How to Make Sushi At Home

Have you thought about making sushi at home? I know that you might be thinking sushi making is such an artful skill, or a delicate act to say the least. In fact, it’s a lot easier than you think. Hopefully I can debunk the basic sushi code for you into a few simple steps.

For many parts of the United States, this summer has been unseasonably hot. One of the challenges for many is to try not to heat up the house with stove top or oven cooking and baking. Sushi is a perfect choice for a light summer dinner. Perhaps there is no sushi more popular than California rolls.

Making or Breaking It: Rice



As much as you would be drawn to the colorful seafood and other ingredients, the unsung hero in sushi is the rice. Sushi rice is made of premium short grain white rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

It is very critical that you get the highest quality of rice. I buy sushi grade rice in the Asian grocery store. If you live in an area that an Asian store is not available, you can always get it on Amazon. There are several brands such as Nishiki Premium Sushi Rice or Kokuho Rose.

Of course, you can make the rice on a stove-top. Personally I prefer cooking the rice in a rice cooker to ensure nothing gets under or overcooked. There are scores of rice cookers on the market. A few premium Japanese brands even have “sushi” on the menu setting specifically designed for cooking sushi rice such as Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 and Sanyo ECJ-JG10W rice cookers. If buying an expensive rice cooker is beyond your budget, you can use your old one-touch rice cooker at home or shop for a more affordable one such as Aroma ARC-150SB rice cooker.

Cooking the rice is as simple as:

  • Measure 2 cups of dry rice in the cup provided with the rice cooker
  • Rinse and scrub the rice gently with your hands in cold water 3-4 times until the water is clear
  • Add water per the water line in the rice cooker
  • Choose “sushi rice” menu setting. If not available, choose “white rice” or cook it on the stove top.

Prepare Sushi Rice

After the rice is cooked, let it sit in the rice cooker covered for 15 minutes to have the best result. Then it’s time to season the rice. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbs Japanese rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbs white sugar
  • 1 Tbs Kosher salt or regular salt
  • A large sized mixing bowl, preferably a wooden bowl
  • A wooden spatula


Sushi rice is traditionally made in a big shallow mixing bowl called Hangiri with a wooden spatula to preserve the taste of sushi rice. If you are one of those people who have to have the right tool for everything, you may consider getting a sushi mixing kit, including a Hangiri, 2 rice spatulas and 2 sushi mats.

Add rice vinegar, white sugar and salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat to mix all the ingredients. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved into the vinegar.

Ladle the rice into a mixing bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture into the rice. Use the wooden spatula and mix the rice with the vinegar mixture to make sure each grain of rice is coated. Let the sushi rice cool to room temperature. You may use a fan to help the cooling process, but NEVER put the rice into a refrigerator as it will harden the rice and defeat the whole purpose.

Time to Roll

Here is a list of utensils and ingredients:

  • A sushi mat
  • A bowl of cold water
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 batch sushi rice
  • 4 nori sheets
  • 4 imitation crab sticks (torn into thin strips)
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted, cut into 1/4 thin slices
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into match sticks
  • 2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
  • Soy sauce and wasabi (Japanese horseradish) for serving
  • Japanese pickled ginger for serving (optional)




  1. Pour the lemon juice over the avocado to prevent browning
  2. Cover the sushi mat with a piece of plastic wrap
  3. Lay a piece of nori sheet over the mat
  4. Dip your fingers in the cold water and spread about 1/2 cup of sushi rice evenly onto the nori.
  5. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds onto the rice
  6. Turn the nori sheet over to have the rice side down, nori sheet side up
  7. Arrange some cucumber, crab sticks and avocado in the center of the nori sheet (lengthwise)
  8. Start rolling the sushi mat tightly outward to make it a roll
  9. Pull the sushi mat away
  10. Repeat steps # 4 through 9
  11. Cut the sushi roll into 6 bite size pieces
  12. Arrange the pieces onto a sushi serving platter
  13. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger

If you want to make it a complete experience, whip up some miso soup to kick it off and end the meal with Japanese green tea ice cream or mochi. There is nothing more delightful than a sushi dinner at the comfort of your own home.


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