Watch a Japanese Chef Prepare Sushi in 5 Easy Steps

Yuki Omaki shows us how to expertly cut fresh salmon and roll sushi

Kristýna Sojová

Written by Kristýna Sojová Published on 18.09.2014 09:11:10 (updated on 18.09.2014) Reading time: 3 minutes

Have you always wanted to learn how to make sushi but always thought it was too difficult? We’ve teamed up with professional sushi chef Yuki Omaki from Prague sushi experts Sushiqueen to bring you a series of tutorials on how to prepare delicious sushi at home.

Yuki says that proper sushi is always made with high-quality, fresh ingredients. Most grocery stores and Japanese specialty food shops like Japa shop stock all that you need to make the sushi recipes shown here. For tips where to buy salmon, see our article How to Shop for Fish Like a Chef.

Shopping list:

Sushi-grade salmon* (a whole salmon is shown here, but to make a smaller portion, buy loins or thick fillets) 
Sushi or short grain rice (cooked and flavored with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt)
Sheets of nori seaweed
Cucumber, cut into matchsticks
Bamboo sushi rolling mat

Step 1: Preparing and filleting the salmon

This Japanese chef is a master at filleting salmon which is really difficult, although it hardly seems like it in this video. For this kind of filleting, you don’t just need skills like Yuki, but also high quality Japanese knives, unilaterally sharpened for slicing, cutting, skinning and chopping. You can also use a quality carbon-steel chef’s knife or a boning knife when preparing sushi.


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Step 2: Cleaning and cutting the fillets for sushi

And now the work begins! Be patient and careful. Your fish pieces should be approximately 5cm (2″) long, 3cm (1″) wide, and 1/2 or 1 cm (less than 1/2″) thick. If the fillet isn’t thick enough to get the width you’re looking for, slice diagonally. Don´t worry if you are not able to cut salmon into uniform pieces. You will get better after a little practice. You may even become a sushi master chef and break the record for the longest sushi roll in the world. (For now, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest sushi roll was made in Russia on December 12, 2011 measuing 2,521.74 m!)

Step 3: Preparing the sushi (Sushi Nigiri) 

Once the salmon has been properly cut into pieces and your sushi rice prepared, you are ready to make sushi nigiri. With wet hands, grab a ball of sushi rice about a 3/4 size of your palm and shape it into a log formation. Yuki always uses a tiny dab of Japanese wasabi, or Japanese horseradish, on the fish slice before sticking it to the rice and molding the rice and salmon together. Yuki also uses a blowtorch for a flame-grilled appearance but we don’t suggest trying this at home!

Stage 4: Preparing the sushi (Sushi Maki)

This kind of sushi is familiar to anyone who has ever eaten sushi rolls and maybe the most fun to make! Start with your bamboo mat on a flat surface. Place a sheet of nori seaweed on top of the mat with the rough side facing up. Place a ball of rice in the middle and spread it equally and gently over the nori; you can also add some wasabi as Yuki does here. Next place your fish on the edge of the nori and roll. Use a wet knife and make sure that the pieces are uniform and small enough for just one bite. Sushi was actually made to be something between a finger food and snack that customers could eat on their way to work, no chopsticks required!

Step 5: Preparing the sushi (California sushi)

For California sushi, you can use the same ingredients as you did for sushi maki, but add some crisp vegetable like cucumber. Because the ingredients are ordered differently, the result is a completely different taste. How is that even possible? Yuki says that the arrangement of the ingredients determines which ones you will taste first. For a classic California roll you can use avocado slices and cucumber and crab sticks instead of salmon.

Serve your sushi with a Japanese beer! Bon appetite or as they say in Japanese Itadakimasu.

Have you voted in our Best Sushi in Prague poll yet? Do so now to win fabulous sushi-related prizes.

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