The Beginner’s Guide to Making Sushi at Home


From the humble beginnings of rice and fish to the intricate artistry of nigiri and maki rolls, sushi has evolved into a global culinary sensation. More than 5 million Americans eat sushi once a month. And it’s a healthy option for those who want more protein and healthy fat in their diet. But if you’re not a seasoned sushi connoisseur, how do you know what to order, the ingredients, or even how to eat it properly? With our beginner’s guide to sushi, it’s easy to become a sushi expert who can order anything on a restaurant menu or even make it in your home. 

Sushi Terms Defined


The term sushi refers to a raw piece of fish that lies atop cold, cooked rice. Some use the term to refer to sushi rolls (see below). But sushi doesn’t have to be in a roll. 


Ever heard of the term “sashimi grade”? This grade refers to fish that’s uber fresh and high quality, meant for eating raw. Sashimi is a raw piece of fish served without rice. The texture is creamy and does not taste “fishy” at all. It tastes great dipped in soy sauce with a bit of wasabi.

Sushi Rolls/Maki 

A roll with cold, cooked rice, seaweed, cooked or raw fish, and vegetables. Sometimes, rolls contain fruit like mango and garnished with roe (fish eggs) or sesame seeds.

Guide to Sushi Etiquette

If you’re a true beginner, we’re guessing you’re wondering, how do I eat sushi?

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to try to disassemble a piece of a sushi roll. First, the chef worked hard to prepare it. Second, it’s going to get messy. Most sushi rolls are tightly wrapped in a sheet of seaweed. Taking off the seaweed can make the insides fall out. Grasping a large slice of a roll is more manageable than stabbing at the tiny morsels inside.

To help you feel more comfortable, try creating a few simple sushi recipes at home. You’ll need to purchase sushi rice, seaweed, and some produce like avocado, cucumber, or carrot. Also, buy sashimi-grade fish if you can, and if not, cook some salmon to use.

The Right Tools to Enjoy Sushi

From utility knives and cutting boards to fry pans and tongs, The Alto-Hartley showroom in Alexandria, Virginia has everything needed for the perfect homemade sushi creations.

Our top four equipment essentials for at-home sushi:

  1. Rice cooker: To cook the perfect rice for sushi, a rice cooker is your best bet. You won’t have to worry about checking the stove a million times. Plus, no burnt rice and no tears. Just set it and forget it.
  2. Rice paddle: This is going to make your life easier in terms of getting a nice even layer spread over your mat, which brings us to:
  3. A sushi mat (makisu): Wondering how to get that roll in perfect shape? First, lay out the rice. Next, drape the seaweed (Nori sheets) on top, then add your produce. Roll, and you’re ready to slice.
  4. Sushi knife: You’ll need a sharp knife to slice your roll and ensure everything stays intact.

Are you someone who loves to cook and lives in the Washington, D.C. area? The Alto-Hartley showroom is open to the public for all your foodie necessities! As an industry expert in restaurant equipment supply, we have everything you need to make the best sushi in town – right in your own home. Take advantage of the coupon below and start shopping like a chef!