August 29, 2023
Make sushi at home with instructions from executive chef Haruhiko Takeshita of Sushi Roku inside The Forum Shop at Caesars. Chef Takeshita shares how to make sushi step-by-step for a fun night in with a romantic interest, friends, family or solo. Learn from chef Takeshita the sushi-making process.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
- Vinyl or latex gloves
- Sharpened non-serrated yanagiba knife, a sharpened butcher knife may suffice
- Cutting board
- Bowl of distilled or purified water
- Saran wrap
- Cooked sticky rice
- Fresh sushi-grade fish kept cool on a bed of ice or in the fridge until ready for use
- Shellfish mixes of crab, shrimp or lobster
- Sauces like ponzu, eel and spicy mayo
- Nori sheets
- Vegetables or fruits like cucumber, avocado and lemon
- Sushi rolling mat
- Sesame seeds
- Fresh ginger, wasabi and soy sauce, as desired
Step 2: Prepare
Lay out supplies. Wash hands and dry thoroughly before putting on latex or vinyl gloves. While chef Takeshita does not detail how to make a shellfish mix, you can follow this spicy tuna recipe or this crab mix recipe to make your own from scratch. Keep the mix cold while completing the following steps.
Step 3: Lay Rice on Nori Sheets
Grab a seaweed sheet to lay flat horizontally on a clean, dry surface like a cutting board or butcher's block. Wet the gloves on your hands in the bowl of water before grabbing a handful of sticky rice. Ensure your gloves are wet before handling sticky rice since the rice clings to dry surfaces.
Smush the sticky rice onto the seaweed sheet and flush the rice to the edges and corners of the nori sheet. Level out the rice and pack in sparse edges to keep a consistent thickness throughout to the very edges. Wet hands as needed if the rice begins to stick to your fingers.
Step 4: Add the Inner Ingredients
Take a handful of crab mix, spicy tuna mix or a filling of your choice and smush the mix into a cylindrical shape slightly smaller than a stick of butter. Lay the mix lengthwise in the middle of the rice layer on top of the nori sheet.
Adjust the shape to extend the ends of the mix to the full length of the nori sheet, like a hotdog in an open bun, with the mix being the hotdog and the open bun being the rice-lined nori sheet. Add vegetables, fruits or spices inside as you please. Avocado may be a great addition to the inside of your maki roll.
Step 5: Roll and Tuck
Pinch the corners of the rice-lined nori sheet closest to you with your index fingers on the top side with rice and thumbs on the bottom side with nori. Chef Takeshita instructs, "Fold it up, tuck it in and then roll it."
In more detail, while you pinch the two corners closest to you, use the middle fingers to hold the mix in place as you fold the rice-lined nori sheet over the top of the cylindrical mix in the middle. Use your fingers to fold the roll underneath itself and roll it away from you tight and snug.
Step 6: Slice Fish
Chef Takeshita recommends slicing fish by holding a slab of fish steady with one hand while using the other to cut in one smooth motion from the bottom of the blade to the top of the knife in a diagonal direction. A non-serrated sharpened knife like a yanagiba knife will perform best at this task. Chef Takeshita suggests light to medium pressure when slicing, as hard pressure may squish the fish rather than slice it cleanly.
Chef Takeshita warns against dragging the knife back and forth, which may interfere with a clean cut. Remember to begin cutting the fish at the bottom of the blade and to smoothly slice up the length of the blade for the most pristine cut pieces. Lay four slices of fish evenly on top of the roll.
Chill unused fish immediately. Use and consume sushi-grade fish same day of purchase for peak freshness. You may lay cooked shrimp cut crosswise down the length on top of the roll instead of fish pieces or add thinly sliced lemon pieces on top for a zesty roll.
Step 7: Tighten with Rolling Mat
Grab a piece of saran wrap roughly 8 x 11 inches or larger to lay flat over the sushi roll. Grab your rolling mat and lay it over the saran wrap-covered sushi roll. Pinch the mat snugly around the roll a few times.
Line the end of the rolling mat to the end of the roll and flush the end of the roll to the edge of the mat to compact the end of the roll; repeat for the other end. Remove the rolling mat, but leave the saran wrap snug on the sushi roll to help with the final steps.
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Step 8: Cut the Roll into 8 Pieces
Hold the sushi roll still covered in the tight saran wrap to the cutting board with one hand. Take a clean, non-serrated, sharpened knife like a yanagiba knife and with light to medium pressure, slice directly in the middle in one smooth slice from the bottom of the blade up the length of the blade.
Chef Takeshita's tips for pristine cutting of the fish pieces also apply here. Repeat this process by cutting directly down the middle of the two halves, resulting in four equal sections of the roll. Repeat down the center of each of those four sections, resulting in eight even pieces.
Step 9: Dress and Present Maki Roll
The saran wrap should still be in place to help transport the eight cut pieces of the roll from the cutting board to a long serving dish. Place the serving plate directly next to the sushi roll. Keep the cut pieces together with both hands as you grab the roll to place on the long plate.
Remove the saran wrap and slant your sushi roll for restaurant-worthy placement. Top with fixings like chopped scallions, chives, sesame seeds and sauces. Grab some chopsticks and enjoy!*Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase the risk of foodborne illnesses