Making Sushi at Home is Not So Far Out of Reach

Several developments have accelerated initiatives like home delivery of quality fish: the ongoing refinement of the global supply chain and the black swan of Covid. Many of us have expanded our repertoire when it comes to home cooking, and I recently ventured into preparing sushi at home.

Honolulu Fish was an ideal place to start.

Having come to sushi far later than my daughters (they were seeming experts before their 10th birthday and this rust belt Baby Boomer didn’t try raw fish until after he moved to California in his 20s), I had some trepidation that I would have the right ingredients accessible. Honolulu Fish solved that problem, shipping their Hawaiian Ultra Ahi With Maki Roll Sushi Set in a sturdy ice packed box.

The box included everything for me to craft hand rolls and traditional rolls. I can confirm the former is easier; the latter requires some finesse. But as I stood on one side of the counter and my three guests sat on the other, I was able to cobble together some rolls that tasted far better than they looked. I eventually got the hang of it. I added an avocado from our fruit bowl for a familiar California ingredient.

When preparing the rolls I fired up a playlist combined of Kitaro and Ryuichi Sakamoto, perfect accompaniment with the sake for my first foray into homemade sushi.

With only the slightest of hesitancy I tried some sashimi, meaning I sliced off a portion of ahi and then salmon, eating it raw. Each had the delicacy I enjoy at the best sushi restaurants, with the salmon evoking the butter smooth texture sought by aficionados.

Soon I was slicing off portions for my guests, in between learning how to make the rolls.

The key is to get the rice prepared, and not just any rice. The set shipped with a pound of Nanatsuboshi Super Premium Sushi Rice from Hokkaido’s small farms in Japan’s northern island, then fresh milled to order in Honolulu. Thorough rinsing was followed by a session in the rice cooker. Keeping your hands moist will reduce the waste of wiping away rice that sticks to your fingers.

Hawaiian Ahi (Bigeye Tuna) Ultra is the very best grade of fresh ahi available in the world. The meat is translucent and brilliant red. With its very low water content and high creamy oil content Ahi Ultra delivers a unique and superb taste. We also had an excellent slab of king salmon with which to work. It is the most popular tasting salmon of all the species of salmons. The king salmon from Honolulu Fish is an entirely unique genetic strain of king salmon bred for its extremely rich taste and much higher oil content.

After several sashimi slices of each fish slab, I indeed understood the purveyor’s tagline:

You would have to catch it yourself to get any fresher

In the set were the remaining ingredients needed to craft our rolls:

  • Sushihane Yakinori fresh roasted Japanese seaweed wraps
  • Yubikigenman Sashimi Shoyu “Usu-kuchi” or “light mouth” mild soy sauce made for sashimi
  • Mizkan sushi rice seasoning mild rice vinegar for adding sweetness; salt and bonito balances the flavor of sushi rice
  • Honnama Wasabi paste mountain water grown, real Japanese wasabi horseradish
  • Sushi roll mat

We found ourselves using less wasabi than usual, as we wanted more of the fresh fish flavor to come through.

Many of us have come to consider sushi as a wasabi-delivery system, but eschewing the soy and wasabi is good strategy to get back to the true fish experience.

The four of us could not finish all the fish, and the next day I used a couple remaining slabs of salmon as sashimi and easily found a wonderful seared tuna recipe for the remainder of the ahi.

A quick calculation had me conclude that the cost of the set was probably about we would have spent at a good sushi restaurant. We certainly had more fun talking turns building out our rolls, and next time we will be even more adept.

As a huge fan of yellowtail (hamachi) I look forward to trying out the kanpachi from Honolulu Fish. The clear blue waters of Hawaii are the only place in the world where kanpachi are grown in the ocean. With a fat content that is higher than hamachi and a silky texture, I am confident I will soon be able to prepare sushi rolls with finesse.




Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.