Sushi does not have to be limited to restaurant menus. It’s a lot easier than you might think to make, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers. Best of all, no extra equipment is required. I’ll show you how to make homemade sushi without using a mat!
Easy Homemade Sushi Ingredients
Sheets of nori (seaweed) and sushi rice (don’t miss my Easy Sushi Rice recipe!) are the only two items required for making homemade sushi rolls (maki). Aside from that, when it comes to fillings, the sky is the limit. You can use top quality, sushi-grade raw fish for fish rolls, but if you’re scared to use raw fish at home, use cooked, flaked fish (or shrimp). Our favorite sushi rolls are the spicy salmon rolls.
Try shreds of carrot, julienned cucumber, and/or avocado slices for vegetable rolls. Cucumber, avocado, and omelet rolls (made with thin pieces of cooked omelet) are also favorites.
You can also use prepared vegetables that have been left over (think roasted mushrooms, sautéed greens, sliced winter squash, and so on). Add diced kimchi, a drizzle of soy glaze, or a sprinkling of sesame seeds to get creative with the flavorings.
How to Roll Homemade Sushi Without a Mat
Instructions of Homemade Sushi Without a Mat
- Begin by making your rice. Rinse the rice until the water flows clear through a fine mesh strainer. Then, in a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Cool in a jar or dish in the refrigerator until rice is ready.
- Once the rice is done, turn off the heat and add the cooled vinegar mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or fork as to not overmix. It will appear wet but will dry up as you lightly stir to release heat. It should be sticky and completely dry once it’s ready.
- In the meantime, prep your veggies by chopping them into thin pieces. If they’re too bulky they won’t allow the sushi to roll well.
- Now it’s time to roll: grab a thick towel and fold it over into a rectangle and place it on a flat surface. Top with plastic wrap, then with a sheet of nori. Using your hands dipped in water (to avoid sticking), pat a very thin layer of rice all over the nori, making sure it’s not too thick or your roll will be all rice and no filling.
- Then, arrange a serving of your veggies or preferred filling in a line at the bottom 3/4 of the rice closest to you (see photo).
- Start to roll the nori and rice over with your fingers, and once the veggies are covered, roll over the plastic wrap and towel, using it to mold and compress the roll (see photo). Continue until it’s all the way rolled up.
- Slice with a sharp knife and set aside.
- To make the inside out roll, follow this awesome tutorial. See photos for how to apply a layer of avocado on the outside.
- Serve immediately with pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi.
Tips for making homemade sushi without a mat:
- Use a piece of parchment paper that’s bigger than your sheet of nori by a few inches on the top and bottom (this will give you leverage when rolling). Or you can use a sushi mat!
- You’ll need to make a batch of this Sushi Rice before beginning.
- Use your sharpest knife when cutting the rolled sushi into rounds. If your knife is too dull it might have trouble cutting cleanly through the nori.
- Serve the sushi with soy sauce or tamari for dipping, along with wasabi and pickled ginger (which you can find at most supermarkets that sell sushi—ask for them at the sushi counter). Let your own sushi tradition begin!
- Try these Spicy Salmon Sushi Mat Wraps.
Is it possible to prepare homemade sushi without using a rolling mat? Yes! To roll homemade sushi, all you need is a sheet of parchment paper. What kinds of things can you add in sushi? When it comes to sushi fillings, the sky is the limit.
Sushi grade raw fish, cooked fish, slivered vegetables, fried omelet, or even cooked vegetables are all options. Is it possible to prepare sushi ahead of time? Yes! Sushi can be kept refrigerated for up to one day in an airtight container.