Homemade Sushi Rolls

sushi roll
Salmon and Shrimp Tempura Roll

You want to know a secret? I LOVE sushi. No, not the sandbox kind of love, it’s SERIOUS love. If I could, I would eat it everyday for the rest of my life. When I used to live in San Diego, I think I actually did eat sushi almost everyday. There, it’s no secret anymore, I’m obsessed.

I am not a picky eater by any means, but I have two things on my list where I always have high expectations for, sushi and Middle Eastern food (Middle Eastern food will be discussed another time). With sushi, you kind of have to be picky because if you have bad experience, you will never forget it. Luckily I have never had a bad experience, but I know plenty who do and they will swear it off. Fish should never smell bad or have a slimy texture. When fish is cooked, the oils will release an odor that you may not think is pleasant. However, when fish is raw, it should have NO SMELL. So, if your sushi tastes fishy or smells fishy, it’s probably bad. If you have had bad sushi, I’m sorry but please give it another try. Please don’t miss out on the umami!

One thing about sushi, depending on where you live, it can be expensive. I used to live in San Diego where a large special roll occasionally cost $6-7, but after moving to the East Coast, I quickly realized how expensive sushi really is and had to break my weekly habit. Also, there is something different about the sushi in the East Coast, the fish don’t taste as refreshing and crisp as they do in the West Coast. It’s probably because the Atlantic Ocean is a lot warmer than the Pacific. Think about it, have you ever been to the beach in California during July and the water is still FREEZING? That could possibly be it. Correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

California Roll
Spicy Tuna Roll

So, to get my occasional fix without breaking the bank, I made my self learn how to make sushi rolls. I started to watch a lot of youtube videos on how to roll and It turns out that it wasn’t hard, but it was a lot of work prepping. The making of the rolls it self is a fast process, but cutting the vegetables, slicing the fish, steaming the rice and making the sauces take up quite a bit of time. It’s usually a 3 or 4 hour long process. But, the end result is delicious. The trick is making the sauces the day before and just having everything ready when you are about to start rolling. My husband often jokes that we may never have to eat at a sushi restaurant again and the funny is, even though the process is long, I agree with him. We haven’t been to a sushi restaurant ever since I started making sushi at home. It’s inexpensive and the end result is as good, or if not better than, the sushi bars in my town.

Caterpillar Sushi Roll
Caterpillar Sushi Roll

First off let’s make the sushi rice. “Sushi rice” is steamed short grain rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

Cut all the vegetables and slice or chop whatever fish you like and set aside. If possible, it would be easier to make the sauces ahead of time so you are not in the kitchen as long. Prep the work area and place everything where you want it to be so you can make the rolling process quick. Trust me when I say you don’t want to be looking for something when you have sticky and fishy messy hands.

Caterpillar Sushi Roll
Caterpillar Sushi Roll

I like my sushi rolled with the rice outside (I hate maki rolls). Rolling is kind of tricky at first but it’s actually easier than you think. I have a certain routine, where I place plastic wrap beneath the nori sheet and firmly press the rice on then flip it over on my bamboo sushi mat that is covered with another piece of plastic wrap, so the rice won’t stick to the rolling mat. From there you can add the fillings and then just roll. You can have your own routine; this just works best for me since it’s easy. The important thing about rolling is you need to be firm or else your sushi will be loose and fall apart while eating.

Volcano Roll
Volcano Roll

When it comes to pickled ginger, it depends on your preference. There are two types of ginger, pink and white. Pink is a little spicy (sometimes too spicy) and white is more subtle but carries more of the ginger flavor. I like both and don’t really have a favorite, I usually just have both on the platter to appeal to my guests. 🙂

Wasabi is another one of those things where you either love it or hate it… I LOVE IT. I just mix a pea size amount in my soy sauce, sometimes more depending on what sushi I have, i.e. nigiri.

Volcano Roll
Volcano Roll

Also, one important item you need is a very sharp knife. While cutting the rolls into pieces, if you don’t have a sharp knife then you might accidently push down too hard and cause the sushi to unravel or loosen up. Which is no fun 😦

What is fun though, is making your own sushi, especially if it means you don’t have to pay $12-14 a roll. It’s a fun and great way to enjoy a night in if you don’t feel like venturing out to find a good sushi bar.

These are just some of the rolls I randomly put together. It’s up to you on how much you want of each ingredient, but be careful not to overstuff the rolls.

Sushi Roll Recipes

Sushi Rice

2 cups uncooked short-grain rice
3 cups water
½ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Rinse the rice in a strainer until water is clear or semi clear.

Combine with 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 2o minutes. Rice should be tender and water should be all absorbed. Cool until enough to handle

In a small bowl combine the rice vinegar, oil, sugar and salt. Microwave for 30 seconds or until sugar dissolves. Cool, then stir into the cooked rice. When you pour into the rice, it will look very wet, but keep stiring and the rice will dry as it cools and become very sticky. Which is what you want.

Salmon and Shrimp Tempura Roll

1 sheet nori

Avocado, sliced horizontally
Pre-made shrimp tempura (You can find this in the freezer section at any grocery store, making shrimp tempura is a pain)
Unagi sauce
Green onions, finely sliced
Masago roe (fish eggs)
Cucumber, finely sliced horizontally and deseeded
Unagi Sauce, (Follow recipe below)
Toasted sesame seeds

Spicy Tuna Roll

1sheet nori

Dynamite sauce (Follow recipe below)
Masago fish eggs
Avocado, sliced horizontally
Cumber, finely sliced horizontally and deseeded

Caterpillar Roll

1 sheet nori

Spicy tuna mix, 1/2 cup chopped tuna, 1/4 teaspoon chili oil
Pre-made Shrimp tempura
Unagi sauce
Green onions, finely chopped
Avocado Slices
Dynamite sauce
Unagi Sauce
Toasted sesame seeds

Volcano Roll

1 sheet nori

Spicy crab meat, 1/2 cup chopped crab, 1 tsp mayonnaise, 1/4 tsp chili oil
Cream cheese, rolled into thin logs
Avocado, sliced horizontally
Green onions
Cut rolls and lay flat on baking sheet lined with foil and then add:
Cooked shrimp, roughly chopped
Spicy crab meat
Dynamite Sauce, spread a thick layer on top of cooked shrimp and spicy crab meat.
Unagi Sauce
Sesame seeds
Green onions, finely chopped
Broil in the oven for about 5 minutes, then take out and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions. Top with Unagi sauce before and after broiling.

Unagi sauce

Mix together:
1 cup soy sauce (do not use low sodium)
1 cup mirin (sweet rice wine, not sake)
1 cup white sugar
Bring to a boil in a sauce pan and let simmer for about 2 hours on medium low, or until the desired consistency is reached.

Dynamite Sauce

Mix together:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon siracha sauce, add more if you want more of a kick




55 Comments Add yours

  1. trialsinfood says:

    wow, impressive! all the rolls look so yummy!

  2. Gray Dawster says:

    From these deliciously looking photographs I can see why your husband prefers eating at home, and how gorgeous they must taste. I have to admit that I have never eaten sushi before though I am a lover of fish, which is kind of strange I guess? Anyway it is definitely something to think about after viewing your excellent posting, the preparation time would be fitting for a party I think, but eating with one’s loved one is just as exhilarating and the pleasures of same are undoubtedly exquisite.

    I have enjoyed your recipe of Sushi Rolls my friend 🙂

    Andro xx

  3. Wow! Fantastic! I will have to come up with Paleo versions of these post pregnancy 🙂

    1. juliewold says:

      Ohh that sounds good too! You should let me know when you do, I’m interested to know how they come out. Thank you for stopping by.

  4. Looks delicious! My husband and I would eat sushi every day too if we could!

    1. juliewold says:

      With the right materials and ingredients, you can eat sushi everyday! Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Loving the blogs and the yummy recipes

    1. juliewold says:

      Thank you! I will try to post more yummy recipes. Thank you for stopping by!

      1. My pleasure, any diabetic ones

  6. jastreiff says:

    Wow!!! These are beautiful! The one time I tried to make sushi we had such a difficult time getting them to stick together. You have inspired me to try again!

    1. juliewold says:

      Yay! I’m so glad you are giving it another try! I was lucky enough to get the rolls right the first time but that was because I watched hours and hours of sushi rolling on YouTube. You should definitely watch some of the videos, they helped me a lot! Thank you for stopping by!

      1. jastreiff says:

        Thanks for the tip!

  7. Yum, these look fantastic!

  8. Violet says:

    Wow, you are simply amazing and so talented with sushi making!! I’m very impressed with all your beautiful looking sushis here! I think you should open your own sushi bar!! 🙂 I’ve never tried making sushi because I think it’s so difficult to roll them nicely, but I think I’m gonna give it a try after reading your post. Thank you for inspiring me!! ^^

    1. juliewold says:

      The trick is just to roll quick and firm using a bamboo sushi mat. I like to use the plastic ones because they are easy to clean and don’t stick to the rice as much. However, they are harder to find :-/ Let me know how your rolls come out!

      1. Violet says:

        Thanks so much for the tip in rolling the sushi! If I have time to make it, I’ll be sure to tell you!! 🙂

  9. Oh my goodness you’re a total pro at making sushi! They look so good! If you make too much, feel free to send them over this way! =p

  10. I’m so addicted to sushi as well. Luckily, sushi is quite available in Australia, but I still love to make my own, especially brown rice sushi. Today I even made brown rice onigiri with furikake for my other half as a before dinner appetiser. Stunning pictures, by the way.

    1. juliewold says:

      Thank you! Sushi is great and I have been thinking about making it with brown rice. That might be my next venture 🙂

  11. pharo001 says:

    Your sushi rolls are beautiful! One day when I feel brave enough to expand my cooking skills, I will have to follow your guide to make my own sushi. And I agree, sushi on the East coast and In the Midwest is very expensive. I may have to move to California to be able to support my addiction.

    1. juliewold says:

      Yes, absolutely! Making sushi is a lot cheaper than going to a restaurant and spending $11-$15 a roll. You might as well spend the money to grocery shop and make 4 rolls with the amount of money you spent on one or two rolls. Thank you for stopping by!

  12. Kaufman's Kavalkade says:

    I will now try to enjoy my Costco pre-cooked chicken…. Wish me luck!

  13. a yummy blog, congrats & keep on, by the way i love sushi!

  14. cewinta says:

    Oh my, it looks very..VERY yummie!!

  15. Anneque G. Malchien says:

    Those look incredibly delicious. I will have to try making them. 🙂

  16. happycat13 says:

    Beautiful sushi! Thank you for the recipe!

  17. Did you make those?! They look incredible! I LOVE sushi and eat it whenever I can – west coast. I can’t think of another kind of food that has so much variety but always so good. Anyways thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to try this out!

  18. Julie they look amazing! I’ve been dying to try sushi making, you definitely make it sound and look simple. I just might give it a whirl

  19. jodiecc says:

    I too could eat sushi everyday!

  20. Yeah, I decided to teach myself how to make sushi and never looked back. Also, I love knowing what ingredients are in my food, for ex I don’t sugar, but honey, I pickle my own ginger and so on.
    But I agree, it’s inexpensive and delicious. : )

  21. Valentina05 says:

    Great recipes…mmmm..looks soo tasty..!!

  22. These are fantastic recipes! Thank you.

  23. Ashley says:

    Great recipe, where canI find the shrimp tempura??

    1. juliewold says:

      Hi Ashley! You can get the shrimp tempura in the frozen foods section at any asian supermarket. The shrimp tempura is usually already premade you just have to reheat it in the oven. Depending on where you live you might be able to find it at ralphs, vons or even a safeway?

  24. Lindsay says:

    i saw your blog, sent the hubs for the ingredients, invited family over, and omg did we have the most delicious meal!!! Thank you for such awesome recipes! We have never made sushi before (I actually only do vegetarian but my husband loves the real stuff) and they turned out amazing! We did every roll you have listed and some! Just wanted to let you know what a great evening we had making these and that it will be a definite repeat soon!

    1. juliewold says:

      Thats Awesome! Making sushi together with the family or friends is always fun. I love making sushi with friends and enjoying a few glasses of wine at the same time. Thank you for trying out my recipe!

  25. Very nice.I like sushi very much,but since I am now in a land-locked state and don’t completely trust the ‘fresh’ fish<I have had to limit myself to the cooked or fishless varieties.
    I am sorry that I took so long to return your visit.I will enjoy looking around your bog for more of your posts.

    1. juliewold says:

      Thank you so much for returning! I actually have a new post about sushi bowls and you will be pleasantly surprised 🙂

  26. Wow! I am so impressed by your sushi making skills!

  27. Taruna says:

    Wow… So professional!! Bet it tastes amazing too..
    Love good food, love to cook!
    Look forward to following you!

    1. juliewold says:

      Thank you!! It’s all about the rice believe it or not!

  28. Kewrites says:

    they look so yummy!

  29. Rhi says:

    Do you use sushi grade fish?

    1. juliewold says:

      Hi Rhi, yes it’s important to note that you should use sushi grade fish when you are making sushi at home as well as restaurants. Hope this helps, thank you for stopping by!!

  30. Lcao says:

    Im drooling over your amazing sushi photos! I’m going to attempt to make your volcano roll! Did you use imitation or the real deal crabmeat?

  31. I just moved from San Diego to Boston and thought the SAME THING as you. I now want to make my own at home so am doing some research! Yours look AMAZING :]

    1. juliewold says:

      Thank you! Yeah it’s crazy how sushi varies from each city. Let me know how the rolls turn out!

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