Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy that embraces the imperfect, ephemeral, and incomplete. I'm always screwing something up, but it often comes out more beautiful, more instructive, and more fun for it. Come make mistakes with me!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Tonight's adventure: sushi!  We cracked out the wedding-gift sushi set (only a year and a half later ...) and got to it.  The hubs and I have been dreaming about hosting sushi parties, so we figured step 1 was actually figuring out how to make it.  And you know what?  It's ridiculously easy.

One caveat, for the sushi gourmet  - when I say "sushi", I mean "maki rolls."  More specifically, I mean maki rolls made without any raw fish.  I love raw fish in my maki at very high-quality restaurants, but I just doubt that I can get and safely work with sushi-grade fish when I'm 2000 miles from the ocean.

So, anyway, veggie maki rolls are really easy!

We hauled out the bamboo mat, which I thought would be hard to work with but wasn't.  Our mystery sources (i.e. YouTube) recommended covering the mat in plastic wrap to minimize sticking.  Sticky sushi rice is really, seriously sticky.  Who would have thought.

Then lay out a sheet of seaweed.  We got some really nice nori at the local co-op.  My husband swears everything there is organic, although I'm skeptical about the existence of certified organic seaweed.  Apparently darker color = better quality.  (Thanks again, YouTube.)


Fill a small bowl with water and get your hands wet.  This is by far the most important step if you don't want to wind up with sushi rice stuck all over EVERYTHING.  Then, with wet hands, grab a hunk of your prepared sushi rice (we used this recipe from Alton Brown) and press it firmly into your nori.

Go pretty much all the way to the edges, but leave a little space - maybe half an inch or so - at the end, so you won't squish rice out the end when you make the roll. 

Place fillings at one end (we made cucumber roll for me, and Philadelphia roll - cream cheese and lox - for the hubby.)
Then roll!  Your first roll you need to move somewhat quickly - don't rush, just don't hesitate.  You're trying to completely enclose the fillings.  After you roll, make the roll tight by squeezing the bamboo mat at the bottom of the new roll (where my fingers are in the pic below.)

Repeat until you're all the way at the edge ...

Then lift the mat away, and voila!  It's like magic!

To make eight even pieces (we tried six the first time, and the pieces were HUGE.  We couldn't fit them in our mouths.  This resulted in some hilarious photos of my hubby with half a piece hanging out of his mouth, which I will not be sharing because I like being married.)  Anywho, to make eight even pieces, we're going to cut the roll in half several times.  Use a wet knife to avoid sticking!  First cut it in half once and line the halves up.



(Note that these are the first batch of uber-huge rolls.  That's why they're already starting to unroll - the small ones, which we cut smaller and used less rice for, held together much better.)  

It looks beautiful like this for a few minutes, but then it's so nummy that it will shortly look like this:


  1. This is so wonderful!! I think I might try this sometime in the future! Too bad there isn't a way to ensure that raw fish is safe to eat so far away =/

  2. I hope you do try it, Alison - it's lots of fun!

    As for the raw fish - there probably are safe ways to get it and prepare it in your home kitchen, no matter where you live. I'm just paranoid :-)

  3. Beautiful Job! I wish I was with you to enjoy making and eating them together. (Needless to say, I have my own equipments for this type of operation. But my bamboo makisu is not as fancy as yours.)

    As to raw fish, I might be able to find frozen sashime delivery service online. Japanese can not survive for long without them, you know.:)

  4. I wish I could share this with you too, Keiko! I'm sure your technique would put mine to shame.

    I had no idea you could get frozen sashime delivery! I will have to look into that.

  5. Awesome!!!! Thanks for posting--I have all the tools to make this, I just haven't yet. My Taiwanese MIL will be impressed!

  6. I love sushi and would love to try this!

  7. SUSHI is my favorite!!!! thank you so much for posting this:) love it

  8. Enjoy! And if you don't all already have the mats and such like Brandi, they're pretty inexpensive and easy to get at kitchen stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond.