Sushi platter. Picture: Pexels.
Sushi platter. Picture: Pexels.

5 common mistakes to avoid when making sushi at home

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Jun 18, 2020

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If you’re thinking of making your own sushi at home this International Sushi Day, June 18, you may want to read over these common mistakes first.

The lockdown has got everyone inspired to push the boundaries of their culinary skills. 

A quick scroll through any social media and you’ll be able to tell, everyone has been spending more time in the kitchen, possibly due to the closure of sit down restaurants.

If you’re inspired to join them on this venture and also happen to be hit by a massive sushi craving, why not make it yourself at home? 

But, before you do, we’ve rounded up some of the most common sushi-making mistakes to save you time, money and wasting pricey ingredients. 

5 common mistakes to avoid when making sushi at home:

1. Using the wrong rice

Rice is an essential part of a variety of sushi dishes so getting this aspect right when making it at home is very important. 

You cannot use the regular rice you have in your pantry to make sushi because sushi requires a specific grain of rice. 

The rice used for making sushi is usually polished white short-grain Japanese rice or medium-grain California rice.

2. Not rinsing rice


Just like regular rice that you’d pair with any other dish, sushi rice needs to be rinsed three to four times until the water runs clear.

 This will prevent your rice from being too sticky and having that pasty feel when eaten. 

According to Hiroko Shimbo in her book ‘The Japanese Kitchen’, the rinsing step should be followed by draining and allowing the rice to rest in a colander for an hour before cooking. 

This results in a firmly cooked rice that combines well with the vinegar dressing.

3. Not fluffing rice
After cooking your rice, it needs to rest for ten to fifteen minutes. 

If you would like sushi that has a distinct rice feel when eaten, fluffing is a very important step to include. 

Use a rice paddle to gently break up any chunks to prevent clumps from forming.

3. Picking the wrong fish

Don’t make the mistake of picking up any fillet of fish you see at the grocery store. 

Since the fish in sushi is eaten raw, it may have bacteria on it that won’t be killed off as there is no cooking process for sushi. 

Therefore choose only sushi-grade fish that is safe to consume in its raw state. 

This can be found at high-end or specialty grocery stores.

4. Too many fillings

It’s easy to get over excited when filling your sushi rolls but too many extra ingredients can actually mess things up for you. 

For starters, the combination of too many different flavours can be overwhelming and steal attention away from their key ingredients, preventing them from shining through.

 But the main issue is that too many fillings may result in difficulty when it comes time to roll, even causing the roll to split or come apart during cutting.

Of course, too little filling is also not ideal. 

You don’t want the rice-to-filling ratio to be unbalanced.

5. Mixing wasabi into your soy sauce
When serving your sushi, it is recommended that you do not mix wasabi into your soy sauce.

 Although it may be convenient to combine the two flavours when eating, they overpower one another. 

The sharp sharp flavor of wasabi becomes dull when competing with the boldness of soy sauce.

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