Date Night: Make Your Own Sushi

Light the candles, put on some smooth jazz and whip out out your finest pair of chopsticks – you're already on a roll toward impressing that special someone. Instead of going out to a fancy sushi restaurant, stay at home and make your own for a date night to remember. The thought of perfecting this delicate dish may seem like a challenge, but it's actually quite easy and fun to do as a dynamic duo. 

Take a look at the following tips to make delicious sushi at home.

The best part about creating your own rolls is having the ability to customize them. Figure out what fillings your date loves, whether that's veggies versus raw fish or brown rice instead of white. As long as you have your main base and some ingredients to pile inside, your dish will still be considered sushi.

The following recipe from A Side of Sweet is great for veggie lovers who are giving sushi a go for the first time. Add these items to your shopping list, along with any other variation or item that catches your eye in the grocery store.  

For the base:

  • Brown rice
  • Rice vinegar
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Nori (seaweed)

For the middle:

  • Avocado
  • Sauteed tofu
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Cucumber

For the dipping:

  • Mayo
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sriracha

For the rolling:

  • Bamboo sushi mat
  • Plastic wrap

Now that you have everything you need, it's time to get started!

A sticky situation
Begin by making the rice. A Side of Sweet recommended running the rice under cool water before cooking it. After it has dried for about 15 minutes, place it in a pot with water until it starts to boil. When it starts to boil, cover it and lower the heat on the stove. Let it cook for about a half an hour. When it's soft enough, pour the salt, sugar and rice vinegar over the top. This allows the rice to become nice and sticky, which is vital for holding everything inside the roll in place.

"Use your fingertips to delicately spread the rice. You want a little space between the rice grains so that they remain fluffy," world-renowned sushi chef Masaharu Morimoto told Food and Wine magazine.

It's what's on the inside that counts
Take turns with your assistant chef to start cutting up all your fillings. The cucumbers and carrots should be sliced into thin julienne strips. The avocado can be chopped into about ¼ inch pieces. Finish chopping the kale and the tofu into thin strips.

All about that base
When the rice has cooled off you can create your base. First place a piece of plastic wrap over the bamboo mat. Then place the sheet of nori on top of that. Use either a spoon or your hands to spread the grains over the nori. If you do use your hands, dipping them in a mixture of water and rice vinegar to prevent the rice from becoming too sticky.

You will need about a half cup of rice. Food and Wine magazine recommended covering most of the piece of seaweed with the rice, except for a thin layer, about ¼ inch at the very top.

Drop (your fillings) and roll
Now that you have your base, it's time for the fun part! Place your ingredients in the middle of the rice. Next using the mat and your hands, curl the seaweed over and around the fillings inside. Continue to roll it, pressing down on it when necessary to keep it all together. Once it seems compressed enough you can drop the mat and roll the rest of it with your hands.

Cut it out
Get out that sharp knife. Food and Wine magazine suggested dipping the blade in the same mixture of water and vinegar that you used for your hands to make it easier to slice. Place the roll on a flat surface and then cut the sushi, first in half, then into three pieces on each side, for a total of six.

Repeat and eat
Repeat the steps above to make as many rolls as your tummies can handle. The more you practice, the closer you'll get toward becoming a master chef, well, almost. Arrange the pieces on a plate and pour a side dish of plain soy sauce or create some spicy mayo, using mayo, soy sauce and a touch of Sriracha. Now grab the chopsticks and enjoy!