DIY Sushi at Home: A Video Collaboration


DIY Sushi at Home - A Video

A food blogger friend I’ve never met in person recently observed that it seems Japanese is my favorite cuisine. My obsession is THAT transparent. Back in college, you would never have guessed that 10 years down the line, I’d have fallen so hard into a sushi love affair to the point of making DIY sushi at home WHENEVER POSSIBLE.

This infatuation with sushi and its rhythmic process make it an obvious choice for dabbling with video. For today’s sushi post, Alanna from The Bojon Gourmet and I teamed up to make our very first food video based on our mutual sushi love affair: How to Sushi.

My first experience with sushi came just weeks into my freshman year of college when my hallmate got invited to sushi on Sunset Boulevard and brought me along for a double date. My jaw dropped at the prices on the menu and I only sampled one bite of sushi just to be polite (ritzy sushi was totally wasted on my naive palate).

As our table company kept ordering more sushi and more sake (apparently 21+ is just a guideline?), I got increasingly more anxious about what would happen when the $300 bill came. Turns out we’d hit the town with a wealthy foreign heir (who would later go on to date Paris Hilton), and our dates covered the tab (and the $100 roundtrip cab fare) without batting an eye. If this is what sushi costs, I thought, I fold.

Then I spent the next four years eating way too much cheap pre-packaged dining hall sushi.

DIY Sushi Rolls at Home

The omakase from our honeymoon has since overshadowed all those sad sushi experiences. Fortunately, we have a sushi-grade fish market around the corner, because if given the choice between that or the bargain sushi down the street, we’ll always opt to make it at home with high-quality fish.

Sushi-Grade FishHomemade SushiDIY Sushi at Home

Ever since our foray into chickpea pasta, Alanna and I have been adding to a decades-long to-do list of collaborative food projects. I pray she’s writing it down, because otherwise the ideas live amidst miles of texts and months of late-night Facebook chats. This current one, though, topped the list before there even was a list – as soon as Alanna spied a DIY Sushi Rolls kit getting dusty on the top shelf of my cabinet and I admitted that it hadn’t been used because we already make sushi on the regular (sans kit).

I might as well have been singing a love song to her taste buds because they didn’t let me forget the promise of a sushi night. Especially when said sushi night came with homemade oboro tofu.

DIY Sushi at HomeDIY Sushi Roll at HomeDIY Sushi RollHomemade SushiSushi Roll Roe

Let’s clarify something. While Lucas and I make sushi often, we usually stick with whatever sushi-grade fish looks fresh + cucumber + avocado (+ roe when we’re feeling fancy). Boom, sushi.

Alanna hears sushi and starts spinning her wheels about all the colorful veggies she can stuff inside – shiso leaves, mushrooms, egg (tomago), sprouts, scallions, and pickled carrots, purple daikon, and watermelon radishes. If ever there was someone to invite to a sushi fest!

DIY Sushi Rolls at Home

With her friend Amelia along, the three of us dispersed at the Monterey Market one Sunday afternoon to pick out sushi veggies. And because we have no self-control when let loose in a produce paradise, each of us separately filled up baskets. This is exactly what sushi night should look like – a rainbow of matchsticks splayed across the table.

Homemade Quick PicklesSushi Quick Pickles

Piling layers of veggies inside makes each roll taste unique and oh-so-fresh. Sushi night at our house will now forever include homemade quick pickles with our favored amberjack, but the great thing about sushi is that with a boatload of filling options, you can tailor your sushi roll to your personal tastes.

Not a fan of avocado? (Who are you?!) No problem, leave it out! Throw in something else wild like bell peppers! And if you’re vegetarian, replace the fish with mushrooms or egg.

DIY Sushi at HomeHomemade Sushi

Check out Alanna’s post from our sushi date for the killer vegetarian options shown below and the recipe for the vibrant quick pickles.

Homemade Vegetarian Sushi

*All photos and video were styled and shot in collaboration with Alanna

DIY Sushi at Home: A Video Collaboration
Sushi Rice
  • 2 cups sushi rice, thoroughly rinsed and drained well
  • 2 cups water
  • 2¼ tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Sushi Rolls
  • 4-5 sheets of nori*, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 or 2 - ¼-pound blocks of sushi-grade fish - I used meguro (tuna) and kanpachi (amberjack)
  • 1 Japanese cucumber - peeled, sliced lengthwise, seeds scraped out, and cut into thin long strips
  • 1-2 avocado, peeled sliced into thin strips
  • 1 large handful pea shoots or kaiware sprouts
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, sautéed in sesame oil
  • 1 jar of matchstick quick pickled carrots, daikon, and/or radish (recipe at The Bojon Gourmet)
  • Optional: Roe, for garnish
  • For serving: tamari or soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi
  • 1 bamboo mat, covered in plastic wrap or (my personal favorite) slipped into a gallon-sized ziploc bag
Sushi Rice
  1. Cook the rice and water in a rice cooker. (Alternatively, if you don't have a rice cooker, bring the rice and water to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 more minutes.)
  2. Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer it to a glass bowl. While the rice is still warm, add the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and gently stir with a wooden spoon to distribute it evenly.
  3. Let stand until cool.
Sushi Rolls (Watch the video above to see steps in action!)
  1. Set a bowl of water and a towel nearby for your hands.
  2. Lay a half-sheet of nori shiny side down on the bottom edge of the bamboo mat.
  3. Lightly moisten your hands in the water bowl and grab a handful of seasoned rice (about ½-¾ cup). Gently press and spread the rice evenly over the nori, going all the way to the top and side edges, but leaving a 1-inch gap uncovered at the bottom edge. The rice should cover the nori, but should not be too thick - you should be able to see the nori through the rice.
  4. Sprinkle a few pinches of toasted sesame seeds over the rice.
  5. Flip the prepared nori rice-side down, lining the 1-inch uncovered gap up with the edge of the bamboo mat closest to you.
  6. Lay strips of your favorite sushi and/or veggies lengthwise across the middle of the nori.
  7. Use the bamboo mat to roll the bottom edge of the nori over the filling, tucking the nori in to firmly enclose the filling.
  8. Open the mat gently and lay it over the roll again, and firmly roll forward until the sushi is tightly rolled. Roll the sushi roll up in the mat once more, pressing to even out the roll.
  9. Lightly moisten a sharp knife and slice the roll into 8 pieces, using a gentle sawing motion. Optional: top the cut side of each piece of sushi with roe.
  10. Repeat until you've used all of your sushi rice.

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  1. A fabulous, collaborative video of beloved sushi in the making… Your and Alanna’s first (unbelievable) video is a smashing success and the photographs to highlight the moments are, as always, stunning and inspirational! I’d love to come hang out to see YOUR process, Sarah, and/or the two of you working together. Poetry. If it were me, I’d go with the vegetarian variety and of course, pack it full of avocado, sprouts and the like. I love sushi, but the closest place to get it that’s any good is two, yes TWO, hours away (sob). I feel ready to tackle DIY sushi at home! Congratulations, Sara! Can’t wait to see more video!

    • Thank you so much, Traci! It’s so much fun to collaborate with people in the kitchen, especially someone as magical as Alanna. Oh man – 2 hours?! I wouldn’t survive. I’m already mourning my 9 months free of sushi if/when I’m pregnant. I’ll be eating so much veggie sushi!

  2. Veronica says:

    Such beautiful colors! Had sushi for the first time at Sarah and Lucas’s home and it was so delicious and they are the perfect host! Love your food blog and this wonderful video! Thank you Snixy Kitchen and The Bojon Gourmet for you wonderful recipes!

  3. So fun and so bright! What a great first video, Sarah. Like I can’t believe this is your FIRST! I can’t wait to see what’s to come :)

  4. Jenna says:

    I just recently discovered sushi! There’s a guy at the grocery store I shop at that makes it all day long and he’s very good. I love it with crab meat, avocado and cucumber and a little spicy sauce on top of it. Yum! It’s even better with some toasted coconut flakes.

  5. Such a great first video, Sarah! I love sushi but have never made it at home. You guys made it look so easy!

  6. Sarah!!! oh my gawd, I LOVE this video!!! My dad has owned and operated sushi restaurants in Dallas for like the past 20 years. . so I’ve always been a sushi lover. . it wasn’t until maybe a few years ago that I made my own at home. . and for Valentine’s Day, we actually had a DIY sushi and rolls party! Your sushi looks fabulous and I love that you and Alanna pickled your own veggies!! That’s the way to do, yo!! LOVE this video!

  7. Dane H. says:

    This looks awesome. I loved the video too!

  8. Hah, this post reminds me of how I felt when I ate sushi at fancy restaurants for the first time (vs. Safeway/Albertsons grab-and-go sushi). I was flumoxed! Why didn’t it cost $6-8 for a roll?

    Absolutely LOVE this video! Totally going to share this everywhere!

  9. What a great video, Sarah! You two are pretty awesome. These photos are beautiful!! Sounds like you had quite the introduction to sushi. ;) Mine was on a first date in college – had no idea what I was getting into – but have been a sushi fan ever since!

  10. That sushi (and your pictures) looks mouthwatering and gorgeous! So jealous you and Alanna can have cooking dates!

  11. Awesome first video! Love the photos and love the story. That’s quite the intro to sushi!

  12. Nancy says:

    Awesome story about your first time eating sushi. I still haven’t had my first time (ahem). But I did take a bite of raw tuna (I forget the technical term of what was on the menu). It reminded me a bit like the texture of tomatoes. I didn’t mind it, but I think if I thought of what I was eating, it would turn my stomach. Sarah, I have to say – you have to do more videos! I loved the editing and music, I didn’t want it to end :) :) :) And of course as always… your photos are phenomenal. On a blog yes, but could be right out of a magazine. Even though that’s over-said. It’s true.

    • WHATTTTTT – YOU HAVEN’T HAD SUSHI?!?!?! We need to have a sushi date PRONTO.

      Also – thank you so much for your sweet words, Nancy! You’re making me blush big time over here:)

  13. What an awesome collaboration! I’m totally your newest fan, and I love your blog! I’m also totally inspired to make some sushi. More videos!

  14. Such beautiful photos! I love sushi, but I’ve never tried making it at home. I guess that’s all about to change. Next girls’ night: sushi, wine and movies! Not guaranteed to be as beautiful as your creations, but I’m sure it will be fun :)
    Also, I love you two pairing up for things! Wish I had a bloggie friend who lived closer!

  15. Love the video Sarah! And I love the sushi (and your photography of it) even more so. Just perfect!

  16. Oh my gosh. SARAH! I freaking LOVE this post so much! The photography is absolutely gorgeous, the video is awesome and geez, girl you’ve got me craving sushi at only 7am!

  17. Ahhhh!!! This is absolutely magical! Please make more! What a sweet collaboration–also, you now have me craving sushi like a crazy person :)

  18. Amanda Paa says:

    this video is just the best! we went out for sushi on valentine’s day and i’m thinking how fun and romantic it would have been to make it at home together. thanks for the inspiration, you guys are so talented, xo.

  19. amazing you guys!! so inspiring. sushi is one of my favorite foods of all time and you make it look super easy. have you tried the bonita fish market yet?

  20. Even though you make it looks easy enough, I would not dare thinking that it would turn out as good as this one. This looks fantastic, and I love the VDO so so so much.

    Ladies, you have outdone yourselves!!! <3 <3 <3

  21. Wow, this is amazing! Thank you so much for the tutorial on this gorgeous sushi.

  22. Min says:

    Ever since you told me you were making this video, I’ve been waiting..and waiting with much anticipation! OMGawd it’’s…AMAZING!!! You two ladies sure are a force to be reckoned with. I wish I could frolic around the market with you, filling our baskets to our hearts content ;). Truth be told, Tim and I only eat sushi when my dad’s in town. He likes to spoil us hehe. Otherwise, we just make kimbap.

  23. This is SO gorgeous! I love the idea of those pretty rainbow pickled veggies! Love the video too! Love everything about this! :)

  24. This is seriously the most beautiful sushi ever! I love all the pretty colors of the pickled vegetables. Good job, ladies!

  25. Jessica says:

    Sushi has always seemed like magic to me — I just assumed some kind of wizardry was involved that normal humans could not achieve on their own. Watching this video is SO encouraging! And adorable! Good job Sarah & Allana — let’s have a sushi night asap =)

  26. You guys are the best! I love your collaborations and wish I could join! I think these are some of the prettiest sushi I’ve ever seen, with all those vibrant beautiful veggies in there!

  27. Aaw, what a fun day! I loved the video and all of those pickled veggies are so pretty and have me totally craving sushi now! Just gorgeous!

  28. This is soooo amazing, ladies!!! I love the glistening slices of sushi there…omgness, seriously one of the yummiest foods in the world!!! And the video is just perfect–short and straight to the point, with beautiful aesthetics and music. How did you do this?! Ps: I’ll collaborate by eating your food any day, lol. ;)

  29. Oh my Sarah! You are so ambitious! I can’t even imagine making this, but not only did you make it, but it’s absolutely gorgeous! Nicely done! Pinned!

  30. Oh my goodness, I love everything about this. First off, what gorgeous colors and options! The first, and only, time I made sushi I spent what felt like hours rolling, cutting, and cleaning up the kitchen. But this was also almost a decade ago when I think my only sushi experience was the packaged to-go containers in college. Yummy sushi it was not. I know I still have the kit somewhere in my house and I can’t wait to break it out and try again! PS- I totally have those greenish/aquaish plates! :)

  31. If you really do make sushi ALL the time at home, then I’m coming over to get my weekly fix. Just as soon as you finished this little blogger trip to the sunshine state. ;) Your video is so, so cute too girl! It makes me feel like I could actually make sushi at home too. Just as soon as I get a lesson from you and a mat. :) Pinned!

  32. AW! I super loved watching you guys create this sushi- it’s so unique and yummy looking! Can you believe I’ve never made it before? (WHO AM I?)

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