Sushi Making 101

I recently treated myself (plus my friend, Celeste) to a sushi-making class at Sushi Yoko in Fort Worth. I purchased the deal on Groupon, plus making sushi is on my 2013 Resolution List. For $75, Celeste and I each had a cocktail, iced tea, an appetizer, sushi roll, and nearly three hours of personal instruction from the sushi chef and restaurant owner, Lamar. A couple from Dallas and two ladies from Fort Worth were also in the class. Together, we had a wonderful evening full of laughs and great sushi.


The boxes in the photo above are holding chopsticks belonging to families and individuals who eat at Sushi Yoko frequently. The boxes are arranged along several walls inside the restaurant and I think it’s the neatest idea for customer appreciation! Lamar promised me my own set of chopsticks on the wall if I bring more friends for another class …. I’m getting a box on the wall!!!!!

Making sushi is an art and it has quite the colorful history. What most consider sushi began humbly as a way of preserving meat and fish with vinegar-soaked rice. Sushi rice (the most important component) is carefully prepared according to the strict instructions of the itamae (or sushi chef), and every sushi restaurant has its own “secret” recipe using short-grain rice, sugar, salt, and vinegar. To appease our palettes, sushi rice in the United States is much sweeter than its counterpart in Japan, which is made with more vinegar.

After a thorough lesson in the history of sushi, and explaining different types of rolls and assembling techniques, Lamar showed us how to make a traditional California roll with sushi rice, nori (seaweed) paper, cucumber, avocado, and imitation crab. The first step is measuring a palm full of sushi rice and forming a tight, but not “squished” ball of rice in your hand, and retrieving a sheet of nori.


It’s important to not over work the rice as it could quickly turn the consistency of mashed potatoes. Lamar expertly demonstrated how to spread the rice on the sheet of nori, starting down the center of the paper and gently pressing it down, and pushed the rice over the edge about a quarter of an inch. To arrange the filling, Lamar began with the softest food (avocado), then spread the crab meat and neatly arranged several strips of cucumber.


With thumbs positioned on the bottom, and fingers holding the filling ingredients in place, Lamar lifted his wrists and rolled forward in one slow motion.


Without lifting the bamboo mat completely, reposition and roll a quarter of a turn. Then apply slight pressure to seal that perfect edge!


Done … except the edges need to be cleaned up. Lamar used the bamboo mat to hold the roll in place while he “flattened” the edge with the palm of his hand.


You’ve now reached the point in the post where we transition from the professional (Lamar) making sushi to the amateur (Yours Truly). =)

In case you had any doubts, sticky rice is really sticky. There is pomp-and-circumstance required when rolling a bamboo mat covered in plastic wrap too, it’s not as easy as it looks!!!


I pride myself in decent knife skills, but nobody can easily cut through plastic, fresh salmon, and several layers of rice, nori paper, and filling with a regular ol’ steak knife. Because I was a good student and asked questions, took lots of photos, and promised positive promotion for his business, Lamar let me use his chef’s knife. It sliced the roll like warm butter!

I wish I could tell you that my Alaskan roll turned out pretty, but the truth is I am not Picasso in the world of sushi art. But hey, it tasted great!


If you are a sushi eater, what are your favorite rolls? Have you ever taken a food prep class? Tell me in a comment!!!


By |2013-04-11T00:09:55+00:00April 11th, 2013|Blog, Food & Drink, Photography, resolutions|0 Comments

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  1. Celeste Zachry April 11, 2013 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Oh-me-oh-my! This was so much fun!! Thank you for letting me be your sidekick and photograph your fingers 🙂

    I want to go back again and earn more points!

    I loved their OMG roll and the Tex-Mex. Delish and full of flavors. Yumm!!

    • Nicole April 11, 2013 at 7:03 am - Reply

      Actually, that hand sprinkled with sticky rice is YOURS, hahahaha!!!!! I had a great time, thank YOU for joining me and being such a good (patient) sidekick. I say we go there for more girls’ nights! Yes, the OMG and Tex-Mex rolls were dee-lish-ous. Okay, now I’m hungry and it’s not even 7:00am. Big hugs! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  2. April April 11, 2013 at 9:48 am - Reply

    YUM!!! I want to eat sushi so much now!

    • Nicole April 11, 2013 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Woman, I miss you so much!!!!!!!!! You should get you some sushi, the cooked rolls are fine for your preggo belly, right?! Sending lots of love and big hugs your way. =)

  3. rainydayinmay April 11, 2013 at 10:07 am - Reply

    I LOVE Dragon rolls. LOVE LOVE LOVE them. (though I’ve had bad ones!) They are basically an eel and avacado roll. I have never prepared Sushi though. What a really cool groupon experience. 🙂

    • Nicole April 11, 2013 at 10:25 am - Reply

      It was definitely a cool experience and worth the $75 (it was actually $59 for the Groupon deal plus extra for drinks from the bar) with a friend. Our instructor was amazing and highly skilled, plus he had a wonderful sense of humor and more patience than a grandmother!!!!! As for dragon rolls, I love those too! It’s funny, when I first started eating sushi I would NOT try eel. Finally, a friend begged me and I “put my big girl panties on” and did it. Holy Moly …. that stuff tastes like bacon!!!!!!! If I had known that, I would have been eating sushi 30 years ago! HAHAHA

  4. lovelylici1986 April 11, 2013 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Oh, man. I loooove sushi! I had sushi for my birthday lunch last week. I want to take a sushi-making class sooo bad. They’re not offered here. I may seriously make a trip to some random city and state just for a sushi-making class. I like the California roll, but there is one at the local sushi restaurant called “Seafront Crunch” and another called “Bahama Dream” and they are goood. I can’t remember exactly what they have in them though.

    • Nicole April 11, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

      mmmmmm those rolls sound delicious!!!! I love anything that’s crunchy and seafood is always a favorite. Come to Texas and we’ll eat sushi together. =)

      • lovelylici1986 April 11, 2013 at 11:12 am - Reply

        DEAL! Austin is actually on my list of places to visit. And that’s really weird because I’m not too into the US. I just wanna see what’s so weird about it. Lol.

        • Nicole April 11, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

          You’re in luck! Austin is my FAVORITE city in Texas. It’s the most beautiful too. I tell people it’s the closest place in Texas I’ve found to Kentucky …. the beautiful waterfronts, the parks, the food, the people, everything is wonderful in that city. You come to Texas and I will take you to Austin. I don’t know what’s so weird about it though, it’s just a good kind of different. LOL

  5. Gracie B April 21, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    I would LOVE to take a sushi making class! I would literally eat sushi every single day if I could.

    • Nicole April 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      Me too, Gracie!!! Want to meet for sushi and blog plan!?!

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