Roll with it.
Making sushi rolls in the comfort of your own home can be easier than you think. Plus, since you're making it yourself, you have complete control over what goes inside—and the essential ingredients are affordable and easy to find. Really craving a roll but don't want to get out of those pajama pants? Here's what you need to know for making your own sushi at home.
It's about the rice.
This is probably the most important part of your sushi roll and involves the most steps—but don't worry! This is about as complicated as it gets. You want to find short-grain Japanese rice (shouldn't be a problem at most supermarkets). This will have the right amount of starch you're looking for to get the stickiness you want.
Rinse, rinse, rinse! You can place the rice in a mesh colander and run water over it until it runs clear, or you can agitate the rice in a bowl filled with water, dump the water (not the rice), and repeat until the water is clear. Either way, let the rice sit for 30 minutes to an hour before you cook it.
Once the rice has cooked and cooled to room temperature, season it with a premade sushi vinegar (you can find this at your local Asian market) or make a batch yourself with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. You'll want around 1/2 cup of seasoned vinegar for every 5 cups of cooked rice. Using wooden or plastic utensils and bowls, cut and fold the seasoned vinegar into the rice as it cools until you get the texture you want. You want to be able to mold the rice into a small ball without it falling apart, but not be a mushy mess when you bite into it.
Wrap it up.
If you can't find fresh, sushi-grade seafood near you, feel free to make veggie rolls. Avocados, cucumber, green onion, and bell peppers are popular, but you can experiment with whatever you like. Also, don't forget that if you can't get the raw fish, you can use cooked shrimp or crab meat in there, too! The main thing is to slice your ingredients longwise and very thin.
Next, get out a bamboo rolling mat (these can be found cheap on Amazon if you can't find one in the store) and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap with the bamboo strips running horizontally to you. If you don't have the bamboo mat—no problem! A clean handtowel works just as well (don't forget the plastic wrap on that, too). Place a sheet of nori (the traditional seaweed wrapper) with the dull side facing up, and cover all but 1/2 an inch at the top with a thin layer of rice. Keep wetting your fingers with water so the rice doesn't stick to you (at least, as little as possible).
Place your ingredients towards the middle of the sheet and be careful not to overfill (this might take some trial and error). Gently lift the bottom of the mat up and over the sushi, shaping the ingredients into a tube. Roll with pressure to get a firm roll, but not so much that everything squeezes out the sides. Again, this may take some trial and error.
Now, seal the 1/2 inch of plain nori at the top with some cold water, squeeze the roll a bit to be sure everything is in place, and you're ready to slice the roll with a sharp knife (wet the knife between slices for the cleanest cuts).
And that's it! Undoubtedly this will take some practice, but even the failed attempts will taste good. Until you're a master sushi chef, sate your cravings at Hapa Sushi Grill and Sake Bar with a unique fusion of Japanese and Hawaiin-fare and four locations around the Boulder area.
What type of sushi will you be making? Had any crazy experiments? Let us know in the comments.