Rolling sushi perfectly takes practice. It's reasonable to expect that the first few times you try it, your sushi won't be quite as tight as you'd like, but don't be discouraged! Everyone knows there's no such thing as mistakes in homemade sushi; just turn it into a tasty salad to snack on while you try again! Once you get the process down, you'll be rolling more top notch sushi than you can even eat. This simple guide will show you how.
Basic Materials Needed: Bamboo sushi mat, sharp knife, cutting board, toasted nori (seaweed) sheets, water, sushi rice, and your desired fillings
1) Place rolling mat on a flat surface (you may want to cover it in saran wrap to facilitate cleaning) and lay the nori (shiny side down) on top by the edge closest to you.
2) Dampen your hands with water to prevent the rice from sticking to you. Spread a thin layer of rice, about a quarter of an inch thick, on the nori and press down enough that it sticks, but not enough that it's smashed.
2a) Sprinkle sesame seeds on the rice and flip the nori over so the seaweed is now on top for Uramaki rolls (an inside out roll of sushi where the rice is on the outside e.g. California Rolls) 2b) Keep the rice on top and continue to step 3 for Hosomaki rolls like cucumber rolls, avocado rolls, et cetera.
3) Lay your fillings horizontally across the center of the roll. (For a California roll, this would be avocado first, crab and cucumber next, since the avocado will stick the best to the nori).
4) Carefully roll up the side nearest to you and fold it over the fillings, making a cylindrical shape. Tuck in the edge of the nori with your fingers to make a complete roll, pressing the roll gently to compress and shape it. (See this video for a visual guide).
5) Move the roll to a cutting board and cut the sushi with a sharp knife in half. Lay the two halves parallel to each other, trim off the edges, and cut it into 6 even pieces. Dipping your knife into water after each cut will facilitate clean cutting.
6) Eat and enjoy the fruits of your strenuous labor!
Photo credits (top to bottom): FAQs, Matt Vana