Tips For Making Sushi Safely At Home

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock / Atsushi Hirao

Sushi is a Japanese delicacy that is popular around the world. No matter how remote the location, it seems there is always a sushi restaurant nearby. Sushi is delicious and often healthy, but ordering it regularly at restaurants can get quite expensive. If you are a sushi fan, you might have wondered if it is easy, difficult, or even possible to make sushi safely in your own home.

To make sushi safely at home, you must find quality sushi-grade fish. Once you locate a market with great fresh fish, you should check your local Asian market for sushi rice, a bamboo roller, and other Japanese ingredients. You can also find the international ingredients online. Avoid over-stuffing your rolls, and stage ingredients neatly to avoid cross-contamination. Keep raw ingredients refrigerated unless you are actively working with them.

If you have ever fantasized about rolling dozens of sushi rolls yourself, and having a sushi feast to remember, then this article is for you. It is entirely possible to turn your kitchen into a sushi restaurant for a night. Before you head to your favorite local seafood market, however, you need to know some tips for making sushi safely at home.

Is It Safe To Make Sushi In My Kitchen At Home?

You might wonder if it’s possible to make sushi in the privacy of your kitchen, or if this is a culinary art form best left to the masters. The answer is yes, you can make your own sushi at home, even if it isn’t a Japanese style home.

The key is knowing where to buy sushi-grade fish and other essential ingredients. Next, you need to know how to prepare them properly. The good news is if you have a quality seafood market, or even a Whole Foods nearby, and access to the internet, then you can churn out some delicious sushi rolls.

Just know that perfecting this craft takes time, but even less-than-perfect rolls will still be delicious. Below is a list of top tips for safely making sushi at home for anyone interested in giving it a try.

Top Tips To Safely Making Sushi At Home

1. Find A Great Seafood Market With Sushi-Grade Fish

If you want to make sushi rolls at home with raw fish inside the roll, then you must find a reliable seafood market. Luckily, sushi continues to rise in popularity, and making this Japanese staple at home has become more popular. It is much easier to find sushi-grade tuna and other varieties than it was 10 years ago.

Still, you must be able to trust your fishmonger, as quality fish is essential to making sushi safely at home. Ask around, check online reviews, and ensure in person that the fish you are purchasing is safe to consume raw.

2. Avoid Cross Contamination

One important factor to consider when you are attempting to safely make sushi at home is cross-contamination. When you are dealing with raw ingredients, and eating them without cooking them, you must keep them separate from other food.

The best way to prevent your fish from getting cross-contaminated is to keep it away from other meats and any bacteria. Keeping your fish covered, and in a sealed container unless you are actively working with it is a great way to keep the fish safe from contamination. Use gloves when handling the fish if possible, and wash your hands frequently.

3. Clean And Disinfect Cutting Boards And Work Area

Cutting boards and countertops are another area to consider when you are looking to create a safe environment for cooking sushi. Ensure you properly disinfect your cutting boards and countertops before working with your sushi ingredients, especially any seafood products.

Remember to use plastic cutting boards instead of wood cutting boards, as wood is porous and harbors more bacteria than plastic ones, which you can thoroughly disinfect with ease.

4. When In Doubt Make Veggie And Cooked Seafood Rolls

Remember that not all sushi involves raw fish. If you can’t find raw fish or are nervous about using raw fish from your area, opt for cooked seafood and veggie rolls. There are tons of easy-to-find and safe ingredients you can add to a sushi roll. Some popular items are listed below, but your options are limitless.

  • Cooked Shrimp
  • Artificial Crab
  • Avocado
  • Pickled Vegetables
  • Cucumber
  • Egg
  • Smoked Salmon

5. Buy The Correct Rice

White rice may all look the same to the untrained eye, but there are many different types of white rice. When making sushi, you need a very particular type of rice. It is a fancy short-grain rice, and is often labeled as “sushi rice.”

You can find this type of rice at almost any Asian market, and it is also easy and affordable online. If you use regular rice, it is not likely to stick properly, and your rolls will be a crumbly mess. When using a rice cooker, make sure you follow the water and cooking instructions listed.

6. Properly Cook And Cool The Rice

In addition to buying the correct type of rice, you must also make sure you cook the rice properly. Sushi rice cooks a bit differently than the rice you might be used to cooking. The water-to-rice ratio is usually much lower, with it sometimes even being a 1:1 rice-to-water ratio.

Be careful not to overcook the rice, as it will quickly get mushy, and look more like mochi than rice.

Allow your rice to cool properly before handling it. If your rice appears to be slightly overcooked, open the pot and allow any extra steam to disperse.

7. Don’t Forget The Vinegar, Salt, and Sugar

One of the secrets to having your sushi rice stick together and taste delicious is to add some flavor. This comes in the form of rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. This combination helps add flavor and also makes your rice stick well. If you are worried about having the right ratio, you can also use mirin, which is a sweetened rice vinegar you can find in any Asian grocery.

8. Use A Bamboo Sushi Roller

The most important piece of equipment you need to make sushi safely and easily at home is a bamboo sushi roller. A sushi roller is a very simple device and is made of small pieces of wood or bamboo that are woven together. Generally, it costs less than $5, so if you are making sushi as a group, consider buying more than one.

9. Keep Fish And Rolls In Fridge As Much As Possible

To stop your sushi-grade fish from spoiling, make sure it stays in the fridge until you plan to use it. Once you make sushi rolls with raw fish, return the completed rolls to the refrigerator, and let them stay outside the “danger zone” until you are ready to eat.

10. Use The Right Nori (Seaweed Wrappers)

Make sure you select the correct seaweed wrappers to make your sushi. There are tons of different uses for dried seaweed. Some are intentionally crispy, flavored, and portioned. Choose the type of “nori” that is designed for sushi rolls.

11. Make It A Party And Enlist Helpers

Making sushi isn’t difficult, especially with some practice. It can, however, be rather time-consuming. If you have a few friends or family members who are interested in learning how to make sushi safely at home as much as you, then enlist their help. A sushi-making party is a great way to spend time with others while preparing delicious cuisine.

12. Don’t Over-Stuff Your Rolls

One last important tip to creating delicious and restaurant-quality sushi at home safely is to not add too much to a roll. Sure, it can be tempting to create a mega-roll with tons of ingredients. Just remember the more you add, the harder it will be to roll and also harder to keep the roll together.

Wrapping Up How To Roll Sushi Safely At Home

Sushi might be a culinary art form that takes years to master, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a shot. It is entirely possible to safely roll sushi at home. Use a trusted fish market to buy your sushi-grade meats. Get sushi rice and all the other essentials online or at your local Asian market. Try not to over-stuff your rolls, and if you have trouble finding fresh fish, opt for cooked seafood and veggies instead.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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