20 mins
Nigiri-zushi Recipe


Rating 4-0 out of 5 - Most cooks definitely will make this recipe again
An Ideal Recipe for Slimmers

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Nigiri-zushi consists of a small portion of Sushi Rice that is shaped in the hands. A thin piece of fish like tuna or shrimp is draped over the top and, sometimes, a thin strip of nori seaweed is used to bind the fish to the rice and add colour and flavour.

      Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients for Nigiri-zushi

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
to serve 4:
4 cups
cold Japanese Sushi Rice
6 oz
6 oz
6 oz
red snapper
6 oz
pickled ginger
2 teaspoons
wasabi paste
dark soy sauce


How to Cook Nigiri-zushi

  1. The basis is the same for all nigri. You form the rice into a slightly rounded shape and join a thin slice of raw fish or a cooked prawn (split down the middle) to it. The diagrams below should help..
    1Step 1
    1. Moisten your hands with 'Te-zu'
    2. Take about one ounce (25 g) of Sushi Rice in your right hand and make an egg-shaped rice ball in your palm.
    3. Pick up a piece of sliced fish with thumb and index finger of your other hand.
    Te-zu (hand-vinegar) is prepared by diluting rice vinegar with water by about 1:3.

    Preferably the temperatures of Sushi Rice (Shari) and your hands should be the same. Shari tends to stick to cold hands.
    2Step 2
    1. Holding the shaped Sushi Rice, scoop up a tiny amount of wasabi with the right index finger.
    2. Rest the fish between the second and third joints of your left hand fingers.
    3Step 3
    1. Smear the wasabi on the centre of the fish.
    No need to spread the Wasabi, otherwise it can prevent good cohesion between the fish and the rice.
    4Step 4
    1. Place the rice onto the fish.
    2. Gently press the centre of the rice with the thumb to introduce some air into the rice.
    'Airing' the rice is the most important part of making good nigiri-zushi.
    5Step 5
    1. Hold and close the nigiri by the four fingers of your left hand and press with two fingers of your right hand.
    2. Push down the end of the nigiri with the left thumb at the same time.
    Do not press too hard - just enough for the fish to adhere to the rice.
    6Step 6
    1. Turn your right hand round to show your palm.
    7Step 7
    1. Transfer the sushi (nigiri) from your left palm over to your right.
    8Step 8
    1. By turning each hand again in reverse, return the nigiri to left palm. Now it has been rotated horizontally by 180°.
    2. Again press and push as in step 5
    The other end is now made firm by the thumb.
    9Step 9
    1. By rolling the nigiri (either with a help of your right index finger, or simply rolling it in your palm) turn it so it has the fish side up.
    10Step 10
    1. Again press and push the same way as before.
    Do not press too much. The critical point is that the outside of the nigiri is firm enough but inside is still loose.
    11Step 11
    1. Pick up the nigiri and rotate horizontally by 180°.
    2. Again press and push in the same way.
    3. Repeat this once or twice more.
    12Step 12
    1. Make any final adjustments on both sides, if necessary, then press one last time.
    Nigiri of 'Funazoko' (ship-bottom) shape is now complete.
  2. The more Nigiri-zushi you make, the more expert you will become at shaping them. Carefully arrange them on a plate (or plates), along with a few slices of pickled ginger. In a small dipping bowl, pour a little soy sauce - about ½" (1cm) depth - and serve next to each plate.

Be sure to slice the fish very thin. If it's too thick, it won't take the shape of the rice.
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Reviews of Nigiri-zushi

Rating 4 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again May 14 2014
I always wondered how they made these! I'd tried often enough with no real chance of success but when I saw the illustrations here I thought I'd give it a go. I discovered that the REAL secret is not to take short cuts!! (My bad!). I tried using ordinary rice instead of making the proper sushi rice. As soon as i used sushi rice, these worked really well. I've got to perfect them yet, but practise will make perfect (and everybody is happy eating the results of my trials!)
(1 review)

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