How to Roll the Perfect Sushi
May 2018
How to Roll the Perfect Sushi
Tips for perfecting the delicious yet challenging Japanese staple

Most dishes that people crave can be recreated at home without much difficulty, but one meal that proves challenging for many home chefs to replicate is sushi. These delicious Japanese rolls — and all their variations — put even the most confident cooks to the test.

Despite what you may believe, eating sushi at home doesn’t necessarily require ordering takeout from a restaurant. If you learn the right techniques and hone your skills, you’ll find it surprisingly easy to master the culinary art of sushi rolling.

Mastering the rice

Expert website Make my Sushi claims to have the perfect recipe for making the special vinegared rice required for your rolls. It starts with sushi rice, called shari. After rinsing the rice for a couple of minutes under water, add it to a pot of water with about 20 percent more water than rice. Once the water reaches a boil, immediately reduce the heat to very low and cover the pot. After 6-8 minutes, the rice should have absorbed all the water and should be tender without being doughy.

Use a wooden spoon to remove the rice from the pot without scraping off any burnt rice or damaging the granules.

Then, mix ½ cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Let the mixture warm over medium heat in a different pot until combined. Pour the mixture on the rice using the above amounts per every 3 cups of cooked sushi rice. 

Perfecting the roll

Making a successful sushi roll heavily depends on the devices you utilize. The right tools can make preparation and rolling a cinch or a chore. Invest in a basic sushi-making kit that includes a bamboo rolling mat, a non-stick rice paddle and small bowls for separating fillings and serving condiments.

Once you’ve made your rice and it’s at room temperature, it’s time to construct a maki roll. According to the website Make Sushi, lay out the bamboo rolling mat and place a nori sheet in the center. Spread the rice evenly across the dried seaweed, leaving an uncovered gap on one end. Lift the end of the mat opposite the gap and roll the spread by turning and pinching it in the middle of the nori, then closing the roll with the remaining uncovered nori gap.

The roll should hold its shape and be ready for slicing.

Variations to customize your rolls

Once you’ve perfected your rice-cooking and wrap-rolling skills, your sushi-stuffing possibilities are endless.

The most popular and safe fillings for home chefs to include in their sushi rolls are crab, avocado, cucumber, salmon, asparagus, cream cheese, shrimp and tuna. However, you’re welcome to experiment with unusual ingredients to make your own preferred combinations.

Make sure you have sauces and seasonings to top the rolls with, such as tempura, spicy mayo, chili sauce and sesame seeds, with wasabi paste and soy sauce on the side. Serve pickled ginger, known as gari, as a palate cleanser to chew between rolls.

Once you’ve practiced and honed these sushi-making skills, you’ll be able to make restaurant-quality rolls at home for your friends and family.

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