Making sushi rolls by hand

Sushi Rolls with Avocado, Cucumber and Prawn

In Blog, Seasonal Recipes, Summer by Luke StuartLeave a Comment

An authentic Japanese recipe from Chef Teruko. Serves 4.


  • Sushi rolling mat
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Rice cooker (or thick saucepan with a fitting lid)
  • Small saucepan (or an empty jam jar)
  • A spatula
  • A fan (with a helper if possible)
  • Small piece of muslin or a piece of kitchen towel
  • A large mixing bowl (preferably a wooden bowl but it shouldn’t have any distinctive smell because the rice can catch it. Japanese people use cedar wooden barrel called Sushi Oke).

Laying contents of sushi rollsIngredients

  • 3 cups Sushi rice
  • Dried Kombu seaweed, one piece (2” x 1”)
  • Filtered water 3 cups plus 10% of the 3 cups of water
  • 6 sheets Nori seaweed

For the sushi vinegar

  • 50 ml Rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 5g Sea salt
  • 25g sugar

For the fillings

  • Avocado (not too soft)
  • 2bsp mayonnaise (optional)
  • Half a cucumber
  • 2-3 stalks basil or Shiso-Japanese basil
  • 225g peeled prawns
  • Light soy sauce, for dipping
  • ½ lemon Wasabi-Japanese horseradish

Slicing sushi rollsMethod

Preparing the Rice

Wash the rice in a saucepan very well with cold water as if massaging it gently with your hand then throw the water away. Repeat the same until the water in the saucepan becomes clear. This could be 4 to 5 times.

Drain the rice in a colander then put the rice back in a saucepan with 3 and just less than 1/3 cups of cold water (always add another 10% of water to the amount of rice) and add a piece of Kombu seaweed. Let it stand for 30 minutes. In the meantime prepare the sushi vinegar mix and fillings.

Sushi Vinegar Mix

Pour the vinegar, sugar and sea salt into a small saucepan (not aluminium one) then heat it up as you shake the pan until they dissolve. Then turn it off and wait till it gets to room temperature before mixing with the cooked rice. Alternatively put all the ingredients in a jar then shake it vigorously until all is dissolved. (The Average amount of Sushi vinegar is 10% of the amount of rice.)

Preparing the fillings

Mix the prawns with mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon juice in a bowl. Cut the avocado in half, peel the skin and take the stone out. Slice it 1cm thick lengthways then put them on a large plate. Peel some of the cucumber skin then slice it in half lengthways, then into quarters. Cut the seeds out and cut each strip in half lengthways. Put the cucumber sticks together with the avocado slices and washed basil leaves.

Finished sushi rollsThe Secret of Cooking Japanese Rice

Put the rice with the dried Kombu seaweed on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes with a tight fitting lid. *Avoid lifting the lid throughout the cooking process in order to keep the steam and heat in the saucepan. When the rice begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest to simmer for 20 minutes. The rice soaks up the liquid in this process then gets sticky. Turn the heat off and let it stand for 10 minutes to allow the steam to settle, which will make the rice soft and bouncy.

Making vinegar rice for Sushi

Using a spatula, take the rice out carefully from the saucepan and put into a large bowl. Gently sprinkle the vinegar mix all over the rice then mix into the rice with the spatula gently and quickly as you cut and fold the rice many times. At the same time if possible (otherwise after mixing the vinegar into the rice) fan the rice to let it cool to room temperature. Now it’s ready to start rolling!

The Art of Rolling Sushi

Prepare a bowl of water with a dash of vinegar by your side to keep your fingers wet and clean. Place the Sushi mat horizontally then put a sheet of Nori seaweed on top. Put a handful of Sushi rice on the Nori then spread it neatly and evenly as if pushing the rice onto the Nori seaweed. Make sure you leave the top inch of Nori showing and also leave 5 mm of Nori without rice at the bottom! Place the strips of cucumber, avocado and prawns together just a little below the centre then lift the front of the mat to bring it in to catch the filling firmly with fingers. Once the filling is tucked in with the rice and Nori seaweed then roll it up confidently. Make sure the roll is firmly made so the filling will not come out from either side. Let it rest where the Nori meets on the bottom. Now cut it in half then cut them into 8 pieces evenly. You will need a sharp knife and a clean damp cloth to wipe the blade each time you cut the sushi rolls. This will make the cut clean from sticky rice. Dip the sushi rolls with a little light soy sauce and with Wasabi horseradish to enjoy them.

Share your ideas, or learn to cook with Chef Teruko

Do you have any tips and tricks for making sushi that you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below or join us on Twitter or Facebook. Or why not join us for Chef Teruko’s next Thai (one day) or Asian (evening) cookery course? Upcoming dates can be found on the course calendar.

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