One of my favorite meals to make with friends and family is make your own sushi. Everyone enjoys choosing their own fillings, being creative, and making their own custom rolls! Kids especially appreciate being able to build their own sushi roll because they know exactly what it is in it. So make your next gathering into a make your own sushi dinner party!
Step 1. Make your sushi rice.
I prefer white sushi rice, as it is lighter and goes with all fillings, although once in a while I make pressure-cooked brown rice for more hearty vegetarian rolls. Here is my fool-proof recipe for making sushi rice without sugar! Make sure the rice is not still hot when making a roll, so it doesn’t “melt” the nori sheet or making the fillings warm.
Step 2. Prepare your fillings.
I like to fold a nori sheet in half (with stripes going vertically) and cut filling ingredients to the length of the half sheet width. I usually slice ingredients fairly thinly so that I can put multiple fillings into each roll. Almost anything can go into a sushi roll, but you might try:
- cucumber (deseeded)
- spring mix (no need to slice)
- carrots (raw, blanched, or sauteed)
- sweet potato (sautéed)
- edible flowers
- red bell pepper (raw or roasted and peeled)
- snap peas
- fresh herbs- mint, cilantro, basil, shiso
- mushrooms- shiitake, oyster, portobello (sautéed and seasoned)
- tofu or tempeh (pan-fried and seasoned with shoyu or tamari)
- pickles (red or green sauerkraut, red radish pickles, daikon pickles, etc.)
- umeboshi paste
- condiments- shiso powder, gomashio, ao nori flakes
- toasted sesame seeds- tan and/or black
- Dijon or whole grain mustard
Step 3. Prepare an awesome dipping sauce.
There are all kinds of sauces that go well with sushi, such as shoyu-ginger, wasabi mayo, and various spicy sauces. Try this simple and delicious recipe my husband created called insanely delicious miso dipping sauce or my sweet and savory almond butter dipping sauce.
Step 4. Make a 5-minute miso soup.
Use my basic vegetable miso soup recipe to make a delicious start to the meal. The soup can be warmed up at the last minute and garnished after serving in individual bowls.
Step 5. Prepare your sushi rolling station and roll your sushi!
If making hand rolls, you can all sit around a table and make one at a time from your seat. Watch my Facebook video for tips on making regular nori rolls and inside out rolls.
Each person will need:
- A sushi mat and a little space to roll
- A bowl of water to dip hands in and a hand towel
- A plate to set their finished rolls
Have accessible for everyone to share:
- A platter or two of fillings, pickles, condiments, and sauces
- A stack of nori sheets (I usually use half sheets that I half myself) and/or soy wrappers
- A cutting board and sharp knife for slicing sushi (link to Japanese veg knife)
- Platters for displaying sliced sushi
For making a basic nori roll, lay the sheet of nori (i usually use a half sheet but you can also use a whole sheet) on a dry bamboo mat with lines on nori sheet going vertically. Wet hands in bowl of water and shake off excess. Take a handful of sushi rice (about 1/2-3/4 cup) and very gently spread out over the lower 2/3 of the nori sheet, all the way out to the edges. Do not put pressure on rice, as it can tear the nori sheet. The sushi rice will easily stick to the nori sheet without any pressing. Take several fillings and place horizontally over the rice on the lower 1/4 of the sheet (almost to the bottom). Start rolling the nori from the bottom, enclosing the fillings into the first turn. Keep rolling, using the bamboo mat for support, until you reach the part of the nori without rice. Dip your index finger into the water bowl and wet the edge of the nori to help seal the roll. Keep the roll intact until ready to serve. Slice just before serving.
Step 6. Set a beautiful table.
Place sushi platters on table and garnish with fresh herbs or edible flowers. Serve up miso soup into individual bowls and garnish with thinly sliced scallions or some fresh herbs. Have an assortment of drinks off to the side to sample such as green tea, iced green tea, warm or cold sake, or a crisp, dry white wine. Give everyone a plate, dipping sauce bowl, and chopsticks.
Enjoy your meal… Itadakimasu! いただきます！