DIY Salmon Sushi

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Alex and I are both avid sushi lovers. Probably too much for our own good. At least twice a month we head to our favourite joint and pack away enough of the stuff to shock most onlookers.

But for a change of scenery and as a nice family bonding exercise, we decided to try making it ourselves. I mean, how hard could it be? Pretty hard actually. Spending around 15 minutes on a single California Roll suddenly makes your everyday sushi chef morph into a superhero. Seriously. They have some mad skills.

Nonetheless, for my first time making it I think we did pretty well. Here are my tips for other first timers:

  • The quality of fish is so so important. Look for a cut of salmon that is firm with good colour, and still has good texture visible on the flesh. If it looks mushy and watery, give it a miss. And if it smells even remotely fishy, that’s not a great sign either. Watch this video if you’re still unsure.
  • Getting the sushi rice right is also crucial. Alex has made it a couple of times, and it still wasn’t quite there yet. This time round, we bought pre-made rice directly from our favourite restaurant. They did seem a little bit surprised at the request, but were more than happy to oblige.
  • Use less rice than what you think is rice. Once you roll it up, too much rice makes for quite a stodgy mouthful. Go easy.
  • When rolling your sushi, be firm with it to ensure that the rice is nice and compact
  • Don’t underestimate the power of mayonnaise. We’re not being calorie conscious here, so be generous.
  • A great knife is crucial for slick slicing. If you don’t have one, your sushi’s going to look like it was hacked with a machete. Not ideal.


Here’s your shopping list:

(Feeds 4 very hungry people, as usual)

  • Bamboo sushi mat, covered in cling film. You’re not going to be eating this, don’t worry.
  • 3 takeaway containers of pre-made sushi rice. Or you could make it yourself, if you enjoy unnecessary pain and inconvenience.
  • A nice chunk of salmon, cut into thin slivers. 250-400g will do, depending on how much fish you and your family/friends enjoy
  • ½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ½ cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 large avocado, sliced into thin slivers
  • 1 pack roasted nori sheets
  • Mayonnaise…and lots of it
  • Pickled ginger and wasabi paste for serving
  • Soya sauce for serving. We’ve tried a few and Kikkoman is the best. By far.


Okay. Now what?

Right, so we’re making salmon maki here.

  • Fill a big bowl full of cold water. Use this to dip your hands and knife often, as it prevents the rice from going all sticky.
  • Lay the mat in front of you so that you can roll it backwards and forwards in your hands.
  • Take a piece of nori and put it on the mat, shiny side facing down.
  • Using your hands, take small balls of rice and spread them over the nori, except for the top edge where you’ll want a margin of exposed nori. The size of that margin depends on you, but the more rice you have the bigger a mouthful your maki will be. We left around 6cm exposed and then trimmed off most of it with scissors. When we rolled our sushi, that gave us just enough nori to go around once, which made them neat and bite-sized.
  • Oh, and pack the rice as close to the left and right-hand edges as possible.
  • Now apply your fillings. Place a line of salmon, avocado, cucumber, carrot and mayonnaise close to the bottom edge of the rice.
  • Now, use both hands to hold the bottom edge of the sushi, and roll the maki away from you.
  • Once you’ve rolled it over once with your hands, roll the bamboo mat over the maki roll. Compress the roll with your hands to make it into an even cylinder.
  • Use your knife to cut your maki roll in half, and then each half into thirds. Getting them evenly sized is tricky, but makes a huge difference visually when you plate them.

Eat up, y’all. Not sure how to do it properly? This video will tell you all you need to know 😀




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