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How to Make Nigirizushi

Sushi is one of representative Japanese food.

It has been popular and traditional food in Japan since 1800s (the Edo Period). Now it is a beloved menu all over the world.

Nigirizushi is a very simple food that is made of vinegared rice and main ingredients. Simple cuisines are more intricate and reflect the professional skills. However, it is another attraction of Sushi that everyone can make and enjoy it. This time we would like to tell you about the deepness of Sushi and how to make it at home.

What you need to make sushi

All you need are vinegared rice, main ingredients and wasabi.

Vinegared rice

We call it “Shari”. It is made by mixing cooked rice and sushi vinegar (vinegar with sugar and salt). It is recommended to use Japanese rice or Sushi rice that contain low glucose. Paella rice would be too sticky and inappropriate for making sushi. Also avoid using rice with too low glucose; otherwise you can’t shape it.

Main ingredients

Fresh sliced fish and shellfish are common ingredients. Or they are marinated sometimes.


Japanese wasabi is the best, but horse radish can be used instead. Wasabi is too stimulating for kids to eat, so it’s basically not used for kids.

How to make Nigirizushi

Now let’s see each step to make sushi!

1.Make vinegared rice

Vinegared rice is made by mixing cooked rice and sushi vinegar.

To make sushi, we need vinegared rice first. Vinegared rice is made by mixing cooked rice and sushi vinegar (vinegar with sugar and salt). The basic ratio of rice (raw), vinegar, sugar and salt is 150 g: 25 ml: 5 g: 2.5 g. You can adjust each amount depending on your preference. When you use 300 g of rice, just double the amount of the other ingredients.

All you have to do is just mixing, but you should make sushi vinegar a half day before starting to make sushi as it takes some time until sugar and salt dissolve in vinegar.

When rice and sushi vinegar get ready, move rice into a Handai (wooden rice container). Pour sushi vinegar evenly and mix with a rice spatula in a cutting motion. It would be good to mix as if to get each rice grain coated with vinegar.

Wash the Handai and rice spatula in water and drain well. By this the wood will contain the water and prevent rice getting sticky. You can use a big bowl instead though if you don’t have Handai.

Once the rice and vinegar are mixed well, place a wrung cloth over the Handai to prevent the rice getting dry. This process is very common in sushi restaurants.

2.Prepare wasabi

Sushi chefs grind wasabi using a grater with fine blades to optimize its flavor.

You are lucky if you can get fresh wasabi. Sushi chefs grind wasabi using a grater with fine blades, such as Tsuboe graters and Sharkskin graters, to optimize its flavor.

Tsuboe and Sharkskin graters to optimize wasabi flavor.

Wasabi has bactericidal effects and it has been used for prevention of food poisoning since the Edo Period when there was no advanced preservation technique. Even in this modern era, when we have advanced preservation and transportation techniques, wasabi is still used and adored as ancestors' wisdom. However, now it is used more like for flavor, rather than antibacterial purposes.

3.Prepare main ingredients

Prepare your favorite seafood such as tuna and salmon.

Prepare your favorite seafood such as tuna salmon, squid and shellfish. Besides these ingredients, beef is often used recently. Get your favorite ingredients and make your own Sushi!

Common ingredients are tuna, salmon, salmon roe, crab, scallops, squid, sea urchin, shrimp, and egg.

4.Shape sushi

Now we’re ready to shape sushi! Before starting, prepare vinegared water.

Vinegared water is made of vinegar and water at a ratio of 1:1. It is used to wet hands before shaping sushi. Vinegar is believed to lower the temperature of hands. If the hands are too warm, the rice would be sticky in hands and cannot be shaped well. Also, freshness of raw ingredients would be lost. So, it is important to wet hands in vinegared water before shaping sushi.

When vinegared rice, wasabi, ingredients and vinegared water get ready, it’s time to proceed to shaping sushi.

1.Hold the right amount of rice in right hand.

Hold the right amount of rice in right hand.

Wet hands in vinegared water and scoop the right amount of rice (approx. 15g) from Handai and hold it in right hand. Round it gently, not grab it, as if to put much air in it.

2.Prepare main ingredients

Apply wasabi to the ingredients.

Place an ingredient on left palm, around base of the finger, and apply wasabi to the backside of the ingredient with the right index finger.

3.Put the rounded rice to the ingredient.

Put the rounded rice to the ingredient.

Put the rounded rice to the ingredient, and push the left thumb into the rice to make a slight dent so that it gets loose smoothly in mouth when eaten.

4.Shape the sushi

Finally, shape the sushi.

Use the left hand as a mold. Gently push the sushi into the left hand with the right index and middle fingers to shape it. Also shape the sushi from the side using the left thumb. It is very important to not push too strongly.

Gently hold the sushi to shape.

Turn the sushi upside down, and do the same again.

To finish up, quickly adjust the shape.

To finish up, quickly adjust the shape.

Place all sushi on the plate. It is interesting that how they look varies depending on the plate they are on. Professional sushi chefs even choose the plate carefully to express their own taste, atmosphere, or style.

Professional sushi chefs even choose the plate carefully.

If you make it something special, it is recommend to use tinware. The plate in the picture above is a tin plate made by Nousaku, a long-established casting manufacturer.

Sushi has infinite potentials.

Sushi is rich in variety. It’s all up to you which and how much vinegar, sugar and salt to use or how to prepare ingredients etc. It is the fun of sushi that in sushi you can see chef’s own taste, senses of beauty as well as their own style.

Why don’t you try to make sushi by yourself and discover the new aspect of yourself?