The prospect of making sushi at home can seem daunting but it needn’t be with these simple sushi recipes. Rice rolls filled with delicious fish or vegetables are super easy to make.
Farmdrop Recipe Developer, Alice King shares her simple tips on how to build an epic sushi feast, from the perfect maki roll to all the extras that go with it, from sushi grade salmon to homemade pickled ginger.
Photography: Natalé Towell
Let’s start with the sushi
Sushi comes in many different shapes and sizes, but a few of the most common are nigiri, maki, uramaki and temaki. Aim to have at least a couple of different sushi styles at your table.
Nigiri sushi is a piece of shaped rice with a topping that is usually fish. Maki sushi is rice and a filling wrapped in seaweed – follow this step-by-step guide on how to fill and roll maki. Uramaki is similar to maki but has the rice on the outside with the seaweed wrapped around the filling. Tamaki – also known as a hand roll – is sushi that has been rolled into a cone shape.
The key ingredient: the rice
Rice is the base to any sushi; the clue is in the name. Sushi literally means ‘sour tasting’, referring to the fermented rice that was originally used when it was first introduced to Japan back in the 8th century. Nowadays the sour taste of sushi rice comes from the addition of rice wine vinegar when prepared.
Nigiri sushi is a piece of shaped rice, usually with fish on top. Try this Nigiri recipe with British sushi grade salmon.
You want your sushi rice to be light, fluffy and slightly sticky when cooked. It’s short-grain rice that’s used, which tends to be more starchy, helping the grains to bind together perfectly for sushi. A really good brand of sushi rice is Clearspring, a family-run business that has been specialising in Japanese ingredients for 25 years.
Your sushi fillings & toppings: celebrate British ingredients
When thinking about the extra fillings and toppings, you can really get inventive. Sushi is a wonderful example of Japanese ingenuity when it comes to using seasonally available ingredient. Just because they use certain fillings doesn’t mean you have to, too. Rather, see it as a chance to celebrate the incredibly fresh, local, seasonal foods around you instead. Not only is this more sustainable, it can also be more interesting.
Rather than using unsustainable tuna caught from faraway shores or avocado flown in from across the world, try delicious, sustainably caught crab. Crab has a delicate flavour and a juicy, flaky texture. Thinly sliced raw scallops are deliciously sweet in sushi, while mackerel can also work well.
Raw salmon has a beautifully buttery texture that works so well in sushi. It is important to source your salmon well. Sole of Discretion’s sushi grade salmon is organically farmed in Ireland in a responsible way.
Pair British crab with foraged samphire in this sushi recipe.
There are many varieties of wild growing edible seaweed on British shores too. Foraged ingredients, such as samphire are a great, local alternative to more commonly used veg. Samphire can be found growing along estuaries in Norfolk, Essex and Kent; it has a delicious, salty flavour that pairs well with fish. Check out what The Forager is picking this month. Team it with crab in the maki sushi recipe above – I think it works really well.
Wasabi mustard cress, grown under the streets of Clapham by Growing Underground has the tingling taste of wasabi but in the form of bright green, tender leaves. Colourful seasonal veg like beetroot, carrots and red pepper are great additions too.
You’ve got the sushi covered. Now for the extras
Let’s talk condiments
Soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi have all got to be invited to the sushi party. Soy sauce is a fermented mixture of soy beans, wheat salt and koju rice mould and brings a unique umami flavour. Traditionally pickled ginger is used as a palate cleanser in between pieces of sushi, but it’s now more commonly enjoyed with it.
Make your own homemade pickled ginger.
Wasabi is a pungent paste of the wasabi root from the same family as horseradish and mustard. It’s traditionally spread between the fish and rice in sushi, as covering it preserves its flavour. It’s rare to find wasabi plants outside of Japan due to the very specific growing conditions they need. Horseradish is a good, local substitute.
What about sides?
Swap salmon for trout in this Trout Teriyaki recipe.
Rather than the classic salmon teriyaki, use wild trout instead. Serve Asian-style greens in the form of a smacked cucumber salad or try pan-frying seaweed or leafy greens with soy sauce, garlic, ginger and chilli.
Something to drink? The UK’s first sake brewery…
Sake, although not traditionally paired with sushi in Japan, is delicious to drink alongside it. Made from fermented rice, it has an unusual combination of floral and savoury umami flavours. We sell three different types of sake at Farmdrop; sparkling hopped Fizu, cloudy and dry Kumo and clear, smooth Sumi. All made by the UK’s first sake brewery, Kanpai. Kanpai is the Japanese word for cheers!