Sushi Party

(This was an unfinished post that I found… so I figured I’d just post it)

Many people enjoy sushi but few have made it at home. I’ve hosted sushi parties for years, they’re always fun… especially with plenty of sake. Save some money by preparing sushi at home; use that money to buy some higher quality ingredients. If the rice and fillings are prepared before hand, everyone can participate in the preparation and build an appetite.

Some hardware you may want to have handy:

  • Pot for cooking rice
  • Large bowl for mixing rice
  • Sushi Rolling mats - get the ones that are flat on one side
  • Larger surface for rolling
  • Several serving platters - fancy ones are fun
  • Several cutting boards or trays to hold cut fillings
  • Sharp slicing knife with long narrow blade for cutting sushi rolls

Sushi Rice

I estimate 1/2 cup uncooked rice per roll and 1.5 rolls per person, so 4 1/2 cups uncooked rice for 6 people or a whole 10lb bag (about 10 cups) for 20 people. Adjust the recipe below for your party.

  • 2c short grain (medium and long grain are too dry for sushi)
  • 2c water + extra for rinsing
  • 2T rice wine vinegar
  • 2T sugar (or other light sweetener, I sometimes use honey)
  • 1t salt

  • Rinse rice until water runs clear (starch powder will make rice gummy).

  • Bring rice and an equal amount of water (by volume) to boil.
  • Add lid, reduce to low temperature for 20 min.
  • Dissolve sugar and salt in rice wine vinegar. Heat helps.
  • Remove from heat and leave covered for 10 min.
  • Transfer rice into unvarnished wooden bowl (helps remove moisture and slowly cools rice). Glass or ceramic is okay, metal should be avoided.
  • Pour vinegar solution over rice and combine using a cutting motion with thin wooden spoon. Stirring breaks kernels and makes rice mushy. If you’re making large quantity of rice you can mix vinegar with part of the rice then mix that rice with the rest of the rice.
  • Cool rice by fanning while cutting.

Sushi Ingredients

The range of possible fillings for sushi rolls is enormous. By mixing and matching various ingredients you can create many different popular varieties and invent some new ones. A peanut butter and strawberry jam roll can be surprisingly tasty.

Nori - the wrapper

Nori can be found in various amounts from 10 to 100 sheets in a pack. Some has salt, some is toasted, I really have no preference. Nori usually comes in two sizes: full sheets which are about 12 inch squares and half-sheets that are… half a full sheet. =)

Sushi-grade Fresh Fish

  • tuna (toro)
  • salmon (sake)
  • mackerel (saba)
  • so many more… ask your local sushi restaurant for a recommendation of where to find the freshest fish: often times they also sell fish.

Canned or Cured

  • Barbequed Eel - Unagi usually comes in a vacuum sealed bag. heat slightly in oven.
  • Smoked salmon (lox or sake)
  • Cooked shrimp (prawns)
  • Crab or surimi (fake crab)
  • Canned Tuna (mix with equal amount of Sriracha Chile Sauce for spicy tuna roll)
  • Canned Salmon (add a little mayonaise to bring out more flavor


  • Cucumber (peel, de-seed, cut into long strips)
  • Avocado
  • Scallions (spring onions)
  • Green Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Snow peas
  • Snow pea sprouts
  • Asparagus (lightly steamed)
  • Carrot (cut into match sticks, grated, or thin shavings)
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Tomato

Other Tasty Fillings

  • Tofu (firm or silken, fresh or fried)
  • Eggs (Tomago - omelet-like preparation cut into strips)

Making Sushi

Open a bottle of saki (unfiltered is fun) and just start rolling!

Nigiri - Traditional Sushi

Nigiri is quite simple, take a slice of sashimi, small spread of wasabi, laid over a lightly formed ball of rice. The hardest part is forming the rice; if you ever watch a sushi chef you’ll notice a very fast-handed technique used to form the rice ball.

Another variation of Nigiri is to top the rice with various softer fillings which require a small strip of nori wrapped around the toppings and rice to hold it together.

Maki - Rolled Sushi

  1. Place a full or half-sheet of nori on your rolling mat (full sheets are easier for beginners).
  2. Spread rice over 2/3 of the nori, leaving a strip at the far end of the nori without any rice. a very thin layer of rice is all that is needed. Work quickly using wet hands so that rice doesn’t stick to your hands.
  3. Choose 2 or three fillings for your roll and place them horizontally across the center of the rice.
  4. Bring the edge closest to you up and over the fillings to the other edge of the rice and lightly compress.
  5. Wet the edge of the nori that didn’t get covered w/ rice and roll such that the wet nori adheres to the roll.
  6. Place the roll seam-side down and cut in half. Use a sawing motion and very little pressure so as not to squish the roll. Place the two halfs side by side and cut the two halfs into thirds. Cutting in this manner helps to have evenly sized pieces.
  7. Plate your sushi and garnish with gari, wasabi, and soy sauce.

Tips & Fun Facts

  • To get the most flavor from your sushi, eat the leaner fish first, then move to the dark, richer, more fatty fish.
  • Soy sauce is for adding flavor, not covering it up. Rather than dipping the whole piece in the soy sauce, just dip the very edge… or if eating nigiri, just dip the fish lightly into the soy sauce.
  • Some believe that adding wasabi to the roll should be the choice of the sushi chef, not the diner. I respect the chef by trying it first w/o any wasabi, then make my own choice. =)
  • rice will fill you up, so don’t use too much
  • keep your hands wet so that rice won’t stick to your hands. Use a med bowl of water spiked with rice vinegar
  • cut with sharp knife. use sawing motion and very little pressure so as not to squish the sushi

Markets in San Francisco

  • Nijiya - SF’s one-stop-sushi-shop, you’ll find everything here. Browse around, you may even find a few new things; I always bring home something new and figure out how to prepare it.
  • Yum Yum Fish

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Beau Smith published on May 10, 2011 6:08 AM.

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