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During covid so many people have told me that one of the things they miss most is going out to restaurants, particularly for sushi. They miss the ritual of sharing sake, dipping their rolls into soy sauce spiked with wasabi, and of course the exquisitely fresh fish. Well, good news! You can recreate those flavors at home, and you don’t have to apprentice under a sushi chef for years to make it happen.
At the restaurant, we sell sushi kits where you receive everything you need to make sushi rolls at home, including the bamboo mat. We also provide a video and instructions to get you going. This theatrical way of creating sushi at home definitely speaks to an American interest in bridging dinner with entertainment. Plus, you need some practice to pull it off.
Sushi At Home-No Skills Needed
When I was a kid, we used to have sushi parties with extended family all of the time in the summer, but it was definitely more taco night than dinner theater. And we looked forward to dinner as soon as it was announced. All of the kids got to pick their favorite items and we would place them neatly on the table, along with plenty of sushi rice, nori sheets, and some wet kitchen towels. Why kitchen towels? Because you need them to keep your hands stick-free.
In Japan, no one whips out a sushi mat to bang out dozens of rolls for the family-ok, a couple people may do this. Instead, we make hand rolls, which are easy to do (children make their own all the time), customizable, and stress free. Plus, it’s a ton of fun. The cook gets to hang out with everyone else because there’s no more cooking or preparation once the hungry guests arrive. All of the prep can be done in stages, earlier in the day, or even the day before. And it’s finger food. Who doesn’t love eating with their hands?
This Sushi Party takes all the elements you love about sushi and turns them into a fun and interactive dinner party. And because we are making handheld rolls, you won’t need any special equipment either. So grab your sushi missing crew, and get ready to party!
Setting Up a Sushi Party
First, make a batch of sushi rice and let it cool. Today, we are making sushi rice that closely resembles the recipe and technique we use at the restaurant. It’s not difficult and it makes a huge difference when rice is a major component in the dish. Good sushi rice enhances the freshness of the ingredients and neutralizes some of the stronger seafood flavors, so there is a gentle balance. Traditional sushi rolls (before spicy mayo, eel sauce, and sriracha) have very few flavors, so properly seasoned sushi rice is key.
I cannot overstate the importance of selecting high quality sushi rice (my favorite in the US is Tamaki) and cooking the rice with some time and care. (But there are days when you just gotta get something on the dinner table, am I right? And if you’re running home and some sushi rice is the last thing you need in order to get this party going, then don’t let rice get in the way. A quicker recipe for sushi rice is available in Salmon Poke Bowls.)
Next, you need the fish! I like to assemble a mixture. Tuna, salmon, snapper, cooked shrimp, those packages of crab legs- all are excellent choices. I talk more about selecting sushi grade fish here. And if you can get your hands on some cooked eel, or unagi, that’s a great addition. Inari, which is canned fried tofu (they may also carry it in the freezer section), is a nice option for vegetarians. Once you have all the seafood prepped and ready, pile it all neatly on a platter, and keep it covered in the fridge until ready to go.
Prep Sushi Veggies
Now that the fish is ready, it’s time to get the vegetables ready. What would sushi be without cucumber and avocado to enhance your rolls? The fresh, crunchy creamy additions are what make the rolls sing.
Sushi just isn’t sushi without all of the accoutrements. Scallions, sesame seeds, masago caviar, Kewpie mayonnaise, soy sauce, sriracha (almost obligatory now), and of course wasabi and pickled ginger, all enhance the sushi experience.
Mix up the wasabi powder with water, and gather all of the other condiments on a platter.
(Sushi) Party Time!
Gather everyone around, and let them make their own rolls. It’s fun and easy!
We like to eat them and make more as we go. That way the nori stays crisp. I pour the soy sauce over while I’m holding it so everything stays in the little ice cream cone.
Hosting a sushi party is so much fun! Mix up a batch of ginger saketinis, put on some music, and let the good times roll. Rate this recipe or leave a comment below, and be sure to let us see your own sushi party by tagging us in your insta pics @funkyasiankitchen.
Authentic Japanese sushi rice
- 2 cups short grain Japanese rice (preferably tamaki gold or nishiki)
- 2 cups water plus 2 tablespoons if using stove top method
- ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sake
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2”x2” piece of kombu kelp (about the size of your palm)
- Wash rice thoroughly under running water using a gentle scrubbing motion. You are trying to wash away some of the outer starch on the rice. Wash the rice twice and drain water.
- If using an automatic rice cooker, use the cup that comes with the cooker to measure 2 cups. Then, after rinsing fill the water up to line #2 on the sushi rice or white rice line and push the start button. (Otherwise, rinse the rice as described above and then put it in a saucepan that has a tight fitting lid and pour 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water over the rice. Let the rice sit for 30 mins for best results.)
- Bring the pot to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat to medium low, stir the rice once with a fork, cover with a lid, and cook until the water disappears, the steam starts to create little holes on the surface, and the rice starts to puff up. This will take approximately 7-8 mins.
- Then stir the rice once more with a fork, cover the pot again, and lower the heat to low and cook the rice for another 10-12 mins.
Check for Doneness:
- Check the rice. The rice grains should look shiny and will have lost their chalky dull look. Take a fork and try a small taste if you’re not sure. If the rice is done, let it sit covered for another 5 mins. If it still has a bit of a core, add 2-3 more tablespoons of water and cook, covered, on low for 5 extra mins.
Make Sushi Rice Vinegar:
- While the rice is resting, make the sushi vinegar. Put the vinegar, sake, sugar, and salt to a simmer over medium high heat in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture starts to simmer, turn off the heat and add the kelp. Let the vinegar cool to room temperature, then remove the kelp. Set aside until ready to use.
- Turn the rice out into a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the seasoning vinegar onto the hot rice. Mix the rice using a gentle, slight chopping action. Do not over mix or the rice will become gluey. Let the rice sit for 10 minutes to start absorbing the vinegar and then lightly mix again. Let the rice sit out and cool to room temperature before using.
- 1 recipe sushi rice
- 8 ounces seafood (any combination of tuna, salmon, snapper, unagi, shrimp, or crab meat is a good start)
- ⅓ european cucumber
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 avocado
- 1 can inari fried seasoned tofu (optional but good for vegetarians)
- 3 tablespoons masago or tobiko caviar
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Kewpie mayonnaise
- Sriracha Chili Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- 4 tablespoons wasabi powder
For the Wasabi:
- Mix the wasabi powder with 2 tablespoons of cool water. Mix until the paste is smooth.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Prep the Seafood:
- For the tuna and salmon, cut the fish into thin slices and then cut the slices into thin batons/logs.
- Next put the fish on a plate.
- If your plate is large enough, arrange all of the seafood on it. If not, then use a couple of plates keeping your piles neat and attractive. Keep all raw fish covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
- Put all of your veggies on one plate. Cut the cucumber chunk in half lengthwise and then cut the two pieces in half. Cut across the tops to remove the seeds. Then slice the cucumber into long thin pieces. Place the cucumber on a large plate.
- Cut the avocado in half and remove the seeds. Cut each avocado half into 10-12 thin pieces. Peel the skin off and put the avocado next to the cucumber. Take the inari out of the can. You can leave the pieces whole or cut it into thin pieces. Put it into a small bowl to contain the juice and then put the bowl on the plate with the other veggies.
- Next, put all of the condiments together on a plate. Put the scallions, caviar, sesame seeds, mayonnaise, and sriracha in small containers with little spoons so it is easy to access.
- Finally, put out the nori sheets, sushi rice, soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger.
- First take a half sheet of nori and spread 2-3 tablespoons of rice on the left side of the nori. Smear a small amount of wasabi on the middle of the rice if using.
- Then add a couple pieces of seafood, veggies, or some condiments.
- Take the bottom left corner and bring it up over the filling so you create a cone shape.
- Keep rolling until you come to the end of the nori.
- You can secure the end with a little dab of rice.
- It’s best to eat as you go and not make the rolls all at once to preserve the crisp texture of the nori. I like to pour a little soy sauce directly on top of the roll so the filling doesn’t have a chance to spill out.