The idea of making your own homemade Sushi might have always been something you've yearned to do, especially if you've seen it being done by professionals and been lucky enough to taste it. On the other hand, maybe you're just looking for ideas of something to cook your friends when you are chef at your next dinner party and want to pick some food recipes that will truly wow them.
One thing that we do know for sure is that Sushi does taste amazing and it does have the wow factor. So how to get started making and cooking this yummy, free from any badness, Japanese food?
What is it that Makes Sushi so Good?
Sushi rice always manages to look beautiful, and its vibrant colours are usually an indication that only the freshest ingredients have been used. Sushi is not the type of dish that you can create using scraps or leftovers - but if you don't know much about how to make Sushi then you may not realise that.
You see, Sushi is not a type of food that you can just try to recreate without any knowledge or experience.
It takes time to get rolls rolled just right and it takes a bit of know-how to understand which ingredients will work together and which ones just won't stick. Sushi making classes are a great way to inform yourself on how to make the best sushi, but you can also find classes and tutorials online for free. Just follow the chef using their ingredients on YouTube and become your own sushi chef!
By all means, you can certainly give making Sushi Rice rolls a go if you feel like it on a whim, but you ideally need to have seen someone do it before, been taught or at least read a few good recipes with methods in order to give it a good stab.
So, if you thought Sushi making at home was just going to be a case of putting together a bunch of raw ingredients and being done, then you might like to think again! Or at least read our tips below.
Is it Worth Making my Own Sushi?
The answer is always yes. Unless you happen to live near a restaurant or cafe serving up the best Japanese cooking. Then you would be a fool to not eat there every day...!
The sense of achievement you will feel when you see your perfectly rolled Sushi pieces sitting pretty on a plate, just waiting to be scoffed up will be beyond your wildest dreams - whether you're a new cook or a professional chef who hasn't ever ventured into this type of Japanese cuisine!
What's more, even though the process is quite intricate, the ingredients certainly aren't so there is no excuse not to attempt making sushi on the grounds of not having Japanese ingredients. Most people have vinegar sugar salt soy sauce rice and perhaps even some raw fish in their fridges and larders, so they are already well on their way to making the perfect maki rolls.
Plus, as we have already mentioned, it's one thing being proud of your creation but it is another level when somebody else praises your efforts. So, if your family and friends love your food then you will be even more thrilled and may even become driven to make even more challenging sushi recipes in your home kitchen in the future!
Miso soup next, perhaps, if you love cooking oriental food?
3 Important Things to Remember when Sushi Making
1 Water is very important
It may sound very over the top but actually water can either help you when Sushi making or ruin your sushi rolls. For instance, you should always handle Sushi ingredients with wet hands to avoid it sticking to you during the preparation process.
Moreover, you should always work on a wet chopping board or a dedicated sushi mat, for most of the same reasons.
2 The temperature needs to be just right
Preparing all your ingredients in advance when doing sushi home cooking is very important if you want to make the Sushi rice successfully. For obvious reasons, you want to have all your ingredients to hand (rice, vinegar sugar salt...), ready chopped so that you can get on with your Sushi making class.
One other important reason to plan in advance is that you want your rice to be warm so you'll need to work out how long it will take to cook and cool the rice.
3 The equipment you use could save you time
Last but not least, you should always check what equipment you might need before you think about making sushi or doing your own personal Japanese cooking class. Most people have a chopping board but do you own a very sharp knife or a sushi mat for rolling the sushi rice? A rice cooker may also speed up the process or, at least, make a bit less mess!
How much Preparation Time should I factor in?
While you want to give yourself enough time to carefully make your sushi roll, you also don't want the fish to lose its freshness. Making the final pieces the night before should be just fine, but you may want to have practised the art of sushi making at least once or twice beforehand (ideally, several times or more if you are making them for a party or event where they simply cannot be substandard).
You can easily sign up to a sushi making class or get yourself a sushi making kit to start off with.
But what about storing Sushi rolls?
If you didn't know already, rice is one of the worst food types for harbouring bacteria which can become harmful if reheated. Therefore, it's very important to store your sushi rice properly, especially if using sushi grade fish as well, which has the potential to become smelly if it goes off.
Make your sushi rolls as normal, according to your chosen recipe, boiling up dried long grain rice to ensure the freshness of your product. Some people use a rice cooker if they have one. As advised above, you should wait for your rice to cool down to a warm/ambient temperature before using it. If it is too hot, you won't be able to handle it yet if it becomes too cold it won't be as flexible and will just wind up being sticky.
Once you have made your sushi rolls and added your vinegar sugar salt if need be, place them on a dish or platter, cover them with cling film and place in the fridge as soon as possible to cool them quickly and cut down the risk of bacteria forming (sitting for too long at room temperature could cause harmful bacteria to multiply).
An air-tight Tupperware tub will also do the job. Raw fish cannot be left at room temperature for more than 3 hours so be sure to leave your fish in the fridge until you are ready to use it, and also keep this in mind when serving up your food the following day.
Top tip: If you have the time and patience to individually wrap each sushi roll before placing it in the bottom of the fridge then unravel the film just before serving, then this could help to preserve their cylindrical shape and stop them from flattening.
How Long can Sushi be kept in the Refrigerator?
Partially eaten or untouched sushi rolls can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours. It is not recommended that you eat any raw fish, even top sushi grade fish, or cooked rice (even salted rice / vinegared rice) that has been left for more than a day since being opened/made.
How do Shops Keep Sushi Fresh for Longer?
You've seen the little rectangular or square boxes that supermarkets sell with small bitesize Sushi pieces inside, but how do they keep them fresh for your lunch? Well, in actual fact, they follow the exact same rules as above and ensure that any raw product like Sushi is sold within the 24-hour window or else it is removed from the shelf and disposed of.
So if you've left your lunchbox at home and not realised until it is too late, then you might be a little miffed when you arrive at the shop and there's only a tiny selection of sandwiches left and an empty shelf where the sushi once sat - and now you know why!
Shops will only order in as much as they know they can confidently sell as otherwise they will be left with wastage at the end of each day. So, don't rely on your local Tesco to provide you with your sushi craving - go on and make sushi rolls yourself at home!