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How to Make Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri sushi is very simple in its' preparation and presentation. Nigiri sushi is simply an elongated ball of sushi rice with a single peice of meat, fish, vegetable or other ingredient on top of it. It may also have a thin strip of nori (dried seaweed) wrapped around it to hold it on, but it is usually just for presentation.


You should prepare the following before beginning to assemble your sushi.

Cutting the Fish or Meat

You should usually begin with at least 1/4 lb. of fish or meat, and cut all of it that you intend to use at once. You want to cut the meat or fish into approximately 1/4" by 2" pieces. If you are cutting fish, you want to try to cut across the lines running through the fish to make the sushi look more appealing. It can also make it easier to cut.  A sushi knife is best at cutting fish and meat for nigiri sushi.

Cutting the Nori

You do not have to use nori around the peice of sushi, but it isn't hard to do if you want to give it a try. Start by cutting a sheet of nori in half. Working with that half of the nori, you will want to cut it into approximately 3/8" thick strips.

Making the Ball of Rice

The first, and most important step in working with sushi rice is to always wet your hands with warm water before touching the rice. You don't want your hands to be soaking wet, just damp. It prevents sticking. Take approximately 2 tablespoons (a small palm) of sushi rice into your hands and gently begin rolling into an elongated ball. Shape the ball with the palm of your hand the the index finger from your opposing hand. Your rice ball should be a little smaller than the piece of sushi you cut. Do not squeeze the rice too hard, you don't want the rice to become one solid piece of mush. This is why you should only use your index finger. Firm pressure is required, but you shouldn't be able to overdo it with your index finger.

Optional Wasabi

Place a small (be careful not to overdo it) dab of wasabi paste on the bottom of the piece of meat or fish.

Catalina Offshore Products

Assemble the Nigiri Sushi

Place the piece of meat or fish into the palm of your hand and place the rice ball into the piece of meat or fish. Adjust the shape of the rice ball slightly if needed. Using just your index finger from your opposing hand, press and hold firmly onto the rice while cupping your hand that the meat or fish is laying in to cause the meat or fish and the rice to hold together. You may need to repeat this once or twice until the two stay together.

Wrapping the Nigiri Sushi with Nori

If you choose to place the nori wrap around your piece of nigiri sushi; with your piece of nigiri sushi still in your palm, take the piece of nori and place the end of it slightly past the edge of the piece of sushi and wrap the nori around the back of it. Once you get the nori back to the place you started place a dab of water on the bottom piece, and place the top piece on top of it and press down for a few seconds. The water should bond the nori together. If you have any excess, you can cut it off and place the finished piece of sushi on the serving plate.