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6 Essential Tools For Sushi Making At Home

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6 Essential Tools For Sushi Making At Home

Sushi is a delicious treat with a base of specially prepared rice and other ingredients, such as raw fish, cooked fish, imitation crab, seaweed, avocado and cucumber. Although sushi originated in Japan, this delectable cuisine is now enjoyed in nations across the world.

However, good quality sushi tends to be pricey, so satisfying any cravings at restaurants can be detrimental to an avid sushi fan's finances. Reduce your sushi spending by making, serving and enjoying it at home. Besides the proper ingredients, you will need the following tools:

1. Rice Cooker

Rice is the main ingredient of all types of sushi. Thinly sliced raw fish without rice is often mistaken as sushi, but is actually called “sashimi.”

To make sushi rice, which is rice with salt, sugar, rice vinegar and possibly sake, you will need a rice cooker. A rice cooker makes for perfectly cooked white rice, and you can also enjoy extra features such as an attached steamer or a “warming” function after the rice has already cooked. If you would rather not spend money on a rice cooker, you can also boil and cook rice in a medium sized saucepan.

For extra-clean rice, consider purchasing a specialized rice washing bowl. Regular colanders and strainers tend to be unsuitable and frustrating because the holes may be too large, permitting rice to escape when under pressurized water flow.

2. Hangiri/Wooden Rice Bowl

A hangiri (also known as handai) is a flat-bottomed, round wooden barrel or tub used in traditional sushi making. Made of cypress wood and bound with two copper bands, it absorbs moisture and quickly cools down freshly cooked rice. It also serves as a container to toss regular, cooked white rice with ingredients necessary to make superior quality sushi rice. Use a wooden rice paddle as a tool to help the tossing and mixing process.

Proper care of a hangiri includes washing with soapy water immediately after use and storing in an area with adequate air circulation for proper drying and mold prevention.

Because hangiris can be pricy, a large plastic bowl is a suitable alternative. However, avoid metallic bowls because vinegar can react with metal and cause a disagreeable taste.

3. Bamboo Rolling Mat

A rolling mat called a “makisu” consists of thin bamboo strips tied together with cotton string. When used, this mat helps to uphold even pressure to all sides of the sushi. These bamboo mats usually measure about 9.5 inches by 9.5 inches, but sizes can vary. If offered a mat with thicker bamboo strips and thinner bamboo strips, go for the more versatile, thick mat. Also, look for a rolling mat with one flat side and one rounded side for easier use.

A rolling mat is typically used to roll nori (toasted seaweed sheets) around sushi rice and fillings. If preparing an inside-out roll (rice on the outside and the nori on the inside), wrap the mat with plastic wrap so rice does not stick to it.

To prevent bacteria and mold growth, be sure to clean the bamboo mat meticulously by rinsing it with hot, soapy water and then air drying it thoroughly.

4. Sushi Roll Molds

If the bamboo rolling mat method isn’t quite cutting it, a plastic mold will make things easier. This wooden sushi press mold is made of pine wood and three components. Assemble the walls and the bottom, add rice and toppings and then use the top to press into the sushi. Finally, remove the top to cut the sushi before serving. 

For a larger and round sushi roll, try the Sushezi for “perfect sushi make easy.” The plastic press mold even works for other rolled goods, such as fudge rolls and cake rolls.

5. Sashimi Knife

To cut blocks of raw fish, it’s best to use a proper knife specially made for the job. A stainless steel, sashimi knife possesses a razor sharp edge to neatly and quickly slice through raw fish. These Japanese knives typically are only honed on the right side. Quality pieces run up to $400, but a cheaper and more basic sashimi knife is adequate for beginner sushi making.

6. Sushi Serving And Dinnerware

Once you have made your sushi masterpiece, don’t forget an equally beautiful way to serve the meal. This bamboo sushi board set includes a 6- by 10.5-inch burnished bamboo board, a porcelain sauce dish and chopsticks. Or if you will have a guest joining you, check out this Sushi Service for Two set, which comes with two serving plates, two dipping bowls and two sets of chopsticks. The decorative set has an adorable figurine that fits in with the overall dining experience.

General Tips

  • When working with and eating raw fish, always buy sushi grade fish and other seafood. Avoid cross contamination and exposure to any bacteria by careful handling of raw fish and utensils/dishware that touch the raw fish.
  • Keep hands moist when making sushi to prevent rice from sticking to skin.
  • Keep a small bowl or container of water nearby to moisten the nori and keep a filled roll closed.
  • Do not overstuff rolls with excessive fillings; otherwise, the roll will not hold a neat, desired shape.
  • When using the bamboo mat, press the mat gently over the roll with an even pressure.
  • When using the sashimi knife, slightly wet the blade to aid in a clean cut and to keep from crushing the roll.

Make sushi at home for a more affordable meal and enjoy it within the confines of your own home. Complete your homemade meal with traditional Japanese green tea or even the fun activity of sake bombs! 

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