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Top Tools and Ingredients You Need to Make Your Own Sushi at Home

on 07th May, 2019

Sushi at Home: Top Tools and Ingredients You Need

So…you’ve finally tried sushi and you fell in love with the unique taste of Japan. Now you want to try and make your own, on your kitchen table in Dubai, dreaming about chopping the thin layers of meat with your personal samurai blade? Well, many brave warriors have tried…and many brave warriors have failed. But we are here to give you some tips that might actually bring you closer to victory.

The first step is acquiring the right materials. Sushi making is an exquisite art that requires not only thorough skills but also the perfect raw materials and the right kitchen equipment. And last but not least, you need a separate, specific area in your kitchen, and designated knives to handle the food that will be prepared and eaten raw.

As you can notice, sushi making is more than just a one-time experience, trying a new dish. It requires particular preparation and special requirements in order to be the real experience, not to mention that a sushi master is not born, but made. If you really want to become a real sushi chef, you will have to practice until you reach perfection. And it won’t be a smooth path.

A master kit for the sushi master

  • Hangiri - First things first: you need a bowl to mix and prepare the sushi rice. Regular bowls may work, but if you really want to prepare good sushi, you will need a hangiri bowl. Made of wood, this round, flat bottomed barrel is perfect to prepare the rice because it helps with the absorption of moisture, giving rice the sticky texture needed in order to make the perfect rolls.
Rolling Sushi
        • Bamboo paddles, spreader and mats – Bamboo is the best ally of a sushi master. Used in the preparation of various foods, the makisu (bamboo and cotton mat) is a must-have if you want to successfully prepare your own sushi. This specific item is perfect to make the most delicious makizushi rolls. Though the paddles and spreaders can be just regular cutlery, we strongly recommend using the bamboo ones, because they help, just like the hangiri, with the absorption of moisture, leaving the rice sticky and dry.
  • Nori – This specific kind of edible seaweed is used in sushi making either on the inside (if you want to try some California rolls) or on the outside, and it helps keeping the ingredients together. This is a key ingredient in Japanese dishes such as sushi, and it’s very important to make the right choice because it’s the glue that keeps the ingredients in sushi from falling apart. Nevertheless, this seaweed is one of the best plant-based sources of vitamin B12, which turns it into a real scroll of health and wellbeing where you will get the chance of writing your own story of sushi making!
  • Rice vinegar - This is both an ingredient and a tool when it comes to preparing sushi. It’s a basic component of the sushi master kit that you can’t miss out when preparing the delicious bites. This magic liquid is the key to go as close as possible to the authentic taste of Japanese cuisine. It is, definitely, an irreplaceable ingredient, and don’t even think about using regular vinegar, or the spirits of the fallen samurai will haunt your taste buds!
  • Sushi rice – Not just an ingredient, the sushi rice is a vital ingredient of the sushi master kit just like the band-aid is part of the first aid kit. The rice used to prepare this Japanese deliciousness is not just any regular rice. This type of rice has particular qualities that optimise the processes of rolling and sticking so that your rolls will be tight and tidy, and will keep together all the ingredients in a delicious rice wrap. The best choice is white rice because the starch is good natural glue. Also, the most suitable type of rice is the shirt-grained which is, normally, labeled as sushi rice. Another thing to keep in mind regarding the sushi rice is the way to cook it. If the traditional way to cook rice is with a proportion of 2 cups of water for one cup of rice, for sushi the best ratio is 1:1.
  • Sushi and ChopsticksChopsticks – a useful and entertaining whim. It may not be a must-have element of the sushi making kit, and you may never get to use them if you end up preparing a sushi failure, but these stylish accessories are a perfect way to get an authentic sushi experience. And then again, after going through all the trouble of making the perfect rolls and balancing all the ingredients like a pro, learning how to use chopsticks will turn out to be a piece of cake. Also, if you end up deciding you’ll never master this skill, you can use them to put up your hair in a fancy way.
Also check our blog on how to use chopsticks properly and all you need to know about sushi etiquette.
  • Sushi mold Another handy accessory is this simple tool which can help you designing specific kinds of sushi. If the round is not your shape of choice, you can try making some sushi in the Osaka style, by using a  Oshizushi Mold.  Literally translated to “pressed sushi”, this box is a great tool that will help you design very eye-catching sushi bites that will look so good you would barely want to eat them! This is one of the oldest versions of sushi making, and the method originates in the ancient way of preserving fish, packed in tight boxes, together with fermented rice. These sushi mold boxes are traditionally made of wood, cypress or cedar, in order to help with the moisture. Modern versions made of plastic may also be available, but it’s not what we may recommend.
  • Sushi boat - So you have finally managed to make your own home-made sushi, and now you want to invite your friends and show off. The best way to do it is by placing the tasty bites in a sushi boat which will definitely impress your company from the first moments. And then again, a nice, good presentation for the sushi might even make your friends appreciate the taste more. But don’t count on the visual parts to make up for a poorly made plate. Don’t count on the dish to make up for the fish. The most important thing is still the taste. So if you don’t think your sushi skills are ready to be on display, just order some takeaways, and leave the home-made version for some other time. Preferably when you get some more nori experience.
These basic components are the most valuable weapons of a sushi master kit and you definitely must have them when starting to think about cooking your own sushi dishes. If all these requirements didn’t yet make you run screaming away from the kitchen and break the order button of the most popular takeaways, we will, patiently, guide you through the rest of the list.

Must-have ingredients that will help you take your first steps in sushi making:

  • Kombu – for a dashi dashing flavour. This dried seaweed can help you by giving your sushi a unique flavour. Just place it on the bottom of your hangiri while you soak and prepare the rice.
  • Sake – This is another mandatory ingredient for an authentic sushi experience. Many beginners don’t take it into account, but a real sushi master will never start the journey without sake. It goes perfectly with Kombu and it gives a delicate, discrete flavour to the rice which will charm the taste.
  • Wasabi – There is no doubt that this ingredient is 100% necessary. Swiped onto the layer of sushi rice, or dipped in the soy sauce, this spice will definitely help you prepare a dish with personality! Just remember that the hot sensation of wasabi is not easily washed out by drinking liquids since it is felt more in the nasal area and less on the tongue. Too much of it might leave you with a runny nose but it’s a small price to pay for trying delicious authentic sushi.
  • Soy sauce – It’s one of the most elemental ingredients of Asian cuisine. You simply cannot prepare a sushi meal without having small, flavoured dish or soy sauce for dipping. And even if your first attempts of sushi will be catastrophic, dipping them in the soy sauce will always make the taste better.
  • Sushi grade fish – Okay, let’s cut to the chase. It’s the meat you’re interested in, right? Be aware that for a successful – and edible – sushi roll, the type of grade fish you chose is essential. This is a very sensitive topic, since there are no specific regulations regarding what is exactly sushi grade, and choosing some random sushi grade fish from the supermarket, or even Japanese local store may not guarantee that the raw fish meat is safe to eat. This is the most delicate part of the process of making sushi at home and you must research your sushi grade meat supplier in a very thorough manner, in order to make sure you will not risk anything by eating the raw meat. And if you are not sure about where to find the right type of grade fish that is 100% safe to consume, maybe the wisest choice would be to order your favourite meaty rolls from takeaways. You can always stick to preparing the veggie version of sushi which is 100% safe and doesn’t pose any threat to your health. The worst that can happen when eating them is have a bad experience which will wash away some good sushi takeaways.
  • Sushi Ginger – Let’s go back to the harmless flavours now. This aromatic spice is a great way of cleansing your taste buds when trying various sushi rolls. Sushi ginger, or Gari, is actually pickled ginger. This is made in a very simple way – just slice the ginger in very thin layers and then pickle it in a solution of vinegar and sugar.
  • Cream cheese – Depending on what kind of sushi roll you want to make, the cream cheese can help you make a creamy sauce that will mix the ingredients in a soft delicious texture. It can also help reduce the spiciness, for those who don’t enjoy the hot sensation of wasabi.
  • Veggies – Vegetables are compulsory components that give a fresh feeling to the rolls. One of the most popular vegetables is cucumber. Other options can be carrots or lettuce, which are the perfect ingredients for the veggie sushi recipes.
  • Avocado – This creamy, rich-tasting fruit can be added in the sushi roll and will ensure a soft texture which will melt in your mouth. No wonder most of UAE’s favourite sushi rolls have added this incredible and healthy avocado.
  • Of course, once you manage to master the art of sushi making, you can experiment with the recipes and ingredients. Try all the various techniques such as uramaki, hosomaki, futomaki, or the most advanced ones like temaki or katsuramuki. You can play with textures using sesame seeds, rice crackers or tobiko, and mix different spices and flavours. But don’t be too adventurous from the beginning. Learning how to make a good roll takes time and practice.

Sushi – make your own or take away?

Sushi Platter
              These are the basic tools and ingredients that you need in order to start developing your Japanese cooking skills. Keep in mind that becoming a sushi master is a long-term investment. It will not work for the first time. You will have to practice and be patient. But once you master it, you will have the best reward you could ask for: eating a home-made sushi roll. The path to learning how to make your own sushi dish is a great way to fully experience the Japanese culture. Being patient, learning step by step without trying to hurry the process, and enjoy every moment and its unique flavour.
Also, if you feel like turning Japanese cooking techniques into a hobby, you can find a lot of literature which will help you get started in the craft of sushi making, and improve yourself little by little. For beginners, you can look for books with great visual content which will help you to successfully take your first steps!

But being a pro in Japanese cooking techniques is not something everyone can do. Maybe some of us are just not good in the kitchen; maybe some don’t have the patience or we don’t find cooking relaxing. Maybe for some of us, spending a lot of time in the process, to have in the end some poorly made rolls, that will never taste as good as the ones from the takeaway restaurants, is devastating.

If you really want to give the sushi making art a try, you can plan, with your friends, a sushi workshop, where you can
hire one of Sushi Counter’s chefs  to perform for you and your friends on display. The best way to learn is by example and this way you can see the correct process of making the perfect roll, step by step. You can follow it up with a do-it-yourself session where you and your friends can turn sushi making in a fun activity, and enjoy an entertaining evening together. And don’t worry about the results, Rome was not built in a day! The first step is to have fun while trying to make one!

If you only want to enjoy the tasty sushi rolls, without all the long-term commitment, you can just leave the sushi kit aside, pick up your phone, and order some takeaways from Sushi Counter. You can find here many consolation prizes that will take your mind away from the failed battle you had in the kitchen. Some delicious bites of sushi will definitely make you feel better and maybe give you the courage to try it again some other time.

Whether you are on the move or want to have a great social dinner at the restaurant, you can always come down for a good sushi meal with no fuss and no mess. Order online for some takeaways  and let the optimism of flavoured sushi fill you with the courage of trying another step towards becoming a sushi master!

Top Tools and Ingredients You Need to Make Your Own Sushi at Home

Sushi at Home: Top Tools and Ingredients You NeedSo…you’ve finally tried sushi and you fell in love with the unique taste of Japan. Now you want to try and make your own, on your kitchen table in Dubai, dreaming about chopping the thin layers of meat with your personal samurai...