As someone whose favorite food is sushi, something I’ve always wanted to try is making sushi at home. But fresh, sushi-grade fish can be pricey, so I decided to do it on a budget. My boyfriend and I made it into a date night, and he was super helpful, being the official cutter of the cucumbers. 

Like most college students, I cannot afford to eat out every weekend, so the second best thing was to make it from scratch.

The Supplies

We bought imitation crab snack sticks (they come in packs of four), a cucumber, an avocado, organic seaweed paper, cream cheese, and minute rice. I wanted to get soy sauce and sliced ginger, but my boyfriend swore we had it at home — we didn’t. So we made do without.

Hanna Lopez

The Process

While my boyfriend was cutting the cucumber slices, I was trying to get the minute rice to warm up. I know some (if not most) dorms don't allow rice cookers so we opted for minute rice. Here’s the thing. I've never had to make minute rice like this before. It came in a little cup that I had to microwave four times before it got to semi-not really sticky rice and it just ended up being super soft but not super sticky. What I didn't know was that to make sushi rice sticky, you have to add a little sugar, salt,  and rice vinegar, so my rice never got sticky enough to work, but I'll get to that. I did feel so proud of my evenly-cut avocado slices. It was beautiful. 

As the rice was chilling (Yes, I had to let it chill because we kept microwaving it when it wouldn’t get sticky), I got the plastic wrap and crab sticks ready. I sectioned off everything on two plates and cut the seaweed paper into two pieces. I thought that would make the process easier. I was wrong. 

The rice still wasn’t cool, so I put it in the freezer.

Hanna Lopez

The Outcome

I first tried to put the rice on the outside of the seaweed paper to imitate our favorite sushi place, and it didn’t turn out well. The rice was lukewarm and not sticky, so it was *fun* trying to get the seaweed paper to stick to it. Then, I put everything in the seaweed paper, and it all fit, but the challenging part was taking the roll out of the plastic wrap. Looks wise, it wasn’t great. It looks more like a sushi bowl than a roll. But my boyfriend tried it and said it still tasted good.

Hanna Lopez

The second roll was a little better, but not super great. This time, I tried to put the rice inside the seaweed paper, and it worked. Everything fit inside the seaweed paper, but the problem became the seaweed paper itself — I couldn’t cut through it. I used three different knives, so it just ended up becoming a long sushi roll. It was still good, but a little hard to get a good bite in.

Hanna Lopez

Overall, I would make sushi again as a date night activity but maybe change up the menu. We played it safe by making our attempt at a California roll, a Philly roll with imitation crab, and a cucumber and avocado roll. I still wish we had soy sauce and ginger to make the sushi a little more flavorful, but my boyfriend and I both rated the experience 8/10. Maybe next time we won't buy super tough seaweed paper and try making spicy tuna rolls instead.