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Do-it-yourself sushi

July 21, 2010

Sushi seems like it would be really hard to make–getting the rice the right consistency, putting in the right amount of fillings, not killing yourself with improperly prepared raw fish.  I agree with Mark Bittman that making your own good sushi doesn’t need any fish–especially because there’s much less stress involved with making sure the fish is safe.

Making good sushi involves 1 important piece of equipment (the rolling mat) and practice.  Once I got the hang of rolling–i.e. not overfilling so the roll was 2 inches in diameter–it’s a fairly fast process. 

Here’s what we made last night:  a satisfyingly filling but not heavy meal for 2 adults (minus the 3 pieces that fell on the floor and the 3 pieces we ate before taking the final photo).  Plus, you can use whatever leftover fillings you have for what my sister-in-law calls “lazy sushi”:  seasoned rice in a bowl with the toppings over it; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, strips of nori if you have them, and soy sauce, and enjoy.

Veggie Sushi

Makes 6 rolls, enough for 2 adults for dinner or more as an appetizer


  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/3 cup (or so) rice vinegar and sugar (Trader Joe’s sells one pre-mixed)
  • half of a large cucumber, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • half of a bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • half of a ripe avocado, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • shredded carrots
  • scallions (usually I would also have these long and thin, but mine were already chopped)
  • 6 nori sheets
  • wasabi and soy sauce for dipping


  1. Bring water to a boil.  Add rice, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes (until rice is very soft).
  2. Spread cooked rice in a large shallow non-metal dish (I use a 9 x 13 baking dish).  Sprinkle the rice with the rice vinegar/sugar mixture.  With a rice paddle or spatula, fold the vinegar into the rice gently so as not to mash the grains.  Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Place a sheet of nori rough side up on the mat, with the bamboo slats horizontal.  Take about ¾ cup of rice and scoop it onto the nori.  Wet your hands (the rice is very sticky) and push and spread the rice so that it more or less fills the sheet, leaving a 1” gap at the top.
  4. Place your fillings about 1/3 of the way from the bottom.  I used 2-3 strips of cucumber, 3-4 strips of pepper, 3-4 pieces of sliced avocado, a few shredded carrots, and a sprinkling of scallions.
  5. With the mat, roll the bottom of the nori up and away from you over the filling.  Keep rolling toward the top of the mat, pulling the mat away from the part you’ve already rolled.
  6. Dab water at the top of the nori sheet (the part without the rice) to seal the roll closed.  Slice into 6 pieces.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 23, 2010 9:47 pm

    A tip I learned from Peter is to wrap the mats in cellophane so that they stay clean! 🙂 So fun to make your own sushi. Glad to hear it turned out well. Great post!

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