How to Make Simple Sushi (Japan)

Making sushi doesn’t have to be hard or complex.  Everything you need to make sushi can be found at an Asian market in your area.  However – because I know that all of our readers have little ones in tow, (So do I!), I am going to write this tutorial for the ‘I can only get to the grocery store’ crowd.  There are no special tools and no ingredients here that you can’t get at a typical grocery store.  You’re welcome.  Winking smile

How to Make Simple Sushi


large wooden spoon

large bowl

sharp knife

cutting board

a grass or bamboo placemat

a small bowl of water with a bit of rice vinegar in it

How to Make Simple Sushi


– sushi rice (prepare ahead and allow to cool before using.  Recipe below.)

– steamed asparagus

– avocado

– imitation crab sticks

– cucumber

– nori sheets (can be found close to your deli sushi section at the grocery store)

– water

– *soy sauce (for dipping)

– *pickled ginger (found near the soy sauce, used as a topping and to cleanse the palette after eating strong flavors)

– **gomasio or sesame seeds

Getting sushi rice ready:

For every 3 cups cooked short grain rice, add in 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar with 1 teaspoon sugar.  Add the vinegar mixture into the rice and mix until sticky.  Allow to cool as much as you can before making your rolls.


Place your bamboo placemat on your counter and place a nori sheet on to it – rough side facing up.

How to Make Simple Sushi

Spread rice over your nori sheet – careful not to rip the nori – until the sheet is 3/4 covered with a thin layer of rice.  This can be done with a wooden spoon or damp hands.  Whichever works best for you.

How to Make Simple Sushi

Add your fillings.  Use your imagination here.  You can add anything to the center of this roll.  Our family favorites are the asparagus roll (which is just a stick or two of steamed asparagus as filling) or the California roll (imitation crab, cucumber, avocado and gomasio as filling).  Make sure to check Pinterest for recipe ideas!

How to Make Simple Sushi


How to Make Simple Sushi

Now it’s time to roll.  Gently lift your grass placemat on this side:

How to Make Simple Sushi

And roll that edge of the nori so it ends up right here:

How to Make Simple Sushi

Grip it as you roll just after the filling, squeezing gently to form a tight hill.

How to Make Simple Sushi

Place a little bit of water from the bowl on the portion of the nori that is still exposed.  This will cause the nori to stick to itself as you close your roll.

Roll up the rest of the way, making sure the nori is forming a tight tube and gently but firmly, tuck the mat around the roll until it is complete and secure.

Cut with a sharp, wet knife.

Place your simple, beautiful sushi on a plate!

How to Make Simple Sushi

And there you have it!  Beautiful sushi that can easily be made with things that you find at the grocery store.  There are, of course, many other ways to make sushi that get more complicated (and more beautiful!) as you learn, but for your first Japan passport trip, I thought this would be the best.  I can’t wait to see what you make with it!

*Gomasio can be made easily by toasting sesame seeds,

grinding them up in a coffee grinder and adding real sea salt. 

It is a wonderful addition to a low sodium diet because the

sesame makes the salt go farther in your seasonings. 

It is often used to replace salt in Japan to reduce sodium intake.

Don’t forget to tag your Instigram pictures with #kidsculinarypassport

Kids Culinary PassportThis post is part of our Kids’ Culinary Passport series, designed for parents and kids to cook and craft their way around the world together! Every week this month, we’ll feature a new country with a recipe and quick craft project. It’s FREE, fun, and educational. Share photos of your kids’ creations on Instagram using hashtag #KidsCulinaryPassport, or on our Inner Child Food Facebook Page.

Join us, and get your free printable passport with stamps here!

About Val

Valerie Rose, creator of the blog Collecting the Moments… one by one spends her days cooking, gardening, and homeschooling her 4 children on her urban homestead in rainy western Washington. With camera in hand, she is constantly collecting the moments of life and encouraging others to do the same with activities and inspiration for a simple, creative household. You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook and on her homeschooling blog where she documents all the fun learning her kids do day to day.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this!! Making the candied sweet potatoes tonight. I will try to make this next week!

    • Jody – You are so welcome! When you do this, be sure to share it on instigram with the #kidsculinarypassport tag so I can “oooo and aaahhhh” over all of your amazing creations!