One of my friends recently got a promotion into a middle management position and took us out to celebrate at a fancy Japanese restaurant. I had never been there before, and while I like to eat and cook, I generally stick to traditional meals. I was impressed by the variety and great taste of the Japanese courses, especially the sushi and the tempura. I tried to go back to the restaurant, but, as they are the single Japanese restaurant in town, they were booked for an entire month ahead. Additionally, when I finally got to go, I was struck by the high prices. So, despite my liking of the Japanese dishes, going back to the restaurant became a financially unavailable option. Given this scenario, I decided to make my own sushi. While not free, the end result was significantly cheaper than the restaurant meals, and the taste was strikingly similar. Additionally, for less money, you can make larger quantities of sushi.

Below is the recipe I now use to make my own sushi:

* Nori – they are paper like leaves, made from dried and fried algae; they can be found in the supermarket; I buy them from my local supermarket and they keep them in the fish sector; they come in 10 pieces bags, but I do not use more than four once; the rest can be safely stored in the refrigerator
* Boiled rice – I generally use Thai rice, with the long grain; it offers the desired consistency, and is also one of the cheapest fancy rice alternatives
* Cucumber – a long fresh cucumber is preferred; either peeled or not
* Surimi – this is a pasta made from cheaper fish meat (I generally use crab surimi) and it can be found in the local supermarket, in the freezers’ isle, next to frozen fish, sea fruit and other similar
* Smoked salmon – this is the most expensive ingredient, but you would only need about 100 grams, so it is as such affordable.
You will also need a bamboo pad on which to place the ingredients, and which will help you roll the sushi.

For serving the sushi, you will need to buy soy sauce and wasabi. In both cases, the supermarkets sell the items in their original format as imported from Japan, or in an American and least expensive version. While the Japan imported wasabi and soy sauce are distinctively better, the American products will work. The Japanese restaurants also serve gari alongside with sushi; gari is basically pickled ginger, which is extremely spicy and hot; I have not yet purchased it.

The mechanism for making the sushi is relatively simple, with the specification that the rolling part is the most challenging one. With patience however, you will succeed. As such:

* First place the nori on the bamboo pad
* Then place the rice on top of the nori; make sure to spread it equally throughout the entire surface of the nori, even on its margins
* Third, place on the horizontal down side of the nori one long slice of cucumber, two pieces of surimi and smoked salmon
* Roll the nori in a means that the cucumber, the surimi and the salmon are in the middle of the roll; you will obtain a tube looking sushi roll
* Cut the roll into pieces, using a thin blade knife; as a tip, it is useful to keep the blade of the knife wet, so it doesn’t’ stick to the nori

Bon appetit!