What is Sushi?
Sushi originated as a preservation method for fish in Southeast Asia, expanding first into China and then Japan. Fish would be salted and then preserved in fermented rice, for exportation purposes, and at the time of consumption, the rice would be tossed and the protein consumed.
In short, sushi is defined as a Japanese dish consisting of vinegar-seasoned rice served with a garnish of raw fish, vegetables, or egg.
There are five primary sushi kinds known today. Here's a quick breakdown:
- Ngiri – A topping of fish served on top of sushi rice
- Maki – Fish encircled by rice and surrounded by seaweed
- Uramaki – Fish that is enwrapped by seaweed with rice on the outside
- Temaki – Hand-rolled sushi in cone shapes
To clarify, Sashimi are slim pieces of sliced fish served by itself without rice or seaweed; hence, it is not considered sushi. Sashimi has certain specifications and the knife cuts are some of the most extensive part of a master sushi chef's training. Fascinating, I know.
Tips For Making Perfect Sushi
When I think of sushi, I think of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you have not watched this food documentary on Netflix, I highly suggest you do. You'll get to understand the art behind sushi making. Japanese culture is fascinating - from the knives, to the detail behind the food, to the precision and mastery of on any craft an individual sets out to achieve, to the history behind the culture... It's incredible.
In this recipe we provide an efficient and fun way to make sushi that is both healthy and easy.
How to make Sushi Rice
If you're looking to create your own sushi rice from scratch, there are a few tricks to this technique. Traditional sushi rice or Sumeshi, is a vinegar seasoned rice, that clumps up together to be able to form different shapes.
A few years back, I was experimenting with poke bowls, and I discovered Sumeshi, vinegared sushi rice. It's simple to make and it is also delicious; check the tip below. However, if you wish to use a store bought sushi rice that you can microwave, check our ready to eat Trifecta brown rice. Short-grain brown rice is the ideal rice to use for sushi purposes. This is because this kind of grain is mostly sticky, and it's ideal for dishes where the rice needs to clump together. Though our Trifecta Brown Rice is medium grain, you can still use it to make Sumeshi - ideally however, short-grain rice is the perfect option for sushi.
Here is a quick Sumeshi guide, according to Kenji J. Lopez:
- Rinse rice in a bowl 3-5 times, until rinsing water comes out clear.
- Cook rice by combining 3 cups short-grain brown rice and 3 1/3 cups water.
- Bring to boil, cover pot with a tight lid, and turn heat to lowest setting for 15 minutes. After cooking is done, rest the rice - covered - for another 10 minutes.
- In a separate sauce pan, mix 3/4 cup unseasoned brown rice vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, and 3 tbsp. kosher salt, stirring constantly until solids are dissolved.
- Gently lay rested rice on a sheet tray.
- With either a fan set on low, or a hand fan, add the vinegar seasoning to the rice in batches, and gently break and fold the rice into the vinegar, using a flat plastic or wooden spoon. Season evenly. Don't add all the vinegar at once. Taste for seasoning, and add more vinegar mixture if desired.
- Repeat as needed. The rice should look glossy, and should clump up when pressed together. Store at room temperature, covered with a wet cloth.
Tip: You can use white rice, as sushi is typically made with white rice; however, brown rice provides a higher amount of nutrients and fiber, since the grain is untouched. Granted, because the grain is not processed and it has the endosperm, germ, and barn, the cooking process is longer. To find an easy solution, check out our A La Carte items for ready to eat items, like our salmon and brown rice.
How to Make Sushi Rolls
Sushi rolls take a some time to master. Worry not! If the first one doesn't come out well, at least you'll enjoy eating it! Did you know that Sushi masters study and practice making rice ONLY, for 8 to 10 years? Yep. An apprentice is not allowed to touch any other ingredient until they master making rice in Japan. It truly is an art (shout out to my former employer for helping me understand this).
But don't worry, you can still make a decent homemade sushi in one night using simple ingredients the following tips:
How to Roll Sushi at Home
Here are the essentials you'll need to roll sushi at home:
- A bamboo sushi rolling mat
- A bowl with cold water
- Plastic wrap
- All your mise en place (mise en place is a culinary french term that translates to 'everything on its place' - meaning, you prepare and you have everything ready to roll your sushi prior to starting the action of rolling sushi).
Roll Like a Pro...
Line and completely cover your bamboo sushi mat with plastic. Place a nori seaweed sheet, shiny part down, on the bamboo mat.
- Slightly damp your hands in the bowl of water to avoid rice from sticking on your hands.
Using a measuring cup, scoop 3/4 cup of rice on top of the nori. Spread out the rice flat, leaving a 1-inch margin on the top (across from you) of the nori sheet.
- Arrange the filling by laying your salmon or protein of choice, avocado, cucumber, and cream cheese horizontally, 1/4 of the way from the bottom up of the nori sheet. Do not over stuff.
- Lift the edge of the mat closest to you over the filling, causing a sort of cocoon. Grabbing the folded portion of the mat with one hand, gently tuck the mat tightly by pulling the rolled portion towards you, and holding and pulling the opposite end away.
- Once the roll feels tight, secure it by gently pressing it from one side to the other. Roll the mat completely away from you to secure the sushi roll.
- Slice the sushi evenly with a sharp knife, and wipe the knife in between each slice to avoid a mess. Enjoy!
If you're curious as to what garnishes to include in your sushi, we wrote a little guide to support you in upping your meal prep game - there are a few recipes there to make your sushi rolls so much better!
And feel free to get creative with your garnishes and ingredients! Add carrot sticks, sprouts, celery sticks, or make your favorite kind of sushi. We provide the basics here for you to be successful in making any kind of sushi; of course, some may require extra prep, but have fun in the kitchen with as many different kinds of sushi as you wish.
Make this sushi roll in 5 minutes or less with ready to eat sustainably caught salmon from Trifecta and our organic brown rice: