked, and my seasoning sauce wasn’t exactly the same as the sushi restaurant’s seasoning. Jacob skipped the sushi and ate all the leftover nori, which is one of his favourite treats. My daughter bravely ate a few pieces, because she wanted dessert and she knew she couldn’t have it if she hadn’t had any healthy food. And then, when my husband got home late, he announced that he’d had sushi for lunch. All in all, it was a bust.

Would I make sushi again? The answer is definitely a no. It wasn’t super-hard, but it wasn’t all that easy, either. It requires planning and prep work, and while I’m sure that I could get better at it, I’m not sure it’s worth it. The truth is that sushi is what we eat when we don’t feel like cooking, and the people who make it professionally are much better at it than I am. I think I’ll leave it to them, and use my leftover wasabi and rice vinegar in other recipes.

Have you ever made your own sushi? How did it go? Do you have any tips that I should use if I forget how annoyed I was to be composting all my sushi and dare to try it again? I’d love to hear!

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  1. Definitely don’t give up on making sushi! Try a different recipe. I have made some from vegan recipes that include beets and exclude the canned crab/pollock/yucky stuff and it’s been fantastic. Also next time you could just buy sushi rice from a sushi place and use that. Super cheap, only a couple small styrofoam containers, and if you just drop in somewhere with your own container they will probably fill it for you. Even the cheapo place near us will do this, so for maybe $5 I get enough sushi rice to bring home and make my own sushi. Good luck! It can be fun with kids too, and be creative with ingredients – put matchstick pieces of last night’s pork or whatever in if you eat meat (I don’t but have seen friends do this) and you may be surprised!
    eva’s last post … Happy Birthday Emily!My Profile

  2. Or… move to Toronto (that recycles all that bad styrofoam) and feel less guilty about being catered for (occasionally) by sushi chefs! 😉

    • Actually, I just found out about a local place that recycles styrofoam yesterday. I’ll have to save the packages and take them in so I can indulge without the same level of guilt.

  3. We make it pretty often. I use my best bread knife to cut it and try not to put too much into one roll so they stay small. I also just dump the vinegar and sugar onto the rice and stir it. It can be a lot of work at first but I have gotten better with time!
    Brie’s last post … HackedMy Profile

    • I’m thinking that if I really wanted to do it I would have to make the rice ahead of time. But how much effort am I willing to expend in a city where there’s literally a sushi restaurant on every block? That’s the question.

  4. No. Sushi – bleah. You go ahead, though. 🙂
    allison’s last post … Mondays on the Margins: Inside by Alix OhlinMy Profile

  5. I’ve made sushi at home a few times, and it gets easier every time although it never gets as easy as calling the take-away! I always sharpen my knife before I start (hold at a 20deg angle against the unglazed bottom of a handmade mug or bowl and draw it away from you until it’s sharp) and wash it frequently to make slicing the rolls easier.
    Michelle @ The Parent Vortex’s last post … The Halloween Candy UpdateMy Profile

  6. You are so brave to make that at home! It’s one thing I’ve never tried, and have only eaten once, years ago. I do love horseradish though, maybe we’ll have to give it a go once this winter!
    Michelle’s last post … Autumn Harvests & PlantingsMy Profile

  7. I buy precooked rice from the sushi restaurant. 3$ for what we need.
    Heather’s last post … JabsMy Profile

  8. They have some secret recipe for the fake crab in sushi restaurants. We’ve bought a few types of krab – I love the stuff. I peel it off in layers and dip it in a soy/hot sauce combo. It’s so good! And low-cal. – and none taste just like the restaurant stuff. My husband is a great cook and has made pretty tasty crab rolls, but they still don’t taste just like the restaurant. I guess there’s a reason it takes decades to become a serious sushi chef in Japan!

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