Nigiri Sushi or Nigirizushi, (握り寿司) literally translating to “hand-pressed sushi’) is a traditional Japanese sushi traditionally made with raw fish draped over vinegared sushi rice.
If you want to deviate from the typical fish meat, you can explore other raw seafood including (but not limited to) shrimp, eel, and octopus. For a vegetarian option, top your nigiri with seasoned or pickled vegetables, or even tofu instead of fish. For this example, we will be using fresh, sushi-grade salmon. Yum!
To learn more about sushi grade fish, check out Sushi Grade Fish, under Sushi101 in the menu tab.
Making the Nigiri
To make the Salmon Nigiri, you will need: sushi rice, fresh Salmon, wasabi, rice vinegar
Before you start making your nigiri, make sure that your hands always remain moist and cold to ensure that heat does not transfer to the fish or rice. Have a Bowl of ice water with a dash of rice vinegar near you to frequently cool and rinse your hands. The vinegar mixture will act as a coolant and disinfectant for your hands during the process.
Make sure you season your rice with rice vinegar before shaping it!
1. Roll – but in your hands
Grab about 20 grams of sushi rice, roll and then squeeze to make a more oval form. This is going to be the base of your fish so make sure that the top part of the rice oval is more rounded, while the bottom part more flat.
Take your salmon and make slices that are about 1cm thick, 5cm long, and 3cm wide.
3. Spicy Glue
Take dab of wasabi (about a pea-size), and spread it along the middle part of the salmon slice. This will act as a glue to stick the salmon to the rice.
Place the salmon slice on your left hand (wasabi-side up), and then gently lay on the rice. Press the rice firmly with your left thumb to create a dimple at the center, while simultaneously shaping the sides of your sushi into rounded corners with your right middle finger and right thumb.
Flip over the nigiri so the rice-side is down and continue shaping the sides with your right fingers.
Using your right index finger and middle finger, press the salmon to the rice. Rotate the sushi to the other side, then repeat.
IMPORTANT: What brings life to the Nigiri Sushi is the topping. If you plan to make this with raw slices of seafood, make sure that you get the highest quality meats! To learn more, check out our guide to Sushi Grade Fish and More.