How to make nigiri sushi at homeThe archetypal sushi is “nigiri sushi” (or nigiri-zushi in Japanese) which means “finger sushi.” It is a simple slice of raw fish (or the topping of your choice), called the “neta” or sometimes “tane” on a piece of rolled up, seasoned rice, often with a dash of wasabi under the neta. When people say “sushi” this is often the most commonly conjured image. This is actually the most easily made type of sushi (although perhaps sashimi is easier, but we’ll address that elsewhere) and once you do it a few times, you should quickly mater the art of making nigiri sushi.
The following steps should help you ease into making your own nigiri sushi with minimal effort, and you will be surprised at how easily you will be able to make this sushi at home once you make a few. We suggest the following methods for flawless nigiri sushi.
- Keep your hands moist. Sushi rice is sticky (as it should be) so keeping your hands moist as you are working with the rice will be an important part of the process, unless you’d like a rice glove instead of a nicely formed bed of rice for your fish.
- The right amount of rice. You are going to want to take just enough rich to slightly fill the palm of your hand, think about two tablespoons. Judging the right amount may take some time, but after a few, you will feel what the right amount is.
- Form the rice. You want to form the rice into an oblong rectangular shape, almost like a log. You will want it to be about 2 inches long and an inch high and an inch thick. Be careful as you press the rice into shape as you want to retain some of the air in the rice so that it will not become too dense, and will have the proper texture while chewing.
- Place your fish. Some people prefer a dab of wasabi on the rice before they place the neta (topping) on the rice, while some don’t. It is entirely up to you. In a sushi restaurant, the itamae will often place the amount he deems correct, based on the fish being used, but the choice is yours. If you are using sushi fish (rather than a non-fish item) you will want to have it prepared, sliced against the grain, traditionally about 2 inches long, 3/ of an inch wide, and 1/8 or an inch thick. However while there are perceived traditional sizes, sometimes we like to go overboard, so please feel free to do so your self. When your fish is in place, you will have your tastiest and perhaps most artistic expression of food you have ever created.