10 Steps To Prepare The Perfect Sushi At Home: Tips, Tricks & Toppings

Are you looking for steps to make your sushi perfect? Then, read the article to learn tips and tricks to make it more delicious and enjoyable.



Sushi is mouth-watering Asian cuisine. It is traditionally made using medium-grain white rice. But, you can prepare it with short-grain rice or brown rice too. It is mostly prepared with seafood such as eel, yellowtail, salmon, tuna, squid, or imitation crab meat. There are also many vegetarian types of sushi. It is usually served with wasabi, pickled ginger (gari), and soy sauce. Pickled daikon (takuan) or daikon radish are popular garnishes for this tempting dish.

Preparing sushi is an art form. It is not easy to make perfectly on your first try. It will get better after some time. Let’s check out the steps below that can help you to make the perfect sushi at home.

1. Line Up the Staples

The staples you are going to need for preparing your mouth-watering sushi are:

  • sushi rice
  • plastic wrap
  • a bamboo mat
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • nori (seaweed sheets)
  • sriracha chili sauce
  • toasted sesame seeds or chia seeds
  • wasabi and pickled ginger (optional)

You can get these staples in your grocery store’s international food aisle or at your local Asian food market. Once you have picked up your pantry staples, it’s time to get the fresh produce.

2. Pick the Veggies for Homemade Sushi Rolls

For your sushi rolls, you might like to choose from the popular veggies below:

  • cucumber
  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • jalapeño
  • carrots
  • green onion
  • yuca
  • lettuce
  • sprouts
  • bell peppers
  • radish
  • red onion
  • sweet potato 

Fruit-wise, pineapple, apple, mango, and pear are some good options.

For protein ingredients, you can choose any seafood that suits your taste such as sashimi-grade tuna, salmon, or shrimp tempura.

3. Make the Rice

Take 1 and a half cups of rice in a medium-sized pot with 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat and cover. Simmer the rice for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let the rice stand, covered. The rice will be fully cooked after 10 minutes. Find a good sushi rice brand to get the best sushi rice.

Making rice is the most time-consuming part of the whole preparation. If you don’t want to waste any time, prepare the veggies, fish, and sauces as the rice is cooking.

4. Season the Rice

Use rice vinegar or white vinegar to season your rice. For the rice measurements above, 1/3 cup of seasoned rice vinegar will do. You can also take 1/3 cup of vinegar seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of sugar. Pour over the rice and fluff with a fork. Taste to adjust sugar or salt as desired. Remove it from heat and add to a bowl. Remember to cover the bowl with a paper towel.

5. Julienne Veggies and Other Ingredients

Thinly julienne or slice the carrots, cucumbers, avocado, crab meat, and other vegetables while the rice cooks and cools. You can do this by hand or with a slicer. Slice the ingredients vertically into matchsticks and as thinly you can. Add them to small bowls while arranging for easy access in a circle or line. When assembling your sushi, you will be taking small bits from those bowls.

6. Prepare the Fish

You can use any fish you like in your sushi rolls. When cutting sushi fish, remember the five basic ways to cut them right:

  1. Rectangular Cut: You can apply a rectangular cut. It is the most popular and you can use it on all fish. To cut, hold the fish on the bias. Then start using the heel of the knife.
  2. Angle Cut: Using this cut is best if you are preparing nigiri.
  3. Paper-thin Cut: This cut is suitable if you are working with a firm, white fish.
  4. Cube Cut: For soft thick fish, apply a cube cut.
  5. Thread Cut: If you are using thin white fish filets and squid, a thread cut is the best option.

7. Wrap and Roll

Take a bowl and place 8 ounces of water with 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar in it. When assembling your sushi, dip your hands in it to make sure the rice is not sticking to your hands. Cover the bamboo mat with plastic wrap. It will help prevent the rice from sticking to it.

Inside-out or Outside-in

Some people like rolls wrapped with nori on the inside and rice on the outside and some like outside-in rolls with rice on the inside. But, it is easier to prepare rolls with seaweed on the outside. So, let’s start preparing the easier one.

On the seaweed sheet, spread a thin layer of rice using a spoon. You can add an extra layer if you want to make large rolls. Leave a little extra space at the end.

Line It Up

In the center, place your toppings very close to each other. If you have an abundance of ingredients or large slices, you can pile some on top of one another.

  • For Rice on the Inside: Take veggies and seafood, and place them on top of the rice.
  • For Rice on the Outside: Flip the sheet of nori and let the rice touch the plastic wrap. Place your vegetables and seafood on the seaweed-only side.

Roll, Squeeze and Repeat

Though it is hard to explain, you will find it easy to do. The first roll will help bind all ingredients into the center. Roll near 1/4 of the bamboo mat. Squeeze it gently to make it stick, and then unfold the mat. Keep repeating this process until you have rolled the sheet of seaweed, rice, and veggies into a spiral. Seal the deal by giving one last squeeze.

8. Slice to Serve

Take a freshly sharpened chef’s knife and slice the rolls into bite-sized discs. You can add toppings if you want. Sesame seeds, chia seeds, thin slices of fish, sliced almonds, shrimp or crab salad, crushed pecans, sliced mango, spicy baked seafood, chopped green onion, avocado, and seaweed salad are some good options to add as your topping. When adding toppings, make sure to wrap the roll tightly in plastic wrap before slicing. This will help to keep everything pretty and neat.

9. Prepare Your Favorite Sushi Sauce

The most popular sauces that you might prefer with your homemade sushi are:

  1. Spicy Mayo: Take 1 tbsp store-bought or homemade mayo and add 1/2 tbsp sriracha chili sauce to it. Adjust to your ideal heat level. Make it as mild or unreasonably spicy as you want. You can substitute the sauce with plain Greek yogurt or vegan mayo if needed.
  2. Soy Sauce: Pick low-sodium when possible. Gluten-free versions are available too.
  3. Eel Sauce: Take 1/4 cup Japanese white wine (mirin), 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium), and 2 tablespoons sugar and heat them in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly to thicken it. It will take about 10 minutes.
  4. Sriracha Chili Sauce: Sriracha chili sauce can be a good choice to add flavor to your dish. You can add it to your favorite soy sauce. Serve it on the side or you may like serving it straight up on your sushi.
  5. Ponzu Sauce: Citrusy soy sauce with added lemon or lime is known as ponzu. You can purchase it easily. If you want to make it at home, imitate it by adding fresh zest or juice to the soy sauce you prefer.

Homemade sushi sauces make your dish more flavorful. Prepare your favorite sauce and enjoy your meal!

10. Things to Consider to Make Sushi Like a Pro

Though it is not easy, determine what amount of sushi will be sufficient. It will depend on the richness of the filling, how big the sushi rolls are, and how hungry you are at that moment. Generally, 100 – 150 g (3.5 – 5 oz) of sushi rice is sufficient for each person. For four people, you might need to get approx. 400 – 600 g (14 – 21 oz) of rice prepared.

To recreate a restaurant-like experience at home, serving some side dishes with sushi can be a great idea. Add drinks like green tea to keep it traditional. You might like having Japanese sencha as it tastes fantastic in combination with sushi.

Add wasabi on the platter. Spread a thin layer of wasabi on the nori sheet or rice to experience a spicy kick to each roll. You might like eating a small piece of sushi ginger after having each roll. It helps cleanse the palate and you will be ready for the next one.

Serving sushi immediately is the best idea. But if you want, you can store it in your fridge for 1-2 days. It will not taste the same if you store it for longer as the fish won’t be fresh any longer and the vegetables will also lose their crispness. As you are dealing with raw fish and veggies, make sure to eat it as soon as possible to enjoy the perfect taste of your homemade sushi.

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