The Do’s And Don’t’s Of Making Sushi At Home

Every sushi chef spends years of their life trying to master the art and science of making sushi. Whether you’re learning for yourself or you’re planning to start a business, we’ll reveal to you the do’s and don’ts of making sushi at home. Get ready to recreate and enjoy Japan’s most extraordinary culinary delicacy, even in the convenience of your home.

The Do's And Don’t's Of Making Sushi At Home

12 Do’s Of Making Sushi At Home

If perfection is what you want, make sure to follow these do’s of making sushi at home. These are the essential things to remember to perfect sushi, making like a professional Itamae, or a highly skilled sushi chef.

1.Invest With High-quality Knives

Using the right knife is essential when preparing the fish and even cutting the sushi itself. Most sushi chefs prefer using a good quality stainless steel knife because the sushi ingredients can even make good knives rust. When shopping for a knife, look for an “unagi” knife for slicing the fish. Moreover, it would be best if you can buy a “santoku” for other slicing purposes like for cutting vegetables and filleting the fish.

2.Always Roll Your Sushi With A Bamboo Mat

You’ll need a bamboo mat to roll your dried seaweed (nori), rice and ingredients together if you intend on making sushi rolls. If you can, stop purchasing your mat from the grocery or supermarket as these mats usually from generic wood and low-quality materials. It will only make the rolling of sushi a lot more difficult because you don’t get the leverage you need. 

You’d like to have a bamboo one that’s about an inch thick. You should be able to find one good-quality bamboo mat in a Japanese supermarket or online. When buying online, make sure to read its reviews.

3.Short-Grain Rice Is The Best Option

If you’re cooking a sushi roll or something more complicated, such as nigiri, a raw fish arranged on top of pressed rice; the essential ingredient is rice. Use Japanese short-grain rice because it has the requisite stickiness and texture for keeping your sushi together. Short-grain rice contains a lot of surface starch, which, when cooked, will make your rice thick and gummy. 

Make sure you rinse it before cooking in a bowl of water. Clean it very quickly, but be careful that the grains do not get broken. As you do this, you’ll want to strain the water several times. Mistaking sushi rice for plain white rice would be easy, but it has a bit of strategy and seasoning behind it. If you can’t find short-grain Japanese grain, there are other alternatives that you can use.

4.Start Learning Simple Sushi

When learning how to make sushi at home, you don’t have to start with the most complicated ones. Begin the learning process with the most basic kind of sushi, and slowly get used to the process. You can always move to the next level once you perfect, making those simple sushi. If you’re unsure of the fish to use, you can even start using canned tuna. It is a simple ingredient that can help you make regular sushi rolls and spicy tuna rolls. Best of all, there won’t be much waste.

5.Feel Free To Experiment

When learning, don’t be afraid to experiment with the ingredients and try some new things like mixing the traditional methods of making sushi to the modern ones. When making sushi rolls, there are a lot of vegetables that you can use. The sushi will still look appetizing as long as you can cut it into long and skinny slices. You can start with asparagus, cucumber, pickles, radish, burdock root, avocado, sesame seeds, and lettuce for your sushi fillings.

6.Be Careful When Making Sushi At Home

From preparing your fish meat, vegetables, and other ingredients to slicing each component, always put your 100% focus. It may sound easy, but people who are making sushi at home take advantage of its comfort only to end up being careless and hurting themselves. Take every method in making sushi at home seriously. Always be aware when your cutting, and more importantly, maintain the cleanliness and freshness of your ingredients.

7.Beware Of Health Bombs

Fish is right for your heart, but there are a few other ingredients that can sink into an otherwise balanced sushi meal. These include rolls like the Philadelphia roll with mayonnaise-based sauces or cream cheese, as well as deep-fried food like tempura rolls. All these choices come with high saturate fat content. 

Besides, don’t let the low-sodium soy sauce trick you. It may be low in sodium relative to the regular variety, but a single tablespoon still contains about 1,150 milligrams of salt. It is around 75% of the recommended daily intake for adults by the American Heart Association. Your blood sugar can also be elevated by white rice which has refined carbohydrates. You can use brown rice instead. On the other hand, sashimi is the way to go if you have Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.

8.Learn What You Want To Know

Don’t hesitate to be adventurous in learning how to make sushi at home. You can start with some of the most common sushi presentations, which include the following.

  • Sushi rolls Or Maki-zushi (rolled sushi)
  • Futomaki-zushi (thick-rolled sushi with several fillings)
  • Hosomaki-zushi (thin-rolled sushi using a single filling)
  • Hand rolls or Temaki (cone sushi with ingredients loosely wrapped in nori)
  • Chirashi-zushi (sliced raw fish served over a bed of rice, often with vegetables)
  • Wrapped sushi Ingredients (wrapped in something other than nori like tofu pouches)
  • Molded sushi Sushi (made using molds to shape the sushi)

9.Assemble Your Cooking Utensils Ahead Of Time

If you have the best cooking utensils, making sushi is much simpler. For starters, here are some of the tools that you will need.

  • Rice cooker – A cooker makes rice reliably and allows you to cook the rice without watching or stirring continuously, providing time to prepare the other ingredients.
  • Sushi-grade knives – A subtle, sharp knife is essential to have for cutting your fish, vegetables, and sushi rolls. Popular sushi knives include a chef’s knife with a heavy blade and a curved blade. Second, a knife for delicate and easy peeling of vegetables. Third, a fish knife with a very sharp, long, slender blade for fish slicing and sushi roll cutting.
  • Rice rolling mat and plastic wrap – To avoid frequent replacements, it stops rice from sticking to it and prevents it from being regularly washed.
  • Big bowl – For sushi rice mixing and cutting, preferably wood.
  • Rice paddle or wooden spoon – For sushi rice “cutting”.
  • Small bowls and plates – For lining up and final presentation of ingredients
  • Cutting board

10.It Would Help If You Lineup The Ingredients

For sushi, the best ingredients have the best results, as with any cooking. Most scrutiny should be extended to your rice and fish for great-tasting sushi. Sushi-grade fish are reasonably costly, but for protection and taste, use the correct grade. Get acquainted with your nearest fish suppliers.

  • Fish, Seafood, or your preferred meat filling.
  • Sushi rice
  • Nori seaweed wrap.
  • Wasabi Japanese horseradish commonly comes in either powder or paste form. Fresh wasabi root is hard to find.
  • Mirin sweet rice wine.
  • Japanese rice wine essential to the taste of sushi rice. It also has antibacterial properties and serves as a preservative.
  • Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise.
  • Pickled ginger to cleanse the palate, usually performed in the corner of a sushi tray.
  • Soy sauce dark soy sauce is used both as an ingredient and as a dipping sauce.
  • Crabmeat real or imitation.
  • Toasted sesame seeds 
  • Kombu a kelp seaweed used to flavor sushi rice during cooking.
  • Vegetable fillings like carrots, cucumber, avocado, shitake mushrooms, daikon radishes.

11.Proper Preparation And Assembling Of Sushi

Even if you have premium ingredients and high-quality sushi-making tools, these things are worthless without proper preparation and assembling of the sushi.

The Do's And Don’t's Of Making Sushi At Home

Sushi Rice Preparation

You must always wash your sushi rice with cold water before cooking. This way, you can remove any bran compounds or powder. The water will turn cloudy when you stir up the rice. Rinse until there is clear water. Your rice will be too sticky and smelly if you fail to do this. Then, after you cook the sushi rice, prepare to mix it with sushi rice vinegar. It gives the sushi rice a distinctive Japanese sushi taste.

Place the sugar and rice vinegar in a small saucepan. Mix until the sugar dissolves, over low heat. Let cool the mixture. Move it to a large wooden bowl while your rice is still sweet. Take the mixture of vinegar and spray it gently over the rice in small quantities, making horizontal and then vertical cutting movements over the rice. It gives the vinegar mixture a chance to coat each rice grain. Don’t spill the liquid on the rice, or it’s going to clump into large rice balls that you don’t like.

To fan the rice as it cools, use a small hand-held fan or piece of newspaper if you like. The rice should be sticky and shiny and slightly cooled, not hot or cold when all the vinegar mixtures are cut into the rice (if your rice is too hot when your sushi is assembled, it can become rubbery on the nori. It’s ready to make sushi after your rice has cooled off a bit. It’s better to use your sushi rice immediately.

12.Learn The Proper Way Of Wrapping And Rolling

In a cup, put 8 ounces of water and 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinegar so that when assembling your sushi, you can dip your hands. It will keep the rice from sticking to your side, one of the rookie sushi makers’ most significant problems. Then, to keep the rice from sticking to it, cover your bamboo mat with plastic wrap.

Place a half sheet of glossy nori side down on your bamboo mat covered with saran. It does not matter which side of your nori faces down if you are making an inside out roll since it will be inside the roll. Next, to avoid sticking, dip your hands in the vinegar-water mixture.

Grab a small handful of rice from the sushi. Using a thin layer of rice to cover the bottom three-quarters of the nori sheet, leaving the top quarter of the nori sheet empty. You may create a groove along the length of the rice until finished. On the bottom third of the nori mat, lay a thin layer of vegetables, crab meat, or fish in the groove on top of the rice. Japanese practice calls for an extraordinary number of ingredients, typically three or five items.

On top of the other ingredients, add a small swipe of wasabi if you want. Start rolling your sushi roll by putting the tips of each hand’s four fingers on top of the sushi ingredients to secure them in place while holding both thumbs closest to you on the back of the bamboo rolling pad. Move the mat forward until the mat is entirely around the roll of sushi and until the nori’s top and bottom edges meet.

Take out the mat with your four fingers and roll it. Continue to roll the sushi mat around the ingredients in a circle. Stop being too hard-pressed. The mat can be used to form a nice long, circular roll of your sushi, but be gentle, or you’re going to have a heavy rice log. On a tray, set your first sushi roll. Create as many extra rolls as you prefer. Before cutting, let them set for a few minutes. It will help stick and gel in the form of the rice and ingredients.

Place one sushi roll on your cutting board to cut your roll of sushi. Gently cut single sushi roll in half using a very sharp knife, cutting down and through. Place the two halves above and below each other and split each section into three parts, leaving six bite-sized sushi morsels. Place it on a plate with the sushi. Finally, repeat until all of your sushi rolls are cut into bite-sized bits.

8 Don’ts Of Making Sushi At Home

If there are do’s, there are also don’ts of making sushi at home. To achieve maximum perfection for every roll that you make, here are some things that you should avoid.

1.Don’t Use A Plastic Cutting Board

When cooking fish, a wooden cutting board is best, since it will not slip under your knife, Kojima explains. However, you might invest in an Asahi rubber cutting board, which is a sushi-grade cutting board made of a mixture of wood and rubber, if you want to step things up a notch. It’s gentle on your knife, too.

2.Don’t Let The Rice Get Too Cold

Cook your rice for at least 30 minutes in a rice cooker until the water runs clear. Make your sushi vinegar while you are waiting, so you can slap it on the sushi rice as soon as it comes out. Before making your sushi, then let the rice cool just slightly. Don’t let it cool down the whole way, or it’s too hard to deal with. It will also stick to your palms, so keep your hands moist by using a bowl of water with a bit of vinegar in it.

3.Don’t Leave Your Fish Out A Room Temperature

In contrast to rice, make sure that you don’t leave your fish out a room temperature. Handling raw fish isn’t as intimidating as it might seem. There are only two things to remember when it comes to food safety. Keep your fish refrigerated until you’re ready to work with it, and avoid preparing other meats, such as chicken and pork, on the same cutting board.

4.Don’t Use Firm Vegetables

Steer clear of difficult-to-manipulate carrots and other rough vegetables. Otherwise, you would have to bake or boil them first before adding in your sushi.

5.Don’t Use Dull Knives

Never use a dull knife. With a blade that isn’t sharp, you are more likely to kill yourself and butcher your roll. Until slicing, always dampen your knife. It will cause the rice to stick with a dry knife, and the roll will fall apart.

6.Don’t Get Overwhelmed When Buying Ingredients

Stop buying or using too many ingredients in one sushi. The more elements, the tougher it is to roll. On the sauces, go light. The excess sauce would make it too sticky for the roll.

7.Don’t Just Focus On The Fish

You should be aware of so many essential ingredients: rice, vinegar, seaweed, soy sauce, wasabi, ginger, and so on. Any good sushi restaurant can buy an expensive fish, but the key is to learn how to make excellent sushi rice to build a perfect connection between the ingredients of the rice and sushi.

8.Don’t Douse The Sushi In Soy Sauce

Sauce overpowers the fish’s taste. Make sure that you dip the fish rather than soak it. The error of adding too much wasabi to their soy sauce is also sometimes made by people, and it becomes a paste. Chef Kobayashi suggests putting a little wasabi straight on the sushi to prevent this, then dipping it in the soy sauce.


If you want to be good at making sushi at home, practice is key to success. There would be times when you feel that you don’t get the best taste of authentic Japanese sushi, but don’t give up just yet. Remember, even the best itamae had to experience downfalls and failures to be excellent in making sushi. Keep on learning until you get the best taste and form of your sushi.

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