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How To Roll Your Own Sushi On the Cheap

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If you're looking for quick and easy finger foods and hors d'oeuvres for your New Year's Eve party, why not give homemade sushi a shot? It's easy and relatively inexpensive to make, provided that you have all of the necessary tools.

Why make your own sushi? It's fun ('specially when you have a few drinks in you), easy (yes, it really is), cheaper than store-bought and you get to learn how to do it.

Last night, I gave rolling my own sushi a shot. Before I get into my experience, let's run through the basics.

Here is a list of necessary ingredients that you are going to need, all of which can be bought at Whole Foods Market or elsewhere for $20 or less:

Package of Nori (7 sheets) - $4.99
Two-pound bag of short-grain sushi rice - $4.99
One cucumber - $0.79
A large avocado - $2
One package of carrots or radishes - $2.79
A bottle of vinegar - $1 (at a dollar store)

Tools, you are going to need some tools:

Bamboo sushi mat - $5.99
Rice cooker
Wooden cutting board
A one-gallon Ziplock bag
A sharp cutting knife

As you can see, I omitted the raw fish part. For a fresh raw tuna steak, slap on an extra $20. Tilapia is considerably cheaper. You can get a filet for about $5.

So let's get to it. Measure two cups of rice, which was good for three sheets of nori, add more rice (and other ingredients too) for more people of course. For each two cups of rice, use one cup of water and one cup of vinegar, toss in one-half teaspoon of salt, immerse the rice in the mixture in the rice cooker, flip the switch and start cooking.

Meanwhile, start peeling and slicing the avocado, cucumber, radishes, carrots and fish. Cut them into thin strips. Prep time with the vegetables and fish should take as long as the rice takes to cook.

Take the sushi mat and slip it inside the Ziploc bag. You need the plastic bag to prevent everything from sticking to the mat.

Once the rice is done, you should be ready to go. Place one sheet of nori on the plastic-covered sushi mat. There are two sides to the nori, a rough side and a smooth side. Place the nori sheet with the rough side facing up.

Scoop one ball of rice out of the cooker and place it on the sheet of nori, spread it evenly over the sheet, leaving uncovered one-half inch on the top and bottom of the sheet because you want both ends to stick to each other once it's completely rolled.

Now place the thin strips of vegetables and fish close on the rice near the edge of the uncovered lip closest to you and begin rolling the nori sheet using the sushi mat to assist you.

As you roll the bamboo mat with the nori sheet on top, squeeze the roll a little bit to keep it tight, occasionally lifting the mat so you don't roll it with the nori sheet. If it's your first time rolling sushi, do it slow, take it easy, there's really nothing to stress about, you're not going to ruin it. If you mess up, back up and try again.

Once it's completely rolled place the roll on the cutting board, slice it in half, then quarters, then eighths. Now you are finished, this is what it should look like for first timers:

Not bad eh? You're probably going to want some wasabi and soy sauce while you're at Whole Foods, so you might as well shell out $2.69 and $2.79 for each.

Congratulations, now you can apply for a job at Benihana. If you still need help, consult this video on how to roll sushi. Seriously, it's really easy. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

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