Step-by-Step Sushi {My First Attempt}

by simplylife on January 30, 2013

Some things don’t always work out according to the plan.


Over Christmas, my husband and I received a sushi set as a gift; we’ve been so excited to use it and make sushi for the first time!  We spent way too long looking at different recipes online, bought Nori and Sushi rice at a speciality Japanese grocery store and had our dinner ready to go!


We decided for our first attempt, we would keep it simple and stick with a basic cream cheese, avocado and cucumber roll.  When we finally figured out how to get started, we realized that the avocado wasn’t ripe and wasn’t even edible 🙁  Anyone have tips how to pick out avocados??? <– I desperately need help with this- fast!


So we looked around in the fridge and quickly came up with Plan B – cream cheese, cucumber and carrot rolls!  The combination ended up being fresh and we ate every last piece…but we definitely still have a lot of work to do to perfect our homemade sushi!

Here are the steps we figured out along the way (and the ones I am asking your help on):

1.  Cook rice according to package directions (I am loving the texture of sushi rice! It cooks faster than regular rice and tastes soooo good!).  Cut Nori sheet in half length-wise.  Place half of Nori sheet on sushi mat.  Cover generously with rice.


2.  Place a sheet of plastic wrap over rice.  Gently flip over so that plastic wrap is on the bottom.  Place on sushi mat.  Place filling in center of Nori sheet <— we’re still figuring out the “perfect” amount to add of the filling; any tips???


3.  Tightly wrap sushi into a roll, rolling away from yourself.  <—-  We’re still trying to figure out how to do this to make sure the roll completely “closes” – tips??

4.  Slowly remove plastic wrap.  Cut into pieces, serve with soy sauce and enjoy!


~Any sushi-making tips?!?!  Any tips to pick-out avocados? Any great sushi recipes to share?

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  • Colleen

    I love this! We’ve made sushi a couple times with Mike’s parents, as we bought them a kit. It’s so fun! There’s a great fish market in Cambridge for awesome sushi grade fish (I think it’s called New Deal). Maybe for your next attempt you could go there?! That is, assuming you want to try some with fish 🙂 Love your first attempt though! It’s such a fun process to make sushi.

    • Simply Life

      Oh we definitely do want to try fish! Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Mom

    I have no insight, no tips, no experience, and I have never heard of anyone making sushi themselves. B U T, I commend you for trying and your willingness to learn. I buy mangos and have the same problem, I don’t know which ones are good. I try to avoid the green, hard ones, but even when they look perfect, I cut them open and they’re so dry. Any tips?

    I hope, through your blog, you will gain insight and enthusiasm to give sushi another go. It’s so popular at Dominicks, and they make it right there, so if there is anything you want me to ask the preparers, just let me know!

  • camille

    We used to have sushi-making parties in high school! I never made a rice-on-the-outside roll, but with the kind where the rice is on the inside, leave a space at one end when you’re coating the nori with rice – that way, you can wet the exposed strip of nori and when you overlap that onto the outside of the roll, it will “glue” together.

    • Simply Life

      ooooh, that’s really interesting! I might have to try that! THANKS!

  • someone

    I would recommend starting out by rolling with the nori on the outside until you get the hang of it. Don’t cut it in half. Leave a little extra space for overlap. Did you dampen the nori by dipping it in water first? My first sushi making kit came with a cookbook that had lots of helpful tips. There are also gadgets like the sushezi that practically roll it for you, but I think using them is kinda cheating. 🙂

    Avocados: They should be firm but not hard. When you squeeze one, the surface should give just slightly. Soft spots mean it’s over-ripe. It takes practice to learn how a ripe one feels, not too hard, not too soft.

    • Simply Life

      oh this is SO helpful! THANK YOU! I am definitely taking your tips with the Nori (no, I didn’t dampen it first) and the avocados!

  • Jessie

    Great job with the sushi! The only tip I have is to roll it as tight as you can. Otherwise, when you go to slice it, the pieces tend to fall apart. I don’t have much luck with choosing avocados, either – usually they’re hard as rocks! 😛

    • Simply Life

      Thanks! I’m going to work on rolling them tighter!

  • a farmer in the dell

    nice work lady! looks great

  • decocinasytacones

    It doesn´t look so bad!!
    At least you gave it a try!!!, I also have a sushi set…but I haven´t used it yet.
    Well done!!!

  • Bee

    I have ALWAYS wanted to make sushi!! I need a kit!

    • Simply Life

      I learned all you really need in the rolling mat – the rest is just fun for serving! I think you can find them pretty easily online!

  • Jolene (

    I’ve never made sushi, but Christopher made it for me the first time he cooked for me when we first started dating.

  • Andrea@WellnessNotes

    Your sushi rolls sound good!

    I once in a while get a bad avocado, and I can never tell the difference…

  • yummychunklet

    Your first attempt at sushi looks good!

  • Colleen

    One of my friends and I tried to make sushi years ago and it was quite the disaster. I’ve been wanting to learn, so my mom’s Japanese neighbors invited us over last year for a little lesson. I’m still not sure I’m very good at rolling (and don’t really have any tips to offer), but they did show us this sushi press that they use for certain types of sushi. It seemed to be a lot easier to work with!

    • Simply Life

      Interesting! Depending on how into it we get- I may have to look into that! thanks!

  • Kari

    My sushi is always on the messy side 😛 I’m particularly bad at slicing it – I think I’m better off having long hand rolls so I don’t squish the whole thing when trying to cut!

    • Simply Life

      haha, that’s a good idea- cutting it is when things started to fall apart 🙁

  • Zomppa

    A great lot. I’ve been on a kick recently too, I always go to Just One Cookbook for ideas and tips – she’s awesome!!

    • Simply Life

      oh great! Thanks for the tip!

  • justonecookbook

    First attempt? Looks awesome!!! I have a California roll recipe on my site (directions with pictures), just in case if you are interested. I saw a pinterest the other day on how to pick a perfect avocado. I don’t remember details, but it recommends to remove the tip of avocado (don’t know how to call it – cap?) and see the color inside. I wish I pinned it so I can share…

  • Megan

    Wow. I think your first attempt looks awesome. I’ve never made my own sushi, so I can’t offer any tips there. But I always squeeze avocados to check for ripeness. They should feel a little soft (not so soft you can leave an indent though). If they’re rock hard, don’t buy them… or you can let them ripen on the counter for a few days.

    • Simply Life

      Thanks! I will definitely be keeping this in mind!

  • Singerinkitchen

    I love making my own sushi. The key is starting the rolling real tight. The ingredients a little closer to the edge to get a tighter first roll. There are sets to help too. I have contemplated getting them but wondered if it was a hype. Here is a post I look forward trying some day. Being pregnant and doing sushi does not mix. Takes too long and I lose my appetite. 🙂 Good luck. They still look good for your first try!

    • Simply Life

      Thanks so much for these tips- very helpful!!! I’ll definitely try that next time!

  • Shannon N Deon Talley

    I LOOOOVE sushi! I really need to learn how to make it myself…

    (and for some reason I can only comment through my facebook page, sorry bout that)

    • Simply Life

      Strange (about the comments)! Thanks for letting me know!

  • Kristin Rimkus

    Beautiful! My friend and I took a sushi making class a few years ago. It was a ton of fun!

  • Emily

    Nice work! I took a fun sushi class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts once… it is harder than it looks but even a little sloppiness results in a totally delicious roll. From what I understand, one key element is getting the texture and flavor of the rice just right. I wish I had more to offer beyond that!

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