The five links above detail the most common basic sushi techniques, but before you master them, you'll want to read up on the real basics. Before you can make any kind of sushi, you need to learn how to make your rice, how to handle your rice, and what to put with the rice, so scroll down and read up on the absolute necessary basics before you tackle anything else.
The key to all types of sushi is the sushi rice. There are a lot of ways to make sushi rice, and most of them will end up pretty much the same. Here's the method I use.
Begin by rinsing the rice. You used to have to rinse rice to remove talc that used to be used to coat rice. Now rice is coated with a cereal starch instead, so this isn't strictly necessary, but I find I get better results when I rinse my rice. If I don't, the rice doesn't end up as sticky as it should be. The method I use to rinse my rice is simple, I measure out how much rice I'll be using, usually 2 cups, into the bowl to my rice cooker, then I fill it halfway with water, swish it around, and slowly let the water drain out. I repeat this until the water is fairly clear.
The ratio of rice to water I use is 1:1. When I make rice at home, I usually cook 2 cups of rice with 2 cups of water. If you can, let your rice and water sit for about 20-30 minutes before you cook it. Once again, this is not necessary, but I find I get better results this way. I then cook my rice in my rice cooker. If you don't have a rice cooker, a saucepan with a good lid will work just fine. If you're doing it that way, follow these steps:
- Bring rice and water to a boil
- Reduce heat to a simmer
- Cover rice and water, allow to cook for 10 minutes
- Turn off heat and allow rice to steam for 20 minute
Whichever method you use to cook your rice, while it is cooking, make up your sushi vinegar. The ingredients and ratios I use per 2 cups of uncooked rice
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
combine these ingredients in a small saucepan and heat them until the salt and sugar are dissolved. The idea behind the sugar is to cause the tartness of the vinegar to be lessened, while the salt is to bring out the flavor of the vinegar while cutting the sweetness a bit. I've dissolved the ingredients in a microwave and never had any problems, but your mileage may vary. Whichever method you use, once your rice is cooked, place your rice in a large flat bowl or rice cooling bowl. I use a large pyrex casserole dish. Evenly sprinkle your sushi vinegar mix over your rice, and using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the rice and vinegar well.Try to avoid using metal, as it will change the flavor of the rice. Be careful not to break the kernels of the rice or to flatten the rice or it won't have the same look and feel to it. Once it's well mixed, using a fan or a plate, fan the rice down to room temperature. By doing this, the rice will have the right glossy look while still being nice and sticky. If you don't fan it, the rice's hull won't remain intact as well and kernels will break when you use it. At this point, your rice is ready to use.
Tezu is important when preparing sushi. Many newcomers are afraid to get the rice on their hands so they spread the rice with the wooden spoon. The best way to handle rice is with your hands, and the best way to keep it from sticking to your hands is to use tezu. Tezu is simply a mix of one part water and one part rice vinegar. Apply it to your hands slightly sparingly, and you'll be able to handle rice without it sticking. Also soak some into a rag, and use this rag to clean your knife after every few slices when cutting rolled sushi.
Rather than starting with an expensive fillet I'd suggest you use some practice fillings first. My favorite cheap filling is very simple, in fact, you've probably made something similar to it already if you've ever made tuna fish sandwiches. Here's what I use
- One can of tuna fish
- One tablespoon of mayonnaise
- One teaspoon of chili sauce
Mix it well. This makes great filling for rolled sushi and good topping for gunkan style sushi. I sometimes mix in a teaspoon of grated ginger. It adds a very good flavor to this type of filling. If you're making hand rolls or rolled sushi, you may want to squeeze out excess moisture before you use your filling.
Once you're more used to working with raw fish, you can take your leftover pieces from cutting tuna, mince them, and add the chili sauce for a more tasty alternative to the canned cooked tuna.