Make your own sushi kit

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Posted by Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

It’s the middle of winter here in New England. It’s cold. Frosty-drippy-nose cold. There’s snow on the ground. And today is my birthday.

I should be craving something warm, or something gooey like a wonderful risotto, or something chocolate, but all I want is a big plate of sushi.

Vegetable sushi, with some spicy wasabi sauce.

And a candle on top.

Kids of all ages -- including our six-year-old granddaughter -- love making sushi, especially when you reassure them that the word sushi does not mean raw fish. Sushi is the rice, flavored with a bit of sweetening, that holds everything together.

In my pantry I always have the necessary components for maki sushi: Nishiki rice (a medium-grain rice that’s often sold as “sushi rice”), and nori (flat, square sheets of seaweed). They’re easy to find these days in regular grocery stores as well as Asian markets. Both rice and nori will keep almost indefinitely in the cupboard.

Once I discovered how easy it is to make basic sushi rolls, I set out to teach my Family Cooking Group (kids ages 12-15, each with a parent or grandparent) how to do it. We had a great time experimenting with many variations on the filling: raw and cooked vegetables, sliced omelets and bacon, even peanut butter and jelly -- though that one was a bit messy, as you can imagine!

Of course, as I got into sushi, I needed (okay… I wanted) all the right tools, so I could make sushi quickly and easily with whatever I happened to have in the pantry. In no time I’d collected a sushi-oki (a wooden straight-sided bowl for cooling and mixing the sushi rice – lovely, though a wooden salad bowl makes a fine substitute), a bunch of bamboo sushi mats (no substitute for these, although they are inexpensive, often only a dollar or two), rice paddles, and a sushi press for making beautiful squares.

I needed a way to store all of these goodies, so off I went to the local craft store, where I found the perfect thing: a stacking plastic box with interlocking levels. Yes, you’re right, it’s just like a tiffin!

Within each level there are moveable dividers, so you can make compartments custom-sized for your crafting bits – or sushi supplies. The bottom box holds the sushi-oki. In the top, I store sushi mats, rice paddles, the sushi press, and several dumpling crimpers for making potstickers. Occasionally I’ll throw some packages of nori in, too, as well as some small paper fans for cooling the sushi rice.

The plastic craft box keeps everything free of dust. Be sure to wash and dry your wood and bamboo sushi tools carefully and thoroughly before you pack them in the box. Add a few packets of silica gel, recycled from the nori packages, in each level, to keep everything dry and free of mold.

A handle on top makes it easy to carry, in case you want to take your sushi-making skills on the road. My own sushi box has made the trip to several parties.

With your own sushi kit in the pantry, you’ll be ready whenever the craving strikes.

Even if it’s not your birthday.

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by Lydia from The Perfect Pantry


That is such a neat idea! I never would have thought to put all of my sushi stuff in a container like that! I am about to start delving into the 'make your own sushi' club so what a great starter idea.

I think this would also make a neat gift to someone.



Tablebread said...
January 16, 2008 at 7:28:00 PM GMT+1  

This is a really cool idea! Do you have tips on making sushi?

January 16, 2008 at 8:38:00 PM GMT+1  

Lewis, this would be a wonderful gift, and such fun for the gift-giver to put together. You could add chopsticks, and all kinds of plastic sushi molds (the ones that can make sushi shaped like Spam, or hamburgers) -- oooh, endless possibilities! I find it's really handy to have everything in one place, free of dust and ready to go whenever the urge strikes.

Manisha, there are some great sites with how-to instructions on making sushi, and on my own blog I have a recipe for the sushi rice. But my best tip is this: don't have any preconceived notions about what can go in a sushi roll! Especially when you're making sushi with kids -- let them rummage around in the refrigerator and pantry, and come up with any combination of ingredients that looks like fun. Tuna or egg salad, slices of fruit -- pretty much anything will work. Let them experiment and play -- you'll be amazed at how good it all tastes when it's rolled up in a bit of nori!

January 16, 2008 at 10:00:00 PM GMT+1  

Happy Birthday Lydia. This is such a great post.
We made sushi a few months ago for the first time and the boys loved doing it. The eldest who is 6 sometimes loves sushi (bought) but wasn't so keen on the seaweed that I'd got.

January 16, 2008 at 10:11:00 PM GMT+1  

Happy Birthday Lydia! I love sushi and your idea to put everything together is pretty cool!

Dharm said...
January 17, 2008 at 5:33:00 AM GMT+1  

Amanda, many thanks. Kids seem to love the idea of putting anything inside a roll -- and even the youngest ones who've made sushi in my kitchen have done a great job with the rolling.

Dharm, thank you. I've had a wonderful birthday!

January 17, 2008 at 6:18:00 AM GMT+1  

Happy Birthday dearest Lydia. First I am so happy to have you here! Second I have been avoiding making my own sushi for a few reasons first because I do not have all the tools and second I always think of it being a difficult task. But if kids can do it I guess so can I and I think doing this together with Soeren would be a lot of fun too.

Thanks for this one!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
January 17, 2008 at 7:52:00 AM GMT+1  

I am a sushi virgin :( the nori smells and tastes a bit too fishy to me.
But looking at that box, and the party, and hearing of your off-beat fillings is making me long to make some. So thrilled to see you here, Lydia! Happy Birthday!

Nupur said...
January 17, 2008 at 1:19:00 PM GMT+1  

Meeta, seriously, I am not the world's most coordinated person! So if I can do it, and my granddaughter can do it, and the teenagers in my cooking group did it, you can do it!

Nupur, the nori is an impediment for many people, including vegetarians and vegans. So, instead, you might try the block press:
No nori needed, and you can press anything onto the rice.

January 17, 2008 at 1:44:00 PM GMT+1  

Happy Belated Birthday Lydia! Great post! I made sushi once I of those moments I wished my beloved were there but eh! c'est la vie! Now I feel like trying again soon.

Helene said...
January 18, 2008 at 8:04:00 AM GMT+1  

What a great idea for a group ... kids 12-15 and a parent or grandparent. I would have LOVED doing something like this with my mother!

I think next time my daughter, nieces & nephew come to visit this will be what we do for dinner. They are 28, 21, 18 & 17 and are all interested in good food, eating and fun!

Thanks and happy "speed limit" birthday!

Meg Wolff said...
January 20, 2008 at 8:53:00 PM GMT+1  

Meg, thanks so much! Sushi is really fun for kids of all ages. The greatest "danger" is that it's so much to make that you'll always have more than you can eat. So, invite plenty of spouses, partners, boyfriends and girlfriends to help with that part!

January 22, 2008 at 12:48:00 AM GMT+1  

good idea this sushi kits save price!!

hellboyjaa said...
May 2, 2010 at 1:04:00 PM GMT+2  

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