How To Amp Up Your Family’s Sushi Game

If you’ve never tried sushi because the idea of raw fish bothers you, it’s time to check your facts. There are many types of western sushi that include cooked fish, and many others that include no meat at all. The more you educate yourself about the different types of sushi available, the more likely you’ll be able to incorporate this age-old dining experience onto your family’s diner table. 


The most common form of sushi that many of us know is maki. Maki is a rolled serving of sushi. The meat and veggies are wrapped in sticky rice and the rice is wrapped in nori, or seaweed. While is is appropriate to eat most sushi with your hands, practicing on maki with chopsticks is a great choice. 

It’s easy to crush things when you start with chopsticks. Sushi should never be smashed or squashed. Nori is slightly sticky; practice holding your pieces of maki just tight enough to hold them over your plate so you feel how much pressure you need to put on your chopsticks. 

If the raw fish thing is really problematic, try a California roll, a Philadelphia roll, or an unagi. All three feature cooked fish, namely steamed crab, smoked salmon and fried freshwater eel. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a spider crab maki; this deep fried maki treat comes with claws at the end and is deliciously flavorful. 


Temaki, or hand roll, must be eaten with the fingers. There is a lot of product inside your temaki; you will want to eat this quickly. The longer it lays, the longer it will have to fall apart and you’ll end up asking for a fork to enjoy the stuffing. You will need to be able to bite completely through the nori to fully enjoy a hand roll; if your teeth don’t meet fully, you may prefer maki. 

Do be careful when judging the spiciness of your filling choice. Spicy salmon is delicious, but depending on your tolerance a little can go a long way. Be aware that sushi is generally made with just a dab of wasabi, or Japanese horseradish. Unless you’ve tried it and really enjoy it, don’t add wasabi to your first bite of a hand roll or a maki roll. 


Sashimi is just the fish; there is no rice on the plate when you order sashimi. Sashimi is only eaten with chopsticks; it’s never finger food. It should be noted that sushi is not cheap. Bargain sushi should be viewed with caution. Because the main ingredients of sushi may need to be flown in each day, it’s worth the money. 

If you really love a particular fish, such as raw salmon or raw tuna, then sashimi is a great way to spend your sushi budget. You get unadulterated flavor and no rice to fill up your tummy. However, if you’re just starting out, don’t start with sashimi. 


When considering sashimi vs. nigiri, think of nigiri as an unrolled piece of maki minus the nori. While a maki will include 5 or six pieces, nigiri is generally just two piece of fish, laid over a bit of rice with a smear of wasabi between the fish and the rice. 

A quick tip for folks who love seafood: Do not order your favorite cooked product in the raw form. Seared scallops, for those who love them, are sweet and fatty. Raw scallops are the closest thing to straight up shortening that this scallop fan has ever eaten. If you love deep fried squid, be aware that raw squid is really chewy. 

Is It Safe To DIY Sushi? 

It really depends on your fishmonger. If you don’t have a fishmonger, find one. Grocery store raw fish, unless you live near the water or know that they fly in fish each day, is not a good choice for sushi. If your grocery store does sell sushi, watch the prep process and buy it as soon as you see it get placed in the cooler. 

Be aware that your first rolls will not look like what you find at your favorite sushi restaurant. It actually takes 10 years to become a fully qualified sushi chef in Japan. Unless you’re really ready to invest in the tools and put in the practice time to create tidy rolls. 

All versions of sushi offer a great way to eat clean, fresh fish. If you’ve been eating sushi for a while and find the flavor a bit blah, go to your favorite sushi restaurant for lunch instead of dinner. Your fish will have come off the shipping ice less recently and the flavor will be different. 

Sushi is a nutritious and delicious meal that your family can enjoy together. If your family is new to sushi rolling, consider using cooked meats. Sushi rolling with your family can be a fun and exciting experience for all family members involved, bringing you together for fun and for good health. 

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