Basic stuff for making sushi:

A sushi rolling kit. You can get these for less than $5. They include a wooden rice-spreading paddle and a bamboo rolling mat. It's the mat you really need.
Rice molds. You can find these in Asian grocery stores. These are wonderful for those who feel lazy and don't want to get out the rolling mat just to make some blocks of rice to stick stuff on top of. You just turn the molds over, fill them up, pack the rice down, then push the bottom in. Turn rightside-up and whack it on the counter, and you have perfectly-shaped rice blocks! I prefer the ones that look like miniature ice cube trays, as they make the best-sized blocks. I have some with cute shapes, but the blocks they make are too big for my taste.
Nori. This is the dried seaweedy stuff that is rolled inside or outside the sushi. It comes in sheets. I buy the toasted stuff. The only untoasted nori I ever bought tasted terrible. This is not only used in sushi, by the way. You can use it as a topping elsewhere, for example on okonomiyaki.
Stuff to put inside or on sushi. My basic repertoire includes shrimp, either large or cocktail sized; smoked salmon, cucumber, avocado, fake crab, kampyo, salmon roe, tuna & mayonnaise, shiitake mushrooms, cream cheese, sesame seeds, furikake (rice seasoning), and egg. Use your imagination!
A sharp knife. Not a serrated steak knife; those will tear up the rolls when you cut them. Get a good, nonserrated, sharp knife.
Rice. Duh.
How to use the rolling mat:

First, get some plastic wrap and cover the mat. It's inauthentic, but it keeps the mat clean. You don't want to clean sticky rice out of a bamboo mat, trust me. Lay the mat so that you can curl it towards yourself and not to the side. Then lay a strip of nori across the wrap, leaving a little space at the ends so the nori stops before the plastic wrap does on both sides. Spread the rice as thinly as you can on the nori using the rice paddle, dipping the paddle periodically in water to keep the rice from sticking to it and becoming unmanageable. (If rice sticks to your hands when you make onigiri, you can use the same trick.) Leave the bottom 1/2" of nori rice-free. From there put the fillings you want in a line down the center, and then roll the mat starting from the edge furthest away from you, spiraling it toward yourself, avoiding rolling the plastic wrap up as you do. This can be tricky at first, but you'll get the hang of it. With some water on your fingers, moisten the inner side of the nori flap that didn't get covered with rice, then stick it to the roll. This should give you a long, thin sushi log. Wrap the plastic around it as if you were going to put it in your refrigerator, tuck the ends under the log so the rice doesn't come out the sides, wrap it in the mat, and squeeze it to pack the rice. Squeeze the log into an oval, triangle, square, or whatever, if you're in that kind of mood, but don't squeeze it too hard or you'll crush the grains. You can cut the log right through the plastic wrap. Use a very sharp, nonserrated knife, and wet the blade every few cuts to keep the rice from sticking to it.

To vary this, you can turn the whole thing over after you spread the rice on the nori, and put the fillings on the nori rather than the rice. When you roll it up the nori will be on the inside instead of the outside. Or you can leave the nori out entirely, but it can be difficult to spread the rice neatly enough, and rolls made this way have an annoying habit of falling apart.

Another fun variation involves using rice paper, AKA spring roll wrapper, instead of nori. First, soak the rice paper, one sheet at a time, in a pan of warm water big enough to hold the whole thing. (I use a large skillet.) Push each sheet under the surface of the water and let it soak undisturbed for about 2 minutes, until pliable. These things are very fragile, and the edges will almost certainly develop small tears, but if you're careful you should be able to lift it out without those going too deep. Place it flat on a paper towel, put another towel on top, and gently press the excess water out. Then transfer it to some plastic wrap on top of a bamboo rolling mat and spread the rice on it as if it was a rectangular sheet of nori, leaving the round edges blank so you'll have an evenly-shaped roll. Then put the fillings in as you would a regular roll, then roll it up, being careful not to tear it.

How to make sushi rice:

Note: the amounts listed are based on 1 cup (before cooking) of rice. If you cook more or less rice, or you like the flavor stronger or weaker, adjust the amounts as appropriate.

Another note: It's not required to make this sushi rice for sushi. I often use plain old regular sticky rice without these seasonings. Do whichever suits your taste.

8 tsp of rice vinegar
4 tsp of sugar
1 tsp salt
cooked sticky rice

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package. When it's done, take it off the heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes. Mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt well. Put the rice in a large bowl and add the mixture, then mix it gently using a wet sushi paddle or wooden spoon. Use a fluffing motion rather than a stirring one to avoid crushing the grains. If you fan it while it cools after mixing, the rice will be glossy.

Sushi rice: You can either make proper sushi rice, which involves vinegar and stuff, or you can just make regular sticky rice according to the instructions on the package. Choose the approach that suits your taste.

Avocado maki: Make some sushi rice. Lay out a thin strip of nori, maybe three inches wide by the full length long, so you can make a narrow roll. Spread the rice on the nori only one grain thick, and leave the half-inch of nori closest to you free of rice. Lay long, thin slices of avocado down the center. Roll it up. With luck you'll end up with a roll about as big in diameter as a quarter. Slice it up and serve.

Baby Octopus Sushi: Clean and cook the baby octopi according to the directions on the octopus page. Make some rice blocks, set an octopus on top of each - they shrink during cooking, so you won't need huge blocks like Spam musubi does - and then cut a thin strip of nori to make a "belt" to hold the octopus on the block. A drop of water on the underside of the loose end of the nori will stick it down.

Bacon Sushi: Make some rice blocks, either by rolling a log of rice without putting in any fillings or by making it with a rice mold. Then cut slices of bacon (cooked!) the size of the rice blocks and lay 'em on top. If you want, wrap a strip of nori around the whole thing, moistening the underside of the end to stick it down. Note: This takes a little bit of finesse to eat because bacon is tougher than typical sushi ingredients.

Breakfast Sushi: Make some sushi rice. Cook two pieces of bacon, making sure they don't get dry and hard. Press the grease off the surface with a paper towel, then chop the bacon into small bits. Lay out the sushi rice so it'll be ready to roll. Break two eggs into a small frying pan and dump in the bacon. Mix well, then scramble the eggs over medium heat. Cook the mixture until it's mostly solid but not yet dry. Take off heat and break up the thicker chunks with the spatula. Then put this in the center of the rice and roll it up. Makes two rolls, 8 pieces each.

California Rolls - Cut some artificial crab legs in half the long way to make thinner sticks, and mix these around in a bowl with about 1 tsp of mayonnaise per leg plus a light dash of salt. Cut strips of avocado. Spread a thin layer of rice on a sheet of nori, lay the fillings inside, then roll it up with your bamboo mat, so you end up with a rice-nori spiral around the central fillings. The inside-out variation of this is popular.

Chirashi-zushi - This goodie, which is a meal by itself, is complicated and tasty enough to merit its own page.

Crab & Cucumber Sushi: Get some fake crab meat - you know, the stuff that's really made with pollack and tastes not much like crab - and some nori. And, of course, cucumber and rice. Spread the rice thinly on the nori, as thinly as you can manage it, covering all but the half-inch closest to you. If you have salmon roe, spread some along the center of the rice where you will lay the fillings. Then put thin strips of peeled cucumber and "crab meat" along the center. You're not likely to have strips long enough to go the whole length, which is fine - just put two or even three end-to-end. Roll it up and press it tightly. Bingo, it's a California roll minus the avocado!

Crab maki - Just like avocado maki, except with strips of artificial crab meat. Or real crab meat, if you have that handy.

Crab-Topped Sushi - Get some crab meat as used above, and a rice block as used below, and stick the former on the latter. The crab meat I've used in layered in such a way that you can unwrap it so it'll fit neatly over the top of a rice block as opposed to just balancing on top.

Cucumber maki - Peel a cucumber, cut the non-seed flesh into strips about 1/4" thick, and roll them up just like avocado maki.

Cucumber rolls - These can be made two ways. One involves taking a peeled cucumber and carefully spiral-slicing it with a long, sharp knife so you get a long, thin sheet of cucumber to use as a wrap. I haven't had the patience to try that yet, so I took the easier route and cut a peeled cucumber into 1.5 inch segments, scooped out the inside to make hollow skins, and then put the rice in that. You will have to pack the rice down a tad to keep it from falling out when you pick it up. Anyway, fill the skin most of the way with rice, then put any topping you like on top. I've used salmon roe and shrimp, curled up into little spirals that nestle into the round cucumber skin.

Futomaki - This means "big fat roll," and that's basically what it is. Other sushi is designed to be eaten in one bite; futomaki rolls are too large for that. To make one, first get a piece and a half of nori. Moisten the bottom 1.2 inch of the full sheet and stick the half-sheet onto that, so you end up with one very long (legal-sized?) nori sheet. Spread the rice onto that, leaving the bottom 1/2 inch free. Draw an edge of the rice paddle the short way along the rice to score shallow grooves into it. Make a number of these about an inch apart. Then put the fillings along the grooves, one filling per groove. The fillings can be whatever you like; I use cucumber, crab, shiitake mushrooms, omelet, avocado, smoked salmon, et cetera, depending on what I have on hand. Whatever it is, cut it into strips and put it along the grooves. Then roll it up as you would a regular maki roll, being careful not to press the fillings toward yourself. (That's what the grooves are for - to keep the fillings in place as you roll the thing up.) When it's rolled, moisten the inner side of the bit of nori on the bottom that wasn't covered by rice and stick that to the main roll. I usually squeeze futomaki firmly before cutting it up, because it has more of a tendency to fall apart if you don't.

Hot dog maki - We sure are getting far from authentic Japanese cuisine with this one, aren't we? Microwave a hot dog. (I prefer Hebrew National franks. They cost more, but they taste great, and I'm a little more confident of their content than cheaper hot dogs.) Then set some plastic wrap on the bamboo rolling mat and, instead of putting the rice on a sheet of nori, spread the rice directly on the plastic. Make a rectangle as wide as the hot dog is long and about 4 inches long, pressing the grains down to make them stick to each other. Put the hot dog down, roll the rice & hot dog up, then secure the plastic around the roll - tucking the ends in to keep the rice from squeezing out like toothpaste from a tube - and compress the roll in the bamboo mat. Compress it good so it'll stay together without the nori, but don't crush it.

If you have rice paper spring roll wrappers, I recommend using those, as they will keep the rice together, and you won't have to squeeze the grains so hard they lose their rice-y texture.

Inari-zushi - This is sushi rice stuffed inside a fried tofu bag. Totally simple stuff - cook some sushi rice (regular rice will come off as pretty bland) and stuff it inside a tofu bag made for just this purpose. You can buy tofu made just for this frozen or canned. Either way, just follow the directions on the package, and be careful when opening and stuffing the tofu bags so you don't tear them. You can pack inari-zushi with the open side up or fold the open end over and serve it with the end underneath.

Inside-out maki - These take a little more skill to make than the usual maki, but only a little. Start out by following the directions as if you were going to make any other kind of maki roll, for example avocado maki, but after you put the rice on the nori turn it upside down, so the nori side is up. (This is easy to do if you're making it on plastic wrap. Just cover it with a second sheet of plastic wrap and flip it over.) Press the nori down with flat, moistened hands to make the rice stick to it. The lay the fillings on the nori and roll it up. You don't want to put too much filling in, however, because you need to have a bit of overlap so the roll will stay together. You can sprinkle this with sesame seeds before you turn the nori-rice sheet over, or even roll the finished maki it in 'em, for an added crunchy texture.

Kampyo-Maki - Kampyo is strips of dried gourd, and in the package looks more like heavy twine than something you'd eat. To use the stuff you 1) cut a length of it, however much you plan to use; 2) soak it in water for about 10 minutes; 3) put salt in your hands and crumple the kampyo to rub in the salt; 4) rinse; 5) put the kampyo in boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes until soft; and 6) combine a cup of dashi, 1.5 tablespoons of sugar, 1.5 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 1/2 tablespoons of mirin, and simmer the kampyo for about 30 minutes, until the liquid is nearly gone. (Or you can be lazy and just drain off most of the boiling water and then sling in some soy.) When all that's done you have a ribbon of kampyo, which you can put in the middle of a sushi roll. The kampyo-maki I've seen are narrow rolls, with a diameter about the size of a quarter.

Nori-Wrapped Rice Blocks: Either roll a log of rice, just as if you were about to make sushi, but don't add any fillings; or stamp out some rice blocks with a rice mold. Then cut some strips of nori about an inch and a half wide and wrap them around the blocks. If your rice molds are the right shape you can put the nori in them before adding the rice. It's kind of pushing it to call this sushi, but then sushi doesn't have to involve fish.

Octopus Barnacle Sushi: Get some baby octopi, the little bitty ones. Cut off the heads and pick out the beaks with the tip of a knife. Heat up a pan to medium and put in a tablespoon of butter. (Or more or less, depending on how many occies you're cooking. You just want to keep them from burning and sticking.) Put one octopus on the pan, colored side upward, tentacles spread. It'll squirm as it cooks. Turn it over after about a minute, when it starts to stand up. (Trust me, you'll see what I mean.) It will turn inside out and stand up as the other side cooks. After half a minute take it off the heat. Now take some sushi rice in your hand and shape a ball about the size of a golf ball. Make a hollow in one side, big enough to fit the base of the curled-up octopus in, and do just that, with the tentacles sticking outward. It will look a little like an open barnacle. Mm-yum, what tasty imagery!

Philadelphia Rolls: As is obvious from the name, these are an American invention. They contain smoked salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese, the latter of which gives this roll its name. They're often rolled inside-out, with sesame seeds sprinkled on the outside.

Shiitake maki - Cook and season some shiitake mushrooms according to the directions in the chirashi-zushi page. Then cut the mushroom caps into strips and roll them up just like avocado maki.

Shiitake Sushi: Make some simmered shiitake mushrooms, then put them on top of rice blocks and belt 'em in with nori. With small mushroom caps one per rice block; if the mushrooms are larger cut them in half.

Shrimp Sushi: Get some BIG shrimp. Shell them, leaving the tails on if you want to be fancy. Devein them by slicing shallowly along the back and pulling out the dorsal "line." Then stick bamboo skewers all the way down the shrimp, straightening them out as you go. This will keep them from curling up when you cook them. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and stick the skewered shrimp in for about two minutes to cook them. Take 'em out, let them cool, take out the bamboo skewers, then cut them from the belly upward, cutting almost to but not through the back. Open them up like butterflies and put them on top of blocks of rice.

Smoked Salmon Maki: Just like avocado maki, except with smoked salmon strips instead of avocado. Cucumber tastes good with the salmon too.

Smoked Salmon Sushi: This one is really tough. Get some smoked salmon. Make some rice blocks, either by rolling a log of rice without putting in any fillings or by making it with a rice mold. Then cut rectangles of smoked salmon about the same size as the rice blocks. Put them on top of the rice blocks.

Smoked Salmon Sushi Sandwiches: Get a mold to make rice blocks. Fill the mold halfway, then put in slices of smoked salmon that roughly match the block size and shape. Cover with more rice, press, then shake them out. Wetting the mold before filling it can help keep the rice from sticking, which can be a problem with the way this stuff is split in the middle by the fish. The original recipes I've found actually direct you to make it in a pan, then cut the layer of sushi into pieces, but I'm not into mass production.

Smoked Salmon & Kampyo Sushi: Prepare the kampyo as described in the kampyo-maki recipe. Spread rice onto nori as with other sushi rolls, lay smoked salmon along the center, put a strip of kampyo on top of that, and then roll it up.

Squid sushi: The squid sushi you get in restaurants is raw, and mine isn't; you can't buy sushi-quality squid just anywhere. Anyway, get a large squid tube (head). Cut rectangular slices about 1"x2" out of the flattest parts. (The more curved parts will curve more when you cook them. Use them in a stir-fry or something else.) Fry them in a bit of vegetable oil on medium heat, turning every minute or two, until they are opaque white. Be careful not to overcook, as squid gets very tough when overcooked. Remove from the pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, pull the rubbery membrane off the inner side, then stick it on top of a rice block and eat. I sometimes put a dab of juice from my bottle of pickled ginger on top of the rice before adding the squid. You may prefer wasabi.

Alternately, if you have baby squid you can boil one of those for a few minutes, then put it on top of a rice block and "seatbelt" it in with a strip of nori. This is basically baby octopus sushi, but with squid instead.

Tamago Sushi: Get a mold to make rice blocks, or shape bite-sized rice blocks by hand. Then cook some egg and stick it on top, wrapping a narrow belt of nori around the middle if need be to keep it in place. How to cook the egg? You can use a thin sheet, cooked as you would for chirashi-zushi but without cutting into "noodles." You can use the same recipe, but cooked in a thicker sheet. I prefer to use thin slices of rolled omelet because of the pretty spiral pattern.

Tuna & Mayo Maki: Open a can of tuna. Drain it well, then mix mayonnaise liberally in. Roll it up in rice according to the avocado maki directions. (Use fake soy-based mayo if you're going to pack this into a nonrefrigerated bento lunch.)

Unagi-zushi: basically some unagi no kabayaki over a block of rice. A good way to use up those scraps of leftover eel.

Free-form Maki: Really, anything goes when you're making sushi. Put whatever you like in there! I'll often use whatever I have on hand, including:

smoked salmon
shiitake mushrooms, cooked as described in the chirashi-zushi page
cream cheese
rolled omelet cut into noodle-like strips
artificial crab meat
broccoli stems (steamed soft)
tuna steak
Rice Blocks with Toppings: As with nori-wrapped rice blocks, these aren't exactly what you think of as sushi, but sushi doesn't have to involve fish. There's other stuff you can put on sushi-type rice blocks. For example:

Furikake (rice flavoring) which comes in a shaker and can be sprinkled on top.
Toasted sesame seeds add a nice texture. Can just be sprinkled on top, but I like to roll the block in the seeds.
Shrimp. Little cocktail shrimp. Why not?

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