Making homemade sushi – is it worth it?
By these almost Pinterest worthy photos you might think so, but believe me it didn’t come without a mess! Between the sticky rice (which is SUPER sticky… like to everything, even you), the fishy hands, and the 10+ paper towel sheets I used, I can safely say I can review this at-home date night.
Buying the necessities:
Luckily, I was blessed with all-inclusive sushi kit for Christmas. I know what you are thinking, “Erin, it took you almost 9 months to open the damn box?”
Well, yes. EJ (my other half) up until late, was quite the special snowflake. He didn’t like avocados (don’t get me started), he’s not a fan of rice, nor does he have any interest in eating things he can’t pronounce. However, I’m happy to report he’s turned over a new leaf, which mean it was finally time to open the box.
If you decide to make your own sushi, I’d recommended buying the fish the day you plan to eat it. This ensures it’s fresh. Always ask someone if the fish is sashimi grade, especially if you are not sure prior to buying. We went to this cute Japanese Market store downtown, where we could shop everything in one place.
Our fish of choice: ahi tuna + fresh crab.
Don’t forget the extra additives!
When buying your veggies, keep in mind that authenticity is key. We decided to pick out some Japanese cucumbers at the market, because they are thought to be crispy, crunchy, succulent, and tender all at once, compared to western cucumbers. We picked up two avocados from the store, along with some tempera flakes and teriyaki sauce to add just a little something extra.
A sushi date night wouldn’t be complete without edamame, miso soup, and green tea ice cream, so we grabbed all three and headed on our way.
Once we got home, it was go time.
Pro tip #1: Make sure you have plenty of counter space.
One of the hardest parts about making sushi is you need a lot of ingredients and you need a lot of room to prep. We delegated tasks to minimize prep time.
Pro tip # 2: Serran wrap your bamboo sushi mat.
I made the ultimate rookie mistake of putting the rice directly on to the bamboo, and as a result, spent a solid 5 minutes trying to pick each piece off. The plastic wrap will make your life 110% easier, and allow you to keep the sushi intact when you pull off the bamboo.
Pro tip #3: Less is more!
Rookie mistake number two on my part was letting my stomach make my roll. I was hungry – post gym workout hungry – and all I wanted to do was load that bad boy up full of fish. The best metaphor I can give you is treat your sushi like a burrito. Make sure you get a little bit of everything, but not too much of one thing where it doesn’t close.
I ended up having to take out a little bit of my ahi tuna to make sure there was room for the avocado. Once I got everything packed in, I rolled it up.
Pro tip #4: Cut your roll at an angle with the sharpest, thinnest knife you own.
I felt like I had redeemed my epic rice failure up until this point, and that maybe the roll would turn out picture perfect [pause for a massive “sucker!” laugh]. I tried cutting the roll straight on, like you’d cut an apple or a carrot – boy was that probably the worst way to do it. Everything exploded out the sides, and my roll was no longer round, but what looked like a pancaked oval. Needless to say, I gave that one to EJ and said, “Honey, I thought I’d make yours first cause I know how hungry you are” [wink, wink], when in actuality I wanted a second shot.
Round two was a much better attempt. And the final product:
Would I recommend making sushi at home? Yes, it is a fun experience to try for yourself. You learn to have a better appreciation for the art of sushi making, and the beauty that comes with the presentation of rolls at a resturant.
Would I do it again? Probably not. It didn’t taste quite like it does in the resturant, and I spent a lot of time in the store trying to figure out which sauces they use on the rolls (everything was in Japanese), only to leave empty handed. I also love the moment when the rolls arrive at your table and everyone digs in.
If you’ve never made sushi, you should give it a whirl. Buy a kit, open some sake or wine, and get ready for a sticky night of fun.