Basic Sushi Ingredients List for Beginners
What ingredients you need to make sushi and how to get them, article by Chef George Krumov
What separates sushi from other foods is its simplicity and the cleanness of its ingredients. Historically, sushi started with very few ingredients. Nowadays due to the rising popularity of sushi all over the world, every sushi restaurant will dazzle you with a display of multi-color delights.
There are not too many ingredients that you need to get in order to be able to make sushi at home. The picture above shows some of the basic sushi ingredients, however, you can start even with less.
What ingredients do we have in the picture: (Left to right) Front row: sliced avocado, smoked salmon, crab sticks, raw salmon, tuna and bbq eel; Second row: juliennes of cucumber, sliced red bell pepper, wasabi, pickled sushi ginger, nori (seaweed), soy sauce and spicy Japanese pepper; Back row: box for holding the nori, alfalfa sprouts, plastic gloves. Ingredients that are not in the picture: Calrose rice, rice vinegar, sugar and a bamboo mat. You will also need cling wrap to wrap the bamboo mat.
If you want to read the instructions on how to cook sushi rice and how to make sushi rolls and nigiri go to my sushi recipes page.
Where to buy sushi ingredients: Most good grocery stores have fish departments where you can get fresh salmon and tuna. When I buy them I make sure that they have been packaged on the same day, or if they don't have packaged fish, then I ask for a fresh piece that has not been kept on the display. Crab sticks are easy to find in any grocery store, unlike the bbq eel. For bbq eel you have to visit a good Asian store, where you can buy also nori, wasabi, pickled ginger, rice vinegar and sushi mats. I recommend paying attention to the labels of the crab sticks, bbq eel and soy sauce. Those three ingredients are more likely to have msg in one form or another, but you can definitely find some without it.
Handling raw sushi ingredients:
You should handle raw sushi ingredients in the most sanitary way possible and try to reduce the time they spend out of the correct holding temperature. For example, buy salmon and tuna last, when you are almost ready to leave the store. After slicing them at home, place them in a clean container and return the sliced fish in the fridge until needed. It is best to buy only as much raw sushi ingredients as you would need for up to two days.
You can make a basic sushi roll or nigiri sushi using just 4 ingredients. This is the proof that sushi is not as much about the number of ingredients, but the quality of those ingredients, and of course a little bit of skill. Cheers.