Trying Our Hand At Making Sushi

C enjoys a bite of sushi
C enjoys a bite of sushi.

Every year, friends and family ask what they can buy C for his birthday. To make it easier, we’ve gotten into the habit of making an Amazon list with suggestions of things he might like. But, let’s be honest, the last thing he needs is another toy. So, for his most recent birthday we decided to add a Raddish Kit from the Raddish Club to our list of gift ideas. If you don’t already know what the Raddish Club is, it’s a kid-centric club that sells cooking kits specifically designed for kids that include recipes, cooking tools and a children’s activity in each kit.

This year, my sister-in-law purchased the “Ticket to Japan” kit as a gift for our sushi-loving son. He received the kit in February for his birthday, and after a bit of a delay, we finally put it to use last week.

Raddish Club Sushi Ticket to Japan kit.
Raddish Club Sushi Ticket to Japan kit.

Ticket to Japan

The kit included recipes for Miso Soup, Cucumber Salad, Chicken Yakitori and Sushi Maki Rolls. It also included a bamboo sushi mat and chopstick set.

What was not included, however, were all the ingredients to make the yummy recipes. For that, we went to One World Market in Novi, a large Japanese grocery store owned by the same people who own Noble Fish in Clawson.

C is excited to start making sushi
C is excited to start making sushi

The market was amazing! There were so many different Japanese products that were tempting to purchase. Still, we stayed true to our sushi mission. Luckily for us, the market also had a lot of raw fish and supplies for sushi. We purchased sushi rice, nori (seaweed), sweet rice vinegar, avocados, cucumber and a lot of raw fish. Having never made sushi before, I wasn’t quite sure how much fish was needed. After the first roll, I found out  the answer, and that we had way overbought. This, of course, isn’t a bad problem to have (we just made more sushi), but a lesson learned.

Our First Roll

The first sushi roll we made was one of C’s favorites, an avocado and cucumber roll.

C helped me prep the roll by using a butter knife to cut thin slices of avocado.

C cuts the avocado for the sushi rolls.
C cuts the avocado.

While he did that, I made 2 cups of sushi rice using my trusty Instant Pot. Fair warning it takes roughly 25 minutes to make sushi rice in an Instant Pot.  My recipe told me I would need 2 cups, but in hindsight, I should have made at least 4 cups of rice because I ended up having to make more later.

While the rice was cooking and the avocados were being cut, I prepared the cucumber by cutting, peeling, and deseeding. Then, I set aside the cucumber and avocado in two separate small glass bowls. Next, I wrapped the bamboo mat provided by Raddish Club with plastic wrap and set up my station.

As a 4-year-old, C was eager to help at the beginning, and then eager to eat right away. Unfortunately, making sushi takes time. Luckily, my husband held off a hunger-driven meltdown and took C to play while the rice finished cooking.

When the rice was ready, I followed the recipe and mixed it with rice vinegar. I should have let it cool off, but did I mention we were hungry? So, we got to making our sushi right away.


Rock and Roll

When making sushi, first lay the shiny side of the nori (seaweed) down on the plastic wrapped bamboo mat. Second, take one cup of sushi rice, wet fingers and spread on top of the nori. Third, put some of your pre-cut avocado and cucumber in the middle of the sushi rice. Fourth, take mat and roll forward.

The hardest part of the process was the actual rolling of the roll, and ensuring you have a knife sharp enough to cut the pieces. It turns out our knives weren’t very sharp, so some of our pieces, sadly, broke apart. If you, too, have young kids, you can imagine how happy my son was to receive a broken piece of sushi. He was not happy, and refused to eat any broken parts. I, however, thought they were delicious and took those as a snack until I could make myself more to eat.

avocado sushi rolls
Avocado rolls

In fact, I ate so many broken pieces that by the time I made the other rolls for my husband and me, I wasn’t even hungry. Still, for us we made some tuna and salmon rolls, which is where we found out how much fish you really need for each roll. Note: it’s not much. If you’re trying this at home, you’ll probably only need three small slices of fish.

A salmon and avocado sushi roll.
A salmon and avocado roll.

The first avocado roll came out well. Both C and his 15-month-old sister, V, loved it! In fact, V ate about one avocado cucumber roll all by herself. She even ate the seaweed. This is a big deal because, unlike her brother, V is a very picky eater. After the dinner success, we were so excited that we even took a chance and sent her two pieces of homemade avocado roll in her lunch the next day. Her teacher told my husband V loved them!

With all of our leftover fish and a new excitement to sushi making and eating, we ended up having sushi and sashimi as part of our dinner for the next couple of days. But if you like sushi as much as we do, this was a very nice problem to have!

C enjoys a bite of sushi
C enjoys a bite of sushi.

I’m grateful that this birthday gift allowed us to try making something new and delicious together. We’ll definitely be making sushi again soon. Yum!


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