A sharp knife is essential. Sushi chefs use special knives that are sharpened only on one side. You don’t need to go out and buy a special knife, however; any knife will work, although the cut may not be as clean and precise.
Other necessary items are things most people already have in their kitchens: a cutting board, a bowl for the rice, a pot or rice cooker, and a wooden spoon. You’ll also need a few basic ingredients, which vary depending on the sushi you’re making. We’ll stick with the ingredients for a simple roll here.
Nori seaweed is a toasted, flat sheet of seaweed sold in packets at most Asian food stores, or at the sushi section of your local grocery store.
Sushi rice is also sold commonly at Asian food stores and sushi sections of your local grocery store. If you can’t find it, use a more common short-grain rice. Short-grain rices tend to absorb lots of water, making them moist and sticky when they’re cooked. They tend to stick together and hold their shape well, making them better for sushi than other types of rice which are more likely to fall apart instead of maintaining the shape of the roll.
Wasabi and sliced pickled ginger are essential condiments for sushi. Wasabi is sold either as a paste or a powder, which can be made into a paste by adding water. The ginger is sold at sushi markets or the sushi section of your local grocery store. You can probably pick some up at a local sushi restaurant, if you’re having trouble finding it.
Fish or vegetables, depending on the type of sushi you’re making. You should know that the fish you buy at your local supermarket is usually not sushi-grade. Sushi-grade fish has been flash-frozen to kill all parasites. Ask your grocer if they carry sushi-grade fish, and ask your local sushi restaurant where they get theirs if you can’t find it at the grocery store.
Other more common ingredients you’ll need include sugar, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.
Make the rice, using a ratio of one cup water to one cup of rice. When the rice is done, put it in the bowl. Pour the rice vinegar over the sushi, mixing evenly—you should use one tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of rice you’ve cooked—and add a little sugar. Let the rice cool a bit before going on to the next step.
When the rice has cooled, spread the bamboo mat flat on your cutting board so that its slats are horizontal. Lay a sheet of toasted Nori seaweed flat on the bamboo mat. Next, spread a layer of rice perhaps a quarter-inch thick over the surface of the seaweed.
Take a few pieces of thinly sliced fish, vegetables, or a combination—whatever your taste—and lay them in a horizontal line in the middle of the rice-covered square in front of you. When done, you should have a rice-covered square of sushi with a horizontal line of fish or vegetables in the middle of the square.
Once this is done, take hold of the bottom of the mat nearest you and begin to roll the mat up and away from you, pressing firmly down. When finished, you should have a tightly-rolled tube.
Remove the tube from the mat, and slice it into about six pieces with your sharp knife. Arrange on a plate, garnish with wasabi and ginger, pour a small cup of soy sauce for dipping, and enjoy!
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