Hi, my name is Melissa, and I’m addicted to sushi.
Sushi is so. freakin’. delicious. My favorites are avocado rolls and sake (salmon) sashimi or nigiri, served with a touch of wasabi. And practically anything with jalapeño or spicy mayo.
Mayonnaise mixed with sriracha… who thought that up? Somebody give them a medal.
Unfortunately, sushi can be expensive. Especially if you’re like me and you like to order the $15 specialty rolls. Even my favorite avocado roll can cost $5, and I’d probably be broke if I ate sushi as often as I wanted. Making sushi at home seems intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy and less expensive. Plus, you can customize the ingredients to your liking.
I love raw fish sushi, but haven’t used it at home. I’ll leave the raw stuff to the professionals. When making sushi at home I stick to veggie rolls, smoked salmon, and cooked shrimp.
I like to use the Nova Salmon Pieces from Trader Joe’s for sushi. They’re less expensive than other packaged smoked salmon, and the fact that they’re pieces doesn’t matter – you’re going to be cutting them anyway!
I prefer to make rice in my Instant Pot. I am awful at making rice on the stove – I almost always burn it to the bottom of the pan. I tried it in a stove-top pressure cooker once too, and it also burned. But my rice comes out perfectly in the Instant Pot every time. It’s a little pricey, but you can usually find great deals on an Instant Pot on Amazon Prime Day in July or Black Friday in November.
When making sushi rice, you want to use non-reactive bowls and utensils. Rice vinegar reacts with metal, and will leave your rice tasting metallic. Glass bowls and plastic or wood spoons work best.
The most intimidating part of sushi-making is the rolling. But once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite easy! For this recipe, we’re making rolls with the nori (seaweed) on the outside. If you haven’t made sushi before, I would suggest you try this method first.
If you prefer inside-out rolls (rice on the outside), you can use a similar process – just make sure to wrap your bamboo mat in plastic wrap first! Cut or break the nori in half (a full sheet will be too much), spread rice over one entire side of nori, and flip it over so the nori is on top and rice is on the bottom. Then add your fillings and roll!
Sushi can be made ahead for a party. Roll your sushi a few hours before the party and place on a tray. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Before serving, remove from the fridge, cut off the ends, and cut the remaining roll into eight pieces. To avoid the sushi sticking to your knife, rinse your knife after every two cuts or so. I find it easiest to cut my sushi next to the sink so I can just run a little tap water over my knife every so often.
Homemade Sushi Roll
Makes about 3 rolls
1C medium grain white rice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
Fillings (choose one type below):
For Philadelphia Roll:
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
2oz cream cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3oz smoked salmon, cut into strips
For Veggie Roll:
Vegetables/fillings of your choice, such as:
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (seeds intact for spicier, seeds removed for milder)
2oz cream cheese
herbs, such as cilantro or basil
fruit, such as mango or pineapple
nori sheets (about 3)
bamboo sushi rolling mat, wrapped in plastic wrap
medium or large glass bowl
Optional: Spicy Mayo
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp sriracha
1. Cook rice according to package (or, if using an Instant Pot, according to these directions). Once cooked, move rice to medium glass mixing bowl and let cool.
2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir with wooden or plastic spoon until salt and sugar have dissolved. Sprinkle mixture over cooled sushi rice, and quickly but gently mix rice to cover all of the rice with the vinegar mixture.
3. Lay your plastic-wrapped bamboo mat on the counter. Lay one sheet of nori, shiny side down on top of the bamboo mat. Using your fingers, spread a thin layer of sushi rice over the nori, leaving one inch of bare nori on the far end. Take care not to mash rice down too firmly; you want your rice to be fluffy.
Tip: Sushi rice is sticky! Have a small bowl with water next to you, and dip your fingers/hands in it every so often so the rice doesn’t stick to you.
4. Begin to add your fillings. Layer your fillings about 1 inch in from the bottom of the nori, using an even amount of ingredients from left to right, as such:
5. Roll your sushi: From the bottom end (the end closest to you), start rolling nori sheet over the filling tightly and firmly with bamboo mat until the bottom end reaches the nori sheet. Lift the bamboo mat and roll over, squeezing the roll as you go so that it is rolled tightly.
6. Optional: Prepare spicy mayo. Mix mayonnaise and sriracha together.
7. Cut your roll using a sharp knife with a flat blade (not serrated). First, wet your knife with water, letting excess water drip off. If you prefer, you can first cut off the ends of the roll for a better presentation. Then, using a sawing motion, cut the roll into eight pieces. Serve with wasabi paste, soy sauce, and pickled ginger on the side. Optional: drizzle with spicy mayo.
Make ahead: Sushi rolls can be made up to 5 hours ahead. Cover uncut rolls with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Cut just before serving.
Double-recipe: Recipe can be doubled, and will make about 6 or 7 rolls.