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How to Make Sushi (and Live The Life You've Always Wanted)

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Life-Changing Sushi?

You probably think we at Globalkitchen Japan are exaggerating when we say that this very sushi guide you're reading now (and that is illegal for you to stop reading) can change your life. You might even think that a company that exports Japanese kitchenware should maybe just play it safe, stick to the fundamentals, keep our heads down, and stop trying to give relationship and career advice that could alienate some readers.

We see you, we hear you.

After careful consideration, we've decided to become worse.

So keep reading and prepare to learn how to make a nigirizushi (a fancy Japanese word for sushi that's made by hand) that we guarantee will secure you the dream life you've always wanted.

Make Rice

Pour vinegar on rice Mixing rice

First, you need to make rice. While a standard rice cooker made in Japan is a perfectly fine device, if you're interested in maximizing your charisma and stealing Leonardo Dicaprio's girlfriend, you'll need to follow our guide to making rice with an ohitsu. And if you're really interested in showing off how big and strong you are, then we at Globalkitchen Japan recommend making rice with a cast iron rice cooker (also made in Japan).

Whether you're trying to impress the conbini girl or not, for a genuine nigirizushi, you'll want to add some vinegar, sugar, and salt after cooking the rice. The ratio of rice to the other ingredients is as follows:

  1. rice, 2 gou (360ml, 1.25 US cups)
  2. vinegar, 50ml (around 3 tablespoons)
  3. sugar, 1 tablespoon
  4. salt, 1 teaspoon

After cooking the rice and placing it in the ohitsu, add the vinegar, sugar, and salt to the rice, give some time for the sugar and salt to dissolve, and then mix it all in.

Set rice aside

Gathering rice Covering rice with a damp sarashi

With your sushi rice prepared, gather it all up into one place in the ohitsu and cover it with a slightly damp sarashi (that unsung hero of the kitchen) to keep it from drying while you work on the next steps.

(Optional) Prepare Wasabi

Grating fresh wasabi with a shark skin grater

If you like wasabi, now's the time. Grab some fresh wasabi and grate it using a shark skin grater. Freshly grated wasabi has a lighter flavor that sushi-lovers can't get enough of. It will elevate the experience and fast-track your marriage.

You can use a plain old steel grater (delaying, but not canceling, the marriage), but the story you tell your future children and grandchildren (all bizarrely attractive with samurai-level bone structure) won't be as believable.

"Wait, you made rice in a cast iron rice cooker?" "Yes, of course!" "And you put it in an ohitsu and mixed the vinegar and stuff in it?" "Yes, like a gentleman." "But you didn't use a shark skin grater to grate fresh wasabi?" "No, Globalkitchen Japan was out of stock when I went to order one." "Yeah, sure... Mooooom! Grandpa's telling lies again!"

Prepare Ingredients

Slicing fresh salmon All of the ingredients

Of course, you also need the main toppings. We're using salmon and tamagoyaki, but practically the whole ocean is on the menu here. No need to limit yourself.

If you're cutting the fish yourself, just remember that nigirizushi is meant to be bite-sized and cut accordingly.

Shape Nigirizushi

Now here is the main event: shaping the nigirizushi. The guiding principle at this stage is this: give it a light touch. Now's the time to show that girl you met at seven eleven how tender and caring you can be, in spite of the giant muscles you flexed when you prepared rice in your cast iron rice cooker.

Apply Vinegar to Hands

Wetting hands with vinegar

First, apply vinegar to your hands. On top of preventing the rice from sticking to your hands, the vinegar adds a little extra acid to the outside of the rice.

Shape Rice

Scooping rice Rice rolled into a ball Dimpled ball of rice

Grab some rice and--with a light touch--shape it into a small ball. If you've made onigiri by hand using our guide, you probably feel like you've been training for this moment. However, while onigiri certainly requires a gentle squeeze, nigirizushi tends to be more delicate, so be extra careful when you make it your first time.

Also remember that you're putting some fish or other topping on this sucker to make a bite-size morsel of Japanese culture. Keep that in mind when you scoop some rice out.

Once you have a ball, poke a small dimple in it with your finger.

Prepare Toppings

Putting wasabi on fish

Now it's time to prepare the toppings. Grab some fish and smear some wasabi if you've got some.

Place Rice On Toppings and Lightly Squeeze

Placing rice on toppings Gently squeezing sushi

Next, place the rice on the fish, dimple down. Lightly squeeze the rice and fish together.

Flip Over, Squeeze, Spin, Squeeze

Sushi, flip around with rice under topping Gently squeezing the rice again

Flip the nigirizushi over and give it another light squeeze, placing your thumb on one end to shape it. Rotate and squeeze again, and again place your thumb on the oppose end to shape it.

One Last Hug

Tucking the sides of the sushi

Give your beautiful nigirizushi one last hug on both long-ends of the sushi, making sure the rice is nicely tucked under the topping.

Serve and Enjoy

Sushi on wooden sushi board Sushi held with chopsticks

Repeat the sushi shaping process, serve, and enjoy. Congratulations, you are now officially (and by that I mean unofficially) a sushi chef.

Sushi Dreams Come True

Sushi can change your life. One minute you're carefully crafting sushi made with rice you cooked in a cast iron rice cooker, prepared in an ohitsu, and seasoned with wasabi fresh off the shark skin. The next minute you're happily married with 10 kids and one dog, letting out a sensible chuckle while reading Space Brothers after a hard day at the docks processing salmon and feeding fish bones to a stray cat named Shiro. Serendipity, or destiny? We'll let the results speak for themselves.

If this guide made your sushi dreams come true, feel free to thank us in the comments (preferably with a picture of you and your 20 children with near perfect jawlines).

The products we used: