How To Make Nigiri Sushi


A Beginner’s Guide to Making Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri sushi is one of the most recognizable types of sushi. Its ingredients are simple: sushi rice, toppings (typically raw fish or seafood), and wasabi. In this guide, we’ve laid out how to prepare each of these components before putting them all together. In no time at all, you’ll be able to make your own nigiri sushi!

How to Make Sushi Rice

  1. Prepare the sushi vinegar that will be added to the cooked rice. Combine vinegar, salt, and sugar in a pan and heat. Continuously stir the ingredients until the sugar and salt dissolve.
  2. Transfer the cooked rice into a wetted idai, a traditional wooden bowl that keeps the rice moist throughout the mixing process. If you don’t have an idai, you can use a regular bowl.
  3. Add the sushi vinegar to the rice and mix until combined.
  4. Use a fan to cool the rice and remove excess water. When it is cool enough to touch, cover the rice with a paper towel or kitchen cloth to prevent it from drying out.

How to Prepare Nigiri Sushi Toppings

For beginners, we recommend starting out with fish like salmon and tuna.

  1. Wrap the fish in a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  2. Place the fish on your cutting board so the fish fibers run from the upper right to the lower left of the board.
  3. You always cut fish against the grain so the pieces don’t fall apart. Position your knife so it is about perpendicular to the grain of the fish and slice diagonally. Your pieces should be triangular, with a thickness of about 3mm and width roughly 3cm. The raw fish is quite delicate, so it’s best to make as few slices as possible and pull the strip forward as you cut it.

How to Make Fresh Wasabi

If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a wasabi rhizome, this is how you transform it into the familiar wasabi paste that often accompanies sushi!

  1. Remove the stems from the wasabi rhizome using your hands.
  2. With a kitchen knife, gently peel the rhizome skin. You don’t have to do this perfectly, as long as you remove the dirt from the plant with a brush.
  3. Using a grater, grind the wasabi plant into paste with a circular motion. Serve the wasabi as soon as possible, as it begins losing its pungent, nuanced flavor within minutes of preparing.

How to Make Nigiri Sushi

  1. In order to prevent the sushi rice from sticking to your fingers, you’ll have to keep your hands moist throughout the shaping process. In a small bowl, prepare your hand vinegar (tezu) – water diluted with a small amount of vinegar.
  2. Take a small portion of sushi rice into your moistened hand. Using the palm of your hand and your fingers, rotate and shape the rice into a rounded, rectangular block.
  3. Dab a small amount of wasabi in the center of the long side of your rice block. The wasabi will help stick the sushi topping to the rice.
  4. Lastly, place the raw fish or other sushi toppings you prepared flat on top of the wasabi and rice.
  5. Your first nigiri sushi is done! With practice, assembling your nigiri sushi will get easier and easier.

You can learn how to make sushi!