College Cooking: Sushi

Photo Credit: Eliot Gentiluomo

Sushi always seems to be a daunting dish to make. It’s seen as simple, but impossibly tricky. I’m here to show you that it is much simpler than it seems and that it won’t break the bank either.

Sushi like nigiri or sashimi are definitely the more expensive ones. They are the ones that most prominently feature fresh fish. However, items like rolls are easy to make and cheap depending on the ingredients you use.

In this College Cooking, I will show you how to make simple rolls and inari sushi.

Sushi Rice:


  • 2 cups short grain Japanese rice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Freshly make the rice using a rice cooker or in a pot of water on the stove.
  • Once the rice is cooked, let cook for about 15-20 minutes. The rice should be cooled enough to be just warm enough to touch.
  • Transfer the rice into a large bowl, and use a wooden spoon to gently fluff the rice.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  • Slowly pour over the rice vinegar mixture and gently mix it into the rice.
  • Voa la — you have sushi rice.



  • 10 sheets of nori (dried seaweed)
  • Sushi rice
  • 1 cucumber cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 bell pepper cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 avocado just under ripe to help with slicing, cut into thin slices
  • Mushrooms
  • Tofu
  • Imitation crab (also known as fish cakes)
  • Wasabi and pickled ginger for serving
  • Soy sauce


*To start off, I best recommend you get a sushi mat. They are about three dollars from any Asian grocery store. They make the process of rolling rolls much easier. If you don’t have a sushi mat, you can use a piece of wax or parchment paper. Keep in mind that it will be a little more flimsy and delicate to roll.

*Also before making any sushi, make sure to cover the sushi mat with plastic wrap to avoid sticking and it makes it easier to clean the mat afterwards.

*Ingredients like tofu or the mushrooms, you can cook them however you like to fit your flavor. Be sure that they are small enough pieces to fit in a sushi roll. I usually go with pieces that are long sticks about ½ an inch by ½ an inch wide or smaller. These will fit the best without hindering rolling.

  • Place a piece of nori onto the sushi mat and place about ½ cup of sushi rice. Gently press the rice thin to each edge and corner. Leave about ½ inch strip of nori at one end of the sheet.
  • On the opposite side of the strip of nori, start laying the fillings. Here is where you can get creative. I like to go with two veggies and a meat or other form of protein. It all depends on the filling you like and what combinations you can think of. A few common examples are:
    • Cucumber, bell pepper and fish cakes
    • Cucumber, avocado and braised tofu
    • Bell peppers, avocado and mushrooms
  • Once you have placed the filling on the rice, using the sushi mat, gently start to roll towards the strip of nori without rice. Make sure to keep it a tight roll. The sushi mat will help with the rolling process and make it as even as possible.
  • Once rolled, remove the mat and you can start slicing. Usually the sushi can neatly slice into sixths or eighths. It depends on the size of pieces you want. Keep a damp paper towel nearby to wipe down the knife in between each cut. This will help to avoid the nori taring and have nice clean cuts.
  • Repeat until you run out of ingredients.
  • Plate and serve with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce. Enjoy!