Sushi Fail

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One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to learn how to make my own vegetarian sushi.  I’m OBSESSED with my favorite sushi restaurant, Cowfish.  I’ve been watching countless YouTube videos on how to prepare sushi, and finally decided to take the plunge today.




Sushi is hard!


My ingredients included baked and breaded zucchini, raw cucumber, raw beets, and cream cheese.



I bought organic nori and special short-grain brown rice, too.


After prepping the sushi rice in accordance with this video, I set to work.


The hardest part was getting the courage to flip the nori and roll the sushi.  I knew I needed to be confident and firm, but I was super nervous and unsure so I made the Husband’s roll first. 🙂



Tada (kind of)!


Initial thoughts:


  • My brown rice was sticky, but too soggy.
  • Why did my beets bleed all over my rolls but when I get sushi at Cowfish, their beets do not bleed?
  • What kind of knife am I suppose to use? My knives aren’t sharp enough to cut through the rolls without squishing them.



I definitely want to keep learning how to make my own sushi (I think a rice cooker would make this whole process easier), but I also can’t help but think that Cowfish’s rolls are much tastier and only $4.  Sometimes, takeout really is the best option.


I think I’m going to go eat a bowl of cereal instead of the remainder of my sushi.  😉



  • jen @ taste life January 31, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Did the sushi taste bad? Or was it just not as pretty as you hoped? I have never tried making sushi because when there are fine motor skills involved in a recipe, I usually fail!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:43 pm

      It wasn’t very good!

  • VeggieGirl January 31, 2011, 1:41 pm

    No worries! It’s definitely hard to make. I ended up just eating “deconstructed sushi” when I tried to make it, haha 😉

  • Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean January 31, 2011, 1:41 pm

    haha, homemade sushi is on my list too. you’re one step ahead of me though because I haven’t done anything but look at it sitting there on my list yet! give it another chance. Maybe a little less water in your rice when you cook it? or let it sit in the fridge for a day before you eat it? can’t help you on the bleeding beets though. i get them all over everything no matter what i use them for!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday January 31, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Try a very sharp santoku knife. A cheese knife might work too because the holes would help reduce friction.

    I usually put my rice down first and then nori on top rather than the other way around and flipping.

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing January 31, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Sushi is one of those things that just isn’t worth making at home for me haha. They’re so much better at the restaurant! Yours didn’t turn out that bad though!

  • Lisa January 31, 2011, 1:42 pm

    I’ve never tried to make sushi on my own because I know it’s really hard! My boyfriend has made it a few times in his life and he said it was hard and super time consuming. I think I’d rather just go out. 🙂

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) January 31, 2011, 1:43 pm

    I’ve never made sushi, or had it for that matter! Good for you though for trying!

  • BrandonA January 31, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Your knife has to be sharp, but more importantly long. I use a carving knife you would normally use for prime rib or something. Also, dip the knife in water before each cut and make one long cut. No back or forth. I’ve seen a lot worse 1st tries at sushi than you have here.

  • Rachel January 31, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Here’s what you need for success:

    A rice cooker
    A sharp, sharp knife or a santoku knife with holes in it (which you can get wet before you slice and that will keep it from sticking to the blade)

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:44 pm

      Wetting the knife between slices is a great idea!

  • Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons January 31, 2011, 1:44 pm

    awww oh no! I had a brown rice sushi fail recently too!

    I do have two really good tips and tutorials though if you’d like to take a peek =) I think I finally mastered sushi! and I love the idea of the breaded zucchini! genius!

    Peas and Crayons Sushi Tutorial

    Shortcut Sushi


  • Ellen January 31, 2011, 1:45 pm

    did you season everything? the rice, for example, is generally seasoned with rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. and you definitely need a super sharp knife to cut through the nori! do you have a knife sharpener?

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:45 pm

      Yup I followed that video exactly!

      • Ellen January 31, 2011, 10:21 pm

        whoops, i missed that part 🙂

  • Jenn January 31, 2011, 1:45 pm

    Yes, get a rice cooker! Even that ten minute instant rice is good! Did you make some sushi rice vinegar because that is another key point! I make sushi at home all the time & I don’t even have a bamboo roller! Here sushi is about 8 dollars for a simple roll so I definitely make my own 🙂

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) January 31, 2011, 1:45 pm

    I think your sushi looks just beautiful! Very…unique 🙂 I have never tried making my own sushi, so I commend you for trying!

  • Ashley January 31, 2011, 1:46 pm

    My friends had a sushi party before. The truth is using those bamboo things (what are they called?) to roll it makes it harder! Use cling wrap and its much easier!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) January 31, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I love making my own sushi! A bread knife is what I use and you can’t use a lot of pressure. I think yours looks good for a first attempt! I am sure it tastes good!

  • Kara January 31, 2011, 1:47 pm

    One of my kung fu friends has a blog and he did a step by step sushi making tutorial ( and he’s great to explain how to troubleshoot sushi issues.

    I think it just takes a lot of practice!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:47 pm

      Thanks for passing this along!

  • megan @ blackberries for jam January 31, 2011, 1:47 pm

    Maybe try a filling that’s less cumbersome first? Like avocado or baked tofu. Use a super sharp chef’s knife and wipe it after each cut. You could also do a roll with the nori on the outside first because those seem to hold together better. Good luck!

  • Sarah for Real January 31, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Sharp sharp sharp knife! Remember the knives they use at real sushi places have to cut delicate fish super thin so they use uber sharp knives.

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story January 31, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I am a firm believer that some things are worth their weight in the price of take out, 2 of the top things? Sushi and Milkshakes. Sushi for the reasons you mentioned above, milkshakes because the one I make at home will never taste as good as one I get at a place known for good milkshakes, so if I really want one, I just indulge. 🙂

  • Jess January 31, 2011, 1:48 pm

    We always keep our rice on the inside (haven’t had luck with it on the outside). If you have trouble getting it sealed, use a little water on the nori. We use a very sharp knife and dip it in a cup of water between each cut (I think this keeps the knife from sticking to the seaweed). I think your sushi looks good!

  • Sarah January 31, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Try using a serrated knife if you do not have a very sharp regular one, and I also recommend you dip the knife in water before each slice!
    You might want to try to freeze the beets so they bleed less often, but I have never used them in my homemade sushi, so that is just a guess. I recommend using less water when preparing the rice, and I often add a tablespoon or so of rice vinegar to give the sushi rice a bit of flavor after it is cooked.
    sometimes dripping a few drips of water on the nori before adding rice helps too. This allows it all to stick together a bit better. Don’t be afraid to leave the nori on the outside, either (instead of flipping it.)

  • Kristina @ spabettie January 31, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I have a santoku that I use pretty much only for sushi – it’s very sharp.

    can’t help ya on the beets, I only juice them 😉 …but honestly? I think this looks great! especially for a first try! my first try I definitely didn’t attempt an outside rice… keep going!

  • Jordan (Ciao Cow) January 31, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Before I was a vegetarian, I made sushi with salmon. It was awful because I smelled like fish for the entire afternoon. I haven’t tried it again since.

  • Dori January 31, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Yeah it is hard, but good for you for trying! I am firmly in the “it’s easier to get takeout” camp, but am always impressed with people who make their own.

  • Christine @ What The Front Door?!?! January 31, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Making sushi is so fun, don’t give up! You do need a SUPER sharp knife to cut the rolls though.

  • April @ Crazy Fabulous Life January 31, 2011, 1:51 pm

    How did it taste?

    Good for you for trying, though! I think sushi is one of those things that you have to practice a lot before it gets even kind of right. Maybe try a different filling and regular sushi rice?

  • suki January 31, 2011, 1:53 pm

    If it was your first time, you should try putting all the rice inside and keeping the seaweed as the outer wrapping until you’re confident on your rolling abilities. 🙂

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:47 pm

      Good idea… maybe a regular roll would be easier.

      • Mary February 1, 2011, 2:28 pm

        Yeah I’ve done it this way (with the seaweed on outside and rice/fillings inside) and it’s so much easier. Keep a little dish of water next to you and wet the end of the nori when you roll it up so it sticks together. As everyone else has said, a sharp knife is clutch.

  • Kelsey January 31, 2011, 1:54 pm

    My husband and I took a sushi making class at a local sushi restaurant and it was a blast! They put plastic wrap around the bambo rollers which helped alot!

  • Kacy January 31, 2011, 1:55 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try making sushi but it’s so expensive to get all the materials, and like you said it’s pretty affordable at a restaurant.

  • Megan January 31, 2011, 1:55 pm

    Not bad for the first try! I just took a sushi seminar at a local restaurant– I would highly recommend this. It made such a difference in my confidence and just little tid bits as you go along. They work with your mistakes, not just general technique. It was $35, and we got a full sushi meal plus about 4 different demos. Knives make a huge difference, too. I made the perfect looking roll…and then destroyed it with poor knife technique 🙁

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black January 31, 2011, 1:55 pm

    Hey, you tried~ 🙂

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 31, 2011, 1:56 pm

    Mmmm…even if it was a fail, looks-wise, I bet it still tasted really good!!!

    I bet it’s just one of those things that takes a while before you really learn how to get the hang of it. Keep at it!

  • Leanne (For Health's Sake) January 31, 2011, 1:57 pm

    I’ve noticed that you’ve been doing a lot of recipes on your blog lately! Coming out of your comfort zone? 🙂 I like your recipes, even the fails!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:48 pm

      I’m trying to be adventurous!

  • Jessica January 31, 2011, 1:59 pm

    I got a rice cooker for Christmas and it definitely made a huge difference in our sushi! The rice is a lot less soggy. The rice cooker also doubles as a veggie steamer which is an added bonus 🙂 Keep going though, its totally worth being able to make your own!

  • Gretchen (Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!) January 31, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Just as others have said here, I think the key to making clean cuts in your sushi is having a very, very sharp knife and keeping it wet between each slice. You can wipe it with a wet cloth to re-wet it and also to get rid of any rice residue that might be sticking!

    I also see a lot of sushi chefs wrap rolls in plastic wrap before slicing them up – maybe it helps keep each piece more intact? Anyway, kudos for trying! I keep saying that sushi is one of those things that I need to try making for myself, goodness knows I eat enough of it. I even have a sushi cookbook but I’ve never used it!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 31, 2011, 2:01 pm

    hehe well Caitlin, i admire your efforts! i doubt i could have done any better, so good job! 🙂

  • Paige January 31, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Do you think it would help if you roasted and chilled the beets beforehand? Maybe they’re just seeping into your sushi because they’re raw.

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:49 pm

      That’s a good idea! I will try that next time.

  • Kelly January 31, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Haha making Sushi has always intimidated me. Props to you for trying.

  • Nikka January 31, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I use a Santoku knife, which is kind of like a thinner, sharper chef’s knife (you can find them cheap at a Ross/Marshall’s). I’m pretty sure that to keep beets from bleeding you need to have them chilled, I remember reading that in a Martha Stewart magazine when making a beet salad. So maybe cut the beets ahead of time and then put them in the fridge for a bit? Best of luck! Homemade sushi is the best and practice makes perfect!

  • DadHTP January 31, 2011, 2:05 pm

    do you have a knife sharpener?

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:49 pm

      I think so but I don’t know how to do it!

      • DadHTP January 31, 2011, 9:53 pm


  • Jess (Daly Authenticity) January 31, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Caitlyn, I admire you for trying! I went to a “sushi making” party about 3 months ago, and I found that the rice consistency is KEY to making successful sushi. I have not attempted to make sushi again here at home by myself, mostly because the rice is intimidating for me. I am excited to see how your next attempt goes! Keep trying!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 31, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Serious props for trying sushi haha! I love it too but am always terrified to make it….looks pretty good to me though!

  • Jess (Daly Authenticity) January 31, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Caitlyn, Props to your giving it a try! I went to a “sushi making” party a couple of months ago and I found that the key to successful sushi is the consistency of the rice! All of that to say, I have not had the guts to make it by myself here at home for my husband and me! Keep trying and I’ll look forward to learning along with you!

  • Jess (Daly Authenticity) January 31, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Sorry, I don’t know why the first one didn’t post.

  • Melissa January 31, 2011, 2:14 pm

    I did this with my son yesterday. I went the easier route and rolled the rice inside the roll instead of on the outside. I used cucumber, zukes, avacado (you’re allergic though, right?), red bell pepper, and carrots. I spread the rice, put in the veggies and rolled it. I didn’t have a mat, but not a biggie.
    I used a serrated knife and that worked great. I’m blogging these sometime today (or you can see a pic on my Facebook-Melissa Watts Perry)
    Maybe if you take a paper towel and blot the beets???
    Ours turned out really well and my son even rolled two of them. (He’s 6) He tried them for the first time and told me that veggies are good. LOL!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:50 pm

      I love that your 6 year old rolled sushi!

  • Christina January 31, 2011, 2:14 pm

    I went to a sushi class once and we used knives that we brought, I don’t remember my knife (I used a pearing knife) “squishing” the roll. Maybe it was the brand of nori? The one we used was super easy to cut.

    About the beets, were they diced? I’d dice them and dry them really well, maybe that will help with them bleeding into the rice. Also it could have happened that way if the rice was a little too wet when the beet touched it.

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:51 pm

      It was grated, maybe I can try drying it too.

  • Melissa January 31, 2011, 2:16 pm

    oh yeah, and clean off the knife before each cut. I kept a dry towel there to keep the knife dry. That helped.

  • Lindsey January 31, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I think that if you boil beets they tend not to bleed as much, especially if you leave a bit of the stem on and boil them whole. I’m not sure about raw beets though! Maybe the restaurant blanches them before adding to the sushi?

  • Val @ Balancing Val January 31, 2011, 2:16 pm

    We JUST learned how to make sushi last night in class!

    I think you should make an inside roll instead of outside to start as its much easier!

    I will post pictures of my sushi class on my blog tonight! 🙂

  • Summer January 31, 2011, 2:21 pm

    It doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as it tastes good!!

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith January 31, 2011, 2:21 pm

    How often do you sharpen your knives? Maybe they just need to be sharpened up a bit?

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 31, 2011, 2:24 pm

    It doesn’t look too bad!! At least you tried! I don’t think I’d give sushi a go. Seems to complicated.

  • Ashley K. January 31, 2011, 2:26 pm


    I failed at sushi over a year ago and just got the courage to try again. I have a Furi knife and the trick for me was to slice the pieces very quickly, and only in one direction. If you try to saw the pieces that’s when you start to squish them. You really don’t need that much pressure. Run some water over your blade in between cuts to prevent things from getting too sticky!

    Good luck!


    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:52 pm

      Thank you for this great tip!

  • elaine! January 31, 2011, 2:30 pm

    It looks yummy! How did it taste? If it tasted good, it’s not a fail. And you can’t expect it to be restaurant-quality perfect on your first try. Sushi chefs spend YEARS honing their craft. I think you can make ugly sushi a couple times and not feel bad about it. 😉

    Also, using brown rice is just harder, IMO, so you might have more of a learning curve there.

    The suggestions about sharpening your knife and cleaning/wetting it between slices are good ones. Also, make sure you roll that thing really tight. That helps too.

  • elaine! January 31, 2011, 2:32 pm

    Also, did you not cover your sushi mat with plastic wrap first? That helps you get it real tight without squishing rice all up in your mat. I think I’ve seen people slice the sushi through the plastic wrap, even.

  • Marlene January 31, 2011, 2:33 pm

    A couple of hints when making sushi:

    Wrap your rolling mat in cellophane. Makes cleaning MUCH easier!

    I actually wet my knife with water before each cut. I dip the tip of it in a bowl of water and then raise the tip so that the water runs down the blade. It’s fast, and it helps make clean cuts.

    Try washing your beets in cold water until the purple no longer runs. That should stop any beet staining on your sushi.

    Please don’t give up on sushi making! It’s so easy and fun, and you can make a HUGE amount in little time once you get the hang of it!!

  • Maren January 31, 2011, 2:33 pm

    Props to you for even trying!! I’ve heard you have to cook the rice perfectly and it’s super hard! Once I watched how to make sushi knives. They were made out of ceramic and hand-made. They were so cool!

  • January 31, 2011, 2:34 pm

    I’m impressed. I too love sushi big time but don’t know if I would go to the trouble of making it at home.


  • Brian January 31, 2011, 2:38 pm

    I’ve been making sushi for about 6 years at home, nearly weekly. I noticed that you’re trying to keep things really healthy for this blog, but I feel that it’s important to work on the basics before modifying the recipe.

    For instance, you wouldn’t make soy-milk ice cream as your first foray into ice cream making, and you wouldn’t run a marathon without first running a mile.

    Don’t worry though, with some practice, it’ll get better!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:53 pm

      Thanks for passing along this link! It was super helpful.

  • Annie January 31, 2011, 2:39 pm

    Keep trying! I just made sushi for the first time at a friend’s place. Getting the rolls right takes practice. Luckily, the practice still tastes delicious!

  • monicanelsonfitness January 31, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I have to laugh! Sushi is so frustrating to make! It happened to me too. Try it again, though and you will get er done. 🙂

  • Sara January 31, 2011, 2:41 pm

    I would love to try to make my own sushi, it would be a fun app if you’re entertaining! Is it bad that I don’t think that looks too bad…???

  • Stephanie January 31, 2011, 2:41 pm

    I LOVE making it myself but it’s definitely time consuming. I’ve found that inside rolls are ten times easier! Ryan and I make a whole night out of sushi rolling. There are definitely times where we prefer the ease of going out (and the taste so far…I’m no genius yet) but sometimes it can be so much fun!

  • julia January 31, 2011, 2:45 pm

    I grew up in Japan so this post piqued my interest. It’s funny, cause ppl in US think Japanese ppl make sushi all the time. This is not the case; sushi is a celebratory food which is almost always ordered or eaten at a sushi place. And did you know that it takes years of apprenticeship before you can even serve sushi? Ppl spend YEARS perfecting the rice so don’t feel bad about your attempt! I hear the trick is fanning the rice with one hand as you quickly toss in the vinegar. You kind of “fluff” the rice with the edge of the rice paddle; you don’t want to “smush” the rice grains. Hope that helps. I have no idea about the beets….

  • Catherine January 31, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I saw an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown where he said not only do you need a sharp knife, but use a “sawing” motion instead of a normal up and down motion. Maybe that would help?

  • Eliz@The Sweet Life January 31, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Mighty fine job for a first try!

  • Erin January 31, 2011, 2:54 pm

    I used to make sushi a lot, but sadly my ex-boyfriend was the one who made the rice. It took way too much patience! You have to fan it, and also the cooking temperatures are really fussy, too.
    And like others have said, definitely use plastic wrap on your mat and re-wet your knife every time you slice.
    But honestly, it’s just easier to go out for sushi most of the time!

  • Sarah @ Long Legs Healthy Life January 31, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Your sushi looks great! A tip I picked up is to cut from the middle of the roll, not the ends. If you slice through the middle of the roll, and then through the middle of each half, and so on, it won’t squish so much.

  • Allie January 31, 2011, 3:02 pm

    It’s easiest to make a roll that has the rice on the inside, that way you don’t have to flip it!

  • Jessica M January 31, 2011, 3:02 pm

    I have made my own before. It is tricky to roll and cut. I used sushi chef rice and their vinegar too. It was pretty tasty! I have never made it with brown rice before. I would like to try it again, it’s just so messy!

    I just bought a rice cooker (it was only like $9 and by Rival)and I am in love with it! Cooking rice is always messy and tricky- the rice cooker is a snap.

  • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I tried to make vegetable sushi once, because, you are right, it is soo goood! I used regular brown rice cooked a regular way. I ended up eating a bowl of rice topped with vegetables.

    Luckily, I am really good at ordering veggie rolls from restaurants.

  • Whitney January 31, 2011, 3:05 pm

    I know nothing about making sushi but for a sharp knife I would suggest cutco knives! They are the best! Better luck next time 🙂

    • Melissa January 31, 2011, 3:19 pm

      That’s what I used when I cut mine yesterday. The steak knife is sooo versatile!!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:54 pm

      I will look into cutco knives.. we need new ones!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales January 31, 2011, 3:08 pm

    I think your suchi-makin’ efforts are rockin! I stayed with one of my aussie friends’ family over Christmas when I studied abroad there for a year… and they make homemade sushi in their household *all*the*time! I should email them and see what their secret is! I remember helping out in the kitchen (this was 4 yrs ago so it’s a little foggy) and it didn’t seem too hard… hm. I want to try my hand at it now!

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 31, 2011, 3:08 pm

    You’re brave! Sushi is one of those “choose your battles” items for me.

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? January 31, 2011, 3:08 pm

    Sushi is HARD to make. We made it in my grade 12 foods class and I had a super difficult time with it. I cant remember what kind if knife we used to cut it. Something super sharp Im sure – but thats not going to help you out much. 🙂

  • Alyssa January 31, 2011, 3:09 pm

    We got a sushi maker for our wedding and it sat in our closet for like 2 years before we finally regifted it. I am all about the homemade but I agree there are certain things its just easier to have someone else do for you!

  • Cyclist Kate January 31, 2011, 3:21 pm

    I make sushi all the time at home and I never do it rice on the outside–always nori. I think the rice on the outside is just for looks and see no reason to bother with it at home. Also, are you using your normal (boil and drain) method for cooking the rice? I think you really need to cook it in the traditional way, wherein all of the liquid is absorbed or evaporates. Then add a bit of sugar and sushi vinegar to the rice. Makes it perfect every time. And a rice cooker is so worth it, considering how often you eat whole grains–I cook everything in my Zojirushi fuzzy logic!

    My favorite fillings? Sweet potato fries (or just sliced and baked sweet potato) and avocado with sesame seeds; or cucumber, carrot and chopped peanuts. Yum!

    • Cyclist Kate January 31, 2011, 3:22 pm

      Also, I don’t know that it matters much what kind of knife you have–I just use a chef’s knife, but it sounds like yours is due for a sharpening. Some people recommend sharpening every week!

    • Melissa January 31, 2011, 3:50 pm

      I get one roll at a local place that has sweet potato and cream cheese. It is soooo yummy!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:54 pm

      I definitely think you are right – you need a rice cooker to really do good sushi rice!

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe January 31, 2011, 3:27 pm

    I would bet that the restaurant soaks their beets for a while then squeezes out the excess moisture through a cheesecloth or something to inhibit the “bleeding” effect. Yours may be bloody, but they’re probably more nutritious with all the still-juicy beets in them!

  • Jody January 31, 2011, 3:28 pm

    I like to keep seaweed wrappers and sushi rice on hand in my kitchen because they last forever and I can make really random rolls depending on what I have in my fridge.

    My favorite random invention: hummus, labneh, cucumber, and fresh mint. Very squishy but very good.

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) January 31, 2011, 3:32 pm

    There was a while where I was making my own sushi at home and its NOT EASY! I tried and tried and in the end, it wasn’t really saving us much money ?! The cuts of fish I was buying were really expensive and I spent the whole ‘sushi night’ in the kitchen being the ‘sushi chef’ LOL. I decided that sushi would be one of those things that I only get when out… just too time consuming… and not that tasty ;P …now if I could make a dragon roll at home, that’d be another story.

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt January 31, 2011, 3:34 pm

    My husband has asked me to make sushi at home before, and I have been avoiding it like mad! As far as I am concerned, you didn’t fail. At least you tried, and it looked pretty good for the first attempt! If you’re ever in the mood for Cowfish, let me know. I’d love to meet you there! I have yet to try it. 🙂

    • Caitlin February 1, 2011, 9:18 am

      YES! Let me know the next time you want to go.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 31, 2011, 3:35 pm

    one of my goals for January was to make my own sushi. all my readers were like, oh it’s so easy, just do it.

    thank you for keeping it real and showing that it does take some skill and isnt’ a total no brainer….but your sushi does look wonderful 🙂

  • LindseyAnn January 31, 2011, 3:37 pm

    As I am very inexperienced on the sushi front, this doesn’t look half bad to me! Maybe practice will make perfect with this venture. 😉

  • Sarah (Sarah Learns) January 31, 2011, 3:43 pm

    it looks so hard to make sushi! i’m impressed that you tried it though! (i would probably buy mine!)

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) January 31, 2011, 3:48 pm

    I find it easier to make sushi with the nori on the outside – here is my attempt :

    And yes – a sharp knife certainly helps when slicing!

  • Bobbie January 31, 2011, 3:49 pm

    Hi Caitlin, I have a question for you. I don’t eat seafood just because I don’t enjoy the fishy taste. I wish I did like it b/c there are so many healthy options. Anyway, I have ordered vegetarian sushi in the past and still get a fishy taste. I’m assuming that’s the Nori? Does it taste seafood-like to you? I know I would like everything else about the veggie roll…do you know of any way to get around that?

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:55 pm

      I thought it was supppper fishy too. Did you toast it like the package recommended? I did not, I wonder if that changes it.

      • Caitlin February 1, 2011, 9:19 am

        Oh and I would recommend soy paper instead of seaweed paper.

  • Charise January 31, 2011, 3:49 pm

    When I’ve made sushi myself, we take the cheater way and keep the nori on the outside, rice on the inside.

    I don’t use a rice cooker (no room for extraneous small appliances in my small kitchen!), but definitely cook rice the normal way, not like pasta, and I agree with the suggestions to make sure you add rice vinegar.

    I like avocado + carrot + cucumber for an easy filling.

  • Jen January 31, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I’ve never had sushi, so it looks perfect to me 😉

  • Madeleine @ Stepping to the Bright Side January 31, 2011, 4:04 pm

    My boyfriend and I tried to make sushi too! It’s a tough job… I wish I had the answer for you… we decided the best method was to go to a good sushi place, sit at the bar to watch the masters at work. That should serve as good inspiration for the next go ’round- no?

  • Sydney J January 31, 2011, 4:05 pm

    Keep trying! The Pioneer Woman has some great info on sushi, too!

  • Parita@myinnershakti January 31, 2011, 4:33 pm

    Wow, I know you said your sushi didn’t turn out the way you wanted, but I really commend you for trying! That’s awesome. I am the same with Indian food. I really love it and feel like I should try to make it because I am Indian. I just need to stop thinking about making things and actually try. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Jenna January 31, 2011, 4:46 pm

    There are definitely some tips that help with creating sushi. If you put saran wrap on the bamboo mat it helps stop the rice from sticking to the mat and it makes it easier to roll it tightly. You also don’t have to flip the nori, you can make roles with the rice on the inside….they taste the same and stay together better. I’ve made sushi a few times and it definitely takes practice, and some googling. There’s actually some really good instructions on Pioneer Woman’s website

    Good luck and don’t give up!! 🙂

  • Lili January 31, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Im not asian but i used to make sushi w/ my family years ago. the rice would go inside and the Nori would be outside, covering the whole sushi. I remember we used to rinse the knife after cutting each piece. I have no clue about the beets though – Have you thought about trying to use egg as one of the ‘fillings’ ? You might find the egg recipe for sushi online (tamagoyake, i think)….Hope that helps.
    But hey, for your first attempt, your sushi does not look bad at all! It’s not easy to make them .. Did it taste good? 🙂

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:57 pm

      Oh egg sounds really good! do you put cold or hot egg in?

      • Lili February 1, 2011, 12:26 am

        It’s cold. But it’s a japanese omelet for sushi. I dont remember the recipe anymore. Pretty sure you would like it!!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 31, 2011, 4:49 pm

    I think it looks great! I’m too scared to even try. My mom has made it before, and it turned out awesome!

  • Kiran January 31, 2011, 4:54 pm

    For a first-timer, i think you did great 🙂 I can’t wait to try making sushi myself. The hubby receive a sushi making kit during Secret Santa recently 😉

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit January 31, 2011, 5:03 pm

    Don’t waste it just bc it didn’t come out perfect! It looks yummy.

  • Elin @andserenitytoo January 31, 2011, 5:10 pm

    I have made sushi several times, but it’s the most fun when you are a group of friends preparing it together – you get really inventive rolls sometimes 🙂

  • Lacey @ Lake Life January 31, 2011, 5:34 pm

    Sorry about the fail! Some things are best left to the professionals 🙂

  • rebecca lustig January 31, 2011, 5:36 pm

    LOVE the addition of beets!!!

  • Jennifer (keepitsimplefoods) January 31, 2011, 5:39 pm

    You are brave! I have yet to try making my own sushi. Prob need a super sharp knife and a rice cooker!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 31, 2011, 5:42 pm

    Making sushi is really hard! I always used to complain about the prices of rolls until I tried making one for myself- it’s a true art form!

  • Ciely January 31, 2011, 5:45 pm

    Ina (Barefoot Cantessa) suggests “sawing” lightly with the knife. Less chance of squishing. Loose the beets, use softer ingredients like avocado. Worked for me.

  • Raya January 31, 2011, 6:00 pm

    I have heard of using (unflavored) dental floss to “cut” things like that…Not sure if it would work?

  • Linda January 31, 2011, 6:13 pm

    OMG! me too today I have prepared sushi!

  • Caz January 31, 2011, 6:23 pm

    Firstly, I’d stick to the normal nori rolls with the seaweed on the outside until you master it. “Inside-out rolls” like you get at cowfish are much harder.

    Secondly, I bet they julienne the beets using a mandolin instead of grating them. This probably has them bleed less since they’re less “mushy”.

    Finally, I’d use a very gentle ‘sawing’ motion to cut the sushi with the sharpest knife you have. You don’t want to be “pushing down” on the sushi, rather letting the knife to all the work. I’d also try to have the beets on the bottom so you cut them last not first to reduce the bleeding through the rest of the roll. I’d also wipe your knife between each cut. Chefs do this regularly and it reduces the bleeding/mixing…

    Good luck! Sushi is definitely practice makes perfect.

    • Caitlin January 31, 2011, 9:57 pm

      Oh good idea regarding the beets… Julienne would be so much better!

  • Eliza January 31, 2011, 7:06 pm

    It still looks yum.
    Did you cool the rice first? It didn’t look like there was enough rice on the nori either 🙂
    mm sushi

  • Eliza January 31, 2011, 7:10 pm

    And maybe you could wrap it with the seaweed on the outside

  • Emily January 31, 2011, 7:19 pm

    I have that same brand of nori. I find that is is very fishy tasting. I’ve made sushi once, and haven’t tried again due to that taste. Is there something one can do to get rid of the fishiness? I’ve never noticed that taste in restaurants.

  • Jolene ( January 31, 2011, 7:20 pm

    I think they look pretty darn good – especially for your first try! You might need to get your knifes sharpened.

  • 'Dee January 31, 2011, 7:32 pm

    If you blanch the beets first (then chill), they will not bleed on your other food 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 31, 2011, 7:46 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make sushi but I’m kind of scared to try it! It looks so hard!

    Yours looks pretty good for a first try though. 😀 I’m sure it takes lots of practice.

  • Camille January 31, 2011, 7:58 pm

    I tried to make sushi once and it was an epic disaster! Yours really don’t looks that bad, I promise!

  • JenS January 31, 2011, 8:21 pm

    Somebody probably already put this, but the best trick I have ever learned is make a 1/2 and 1/2 bowl of rice vinegar and water. I use it to sprinkle my hands when putting on the rice to keep it from sticking and to wet my sharp knife before cutting to help it glide through a bit better. Using the rice vinegar helps “season” it a bit then using just water.

  • Melissa @ TryingToHeal January 31, 2011, 8:40 pm

    You tried making the hardest sushi for the first time! next time roll it with the rice in the nori…I swear it will be so much better, and easier to cut! You definitely need a sharp knife to get the job done, but if you want, i’ve got three sushi tutorials on the blog if you wana read them (there may not be pictures, but descriptions are available)

  • Allie January 31, 2011, 8:41 pm

    yeeaaah sushi is tough!! ou are one brave girl for giving it a go 😉 I bet you could get the hang of it if you kept trying.. you are right that take out can be less expensive too!

  • Allison January 31, 2011, 9:17 pm

    Hey Caitlin! I work at a catering company and make maki rolls frequently. I find that it helps to wrap the roll in plastic wrap and then slicing it…that way the knife doesn’t stick to the rice and squishes the roll. It also helps to have a bamboo roller also helps with the rolling process too! Just make sure to wrap that in plastic wrap also! Good luck!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 31, 2011, 9:18 pm

    The sushi I get is so cheap it’s worth it to just get takeout and be done with it!!

  • Jeni January 31, 2011, 9:23 pm

    I love beets!

  • Ashley January 31, 2011, 9:33 pm

    Boo! Sorry about the sushi fail! I’ve made my own, but only once. It was good, but such an ordeal that I wished I had just ordered takeout, too : )

  • tiffany January 31, 2011, 10:00 pm

    just use a steak knife, but dip it in water so it doesn’t stick to the rice. sawing back and forth prevents any squishing of the roll. :]

  • maria @ Chasing the Now January 31, 2011, 10:21 pm

    Running the knife under water between each slice helps a lot!

  • MaryBe January 31, 2011, 11:15 pm

    Go into your bedroom and get your dental floss. Wrap it around the sushi and yank. Nice neat slices

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking February 1, 2011, 12:15 am

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but this is my first time commenting 🙂
    Sushi rolling is definitely not an easy task. My mom is a pro – but I can never seem to get it quite right! 🙂

  • Veronica February 1, 2011, 12:41 am

    1. Freeze the beet strips
    2. I find that its best to add the rice wine vinegar to the water that the rice cooks in. Otherwise you’ll cook the rice to PERFECTION and then adding that Tb of vinegar will put it over the edge into soggy land.

    Good luck in your next try! Have you thought about asking the chef at your fave sushi place? Or even quizzing the waitress could yield some great tips.

  • Nathalie February 1, 2011, 6:07 am

    I only use regular sushi rice and it works a treat every time, maybe it doesn’t work so well with brown rice? I don’t have a rice cooker, so I just make it on the hob. I also add- uhm I can’t remember properly now…it’s been a while…- some rice wine vinegar I think and some sugar and the rice is really nice and sticky. Better luck next time 🙂

    Oh, and I am so glad that Maggie is ok!!! Do you think you can convince her to go for more walkies?

    • Caitlin February 1, 2011, 9:14 am

      I’m going to try!! LOL

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy February 1, 2011, 9:02 am

    I’ve wanted to make my own but I think I’d fail too … but I guess you never know until you try. Awesome on trying! They didn’t look too bad 🙂 I love my rice cooker. Set it and forget it!

  • Jessica February 1, 2011, 8:15 pm

    Yes, I second the two previous posts that recommended using a serrated knife and wetting it before each slice…you’ll be relieved at how easy this works. 🙂

  • Gwen Poth February 1, 2011, 10:16 pm

    Caitlin – Everyone at The Cowfish is really excited about getting you in here soon for sushi making lessons!

  • Alison @ Around the VeggieTable February 3, 2011, 10:01 am

    Hey Caitlin! So an idea popped into my head and I remembered that you had posted on making sushi a few days ago. I read through all the comments and no one has suggested this yet. Did you know that Annie Chun makes sushi kits? They even have one with sprouted grain brown rice! I’ve used it before and found it to be a lot less time consuming (although I failed by way over-stuffing my sushi, but that’s another story). You might wanna give it a try 🙂

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:15 am

      Oh good suggest! I’ll look into the kits.

  • Christina February 5, 2011, 9:50 am

    I ran into the knife problem when I first made sushi. A serrated knife actually sliced through the rolls pretty well!

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