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May 10, 2007 03:17 PM

Do you make sushi at home?

We tried it once, many years ago. Bought a bamboo mat, bought some nori, did the vinegared rice. I don't recall what we filled the rolls with. I do remember it was very blah and we haven't tried to repeat the experiment since. I think we found the nori too chewy/leathery compared to going out.

Well, I'm thinking of trying again, as I live just outside a city and the closest good sushi is about a 35 minute drive under best conditions.

So a couple of question:
1. what have you done well?
2. what has turned out poorly despite best intentions?
3. recommendations for brand of rice and nori
4. I've seen tuna sold as sushi grade. I don't believe I've ever seen any other fish labeled similarly. So how do you know the fish you're buying is good enough to eat raw? No, I don't have a relationship with my fish monger. In fact, I don't have a fishmonger. Needs to be plan B.

Thanks all!

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  1. Yes several years ago jfood gave it a whirl. Bought a mat and the black box of rice. Wen to an asian grocer and bought lots o sheets of nori and some vinegar. Went to the grocer, bought some sushi grade tuna and some fake crab, avocado, cucs, wasabi and pickled ginger.

    -Washed the rice a dozen times and cooked. Added the vinegar to taste. Jfood like the vinegar to have a nice tang (just a preference).
    -Cut the tuna, the avocado, the tuna and fake crab.
    -First thing is you HAVE to wrap the mat with saran wrap.
    -second you will need waaaaay more rice tha you think
    - take your time and keep hands wet.
    - just follow what you've seen in the sushi resto, your first few will need to be re-done, the reason for the extra nori
    sharp knife to cut

    End result was very good. made sooooo much it was plenty for the four jfoods.

    it was a bit of work and will probably repeat this summer for a pool party but jfood is a little nervous about the fish.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jfood

      I agree - you always need more rice than you think. I would add to that: less fish! I was so shocked at how little I actually end up using. In fact, I usually make loads of salmon handrolls for my husband and I and only use 1/4 lb. of salmon between us!

      When I was researching how to make sushi (when I first started), there were some online tutorials that really helped me out.

      Here is how to make sushi rice:

      Here is one on how to make hand rolls:

      A few other tips I've learned:
      -Fresh crab is really the best and since you only need a very small amount, it's affordable (I get around $3 worth and it's more than enough).
      -If you are lucky enough to live near an Asian market, buy some shiso leaf and put it in your rolls and handrolls. It is heavenly.
      -Put a paper-thin quarter-slice of lemon on your salmon nigiri or in your rolls. It sets the entire thing off.
      -Practice on your trusted friends and family before showing off your skills at a party. It really does take practice!

    2. I have a made it a handful of times, but I gave up because it is so readily available near me for such a reasonable price - if I were in your situation I would make it again though.
      I always found that the rice is the key. If you screw up the rice, you may as well chuck it and start again because the sushi will not taste good, there is a surprisingly thin line between too mushy and a little crunchy. So I would say that has been my biggest problem. I always bought tuna from a japanese food market that was catering to that specific purpose to be safe so I can't vouch for other methods. One thing I found really worked out well for me was spicy tuna rolls, it is easy to make the spicy tuna sauce with a little japanese mayo (do use japanese) some fish roe and some spicy sesame oil. Yum!


      1. I agree that the nori often turns out too chewy. Still, it's fun and less expensive.

        I've used sushi grade tuna and never been ill. Can't say that about sushi from restaurants.

        Cooked ideas include eel, shrimp with cucumber, and crab (real crab!) with avocado. The last was a little squishy and messy, but tasted good. Thinly cut cooked carrot also works.

        Maybe Sam F. will post. He was helpful when I asked a similar question. Or you could do a search.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Glencora

          If you toast the nori briefly right before you make your rolls, you can avoid the soggy/chewy nori problem. At my favorite sushi bar, they have a toaster oven behind the counter that they use for just that purpose. The chef just hold the nori into the hot oven for a minute.

          1. re: ccbweb

            For how long and at what temp.? I'd like to try this but I'm afraid it would become too crispy. I burn pine nuts way too often.

            1. re: Glencora

              Ok, this is just thinking sort of out loud....but, given how long he puts unagi into the oven for and how warm it is when it comes out, I think they must have the oven set at around 300 or maybe 325 degrees. At might even be lower, maybe 275 or so. He opens the door and holds one half of the nori into the oven for about 10 or 15 seconds, then turns it around and does the same with the other half. So, 20 or 30 seconds total at a fairly low heat. Definitely not a stick it in the oven and leave it situation.

              1. re: ccbweb

                sorry, one more thing. You can do this over your stovetop element provided it's electric of course. This is how my great grandmother always did it. She just waved it back and forth over the element until it crisped up.

                1. re: alex8alot

                  Great idea. I would think that any non-flame and relatively gentle heat source would work. Granted, I don't know what besides a toaster oven or electric burner would do that, offhand, but I'm sure it would.

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    Medium hot skillet on a gas burner - Five to ten seconds each side.

                    1. re: ccbweb

                      I run it over a gas flame and it works fine. Paying a little extra for premium nori helps too.

                      Also, I have never used plastic wrap on the mat and have never had a problem.

          2. hi, I make alot of rolls at home.
            California rolls alawys turn out pretty well for me. I like to add some tamago (omelette) to mine.... really, it isn't a california roll.

            Spicy tuna rolls are pretty easy and I like them better at home because you can adjust the seasoning to your liking.

            I haven't found that the brand of rice matters so long as it is short grain rice. I usually just buy the japanese brands.

            I don't wrap my mat in saran wrap. I find it more of a hindrance than anything else. A friend slips her into an accordingly sized ziploc bag with good results. BUt I find that with practice, you don't end up getting any rice on the mat at all and it is much easier.

            good luck!

            1 Reply
            1. re: alex8alot

              and yes, hopefully sam f will respond because really he has the best advice on these types of things!

            2. I used to teach a one-night "basic sushi" course, years ago - it was tough to get my target audience (those who wanted a first-time foothold on the topic) and discourage those who would be disappointed not to find the best-of-the-best attempted. So the home cooking question needs to be approached with a view toward whether one wants to try for "sushi-master quality at home" or whether one wants something workmanlike, edible, and his own.

              With that said:

              1. what have you done well?

              Chirashi (how do you do a bad chirashi?), basic maki, temaki (hand-rolls), oshizushi (pressed / ball-shaped)

              2. what has turned out poorly despite best intentions?

              I find good-looking maki very difficult, and I use a mold (like a lot of Japanese do at home)

              3. recommendations for brand of rice and nori

              I'll pass on this - I'm lucky to live where there are several gigantic Asian markets with so many brands you can't count them all, and for "just get it on the table" quality I have no preference

              4. I've seen tuna sold as sushi grade. I don't believe I've ever seen any other fish labeled similarly. So how do you know the fish you're buying is good enough to eat raw?

              I'm not particular about "sushi grade", but I do like to freeze the fish as many/most restaurants do to address the parasite problem. Also there's cooked seafood (shrimp, scallop, etc) And then there's non-fish sushi (inari pockets, omelette, surimi, vegetables, fish eggs, pickled radish, avocado, etc.) and also ingredients far from the "classic" (but still well within what you'll find in Tokyo as well as in America) like lox, cream cheese, crawfish, jalapeno slices, cooked or even canned tuna, and on and on.