A Guide to Host a Sushi Party

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  • Planning to host a Sushi Party? Here’s a comprehensive guide just for you.  You’ll learn how to make sushi rice, selection of sushi to serve, equipment & tools, snack & beverage ideas and many other useful tips for a successful sushi feast. 

    Sushi in a wooden box.

    Are you gearing up for the holiday party season?  Today’s theme is all about How to host a Sushi Party.  I promise it’s going to be a fun, hands-on culinary experience that your guests will never forget!

    Feeling intimidated?  Don’t be. Rolling sushi is easier that you might think.  You can keep the party as simple or as elaborate as you like.

    The guide I’ve put together below will help to jump-start your planning.  You’ll learn how to cook sushi rice, selections of sushi to prepare, equipment and so on.  There are also delicious Japanese snack ideas, salad with carrot-ginger dressing, matcha ice cream, and cookies on the menu.

    Are you ready to invite your foodie friends and enjoy a memorable sushi feast?  Let’s get rolling!

    California Roll on a plate.

    How to Host a Sushi Party

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    STEP 1: How To Cook Sushi Rice 酢飯の作り方

    A perfect sushi rice is the key to a successful sushi party. You can make the sushi rice up to 4 hours ahead; cover and let stand at room temperature until ready to serve. For directions on how to make sushi rice, you can watch this video or read the recipe from How to Make Sushi Rice post.

    Simple instruction on how to make delicious sushi rice with kombu, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

    STEP 2: Identify Types of Sushi & Fillings to Serve

    There are many different types of sushi you can make for the party. Below are some of the easy sushi recipes with step-by-step instructions, video tutorials & plenty of good tips for you to choose from.

    Temaki Sushi on a plate.

    Temaki Sushi (Hand Roll) 手巻き寿司

    Made of a rolled cone of seaweed, wrapped around rice and fillings, Temaki Sushi can be assembled without any slicing involved. It is my favorite type of sushi to serve at parties. Since it doesn’t require any bamboo mat or slicing, your guests just need to place some rice and filling in the corner of nori sheet, then roll into a cone, and dig in!

    Hosomaki (sushi) on a white plate.

    Hosomaki (Thin Sushi Rolls) 細巻き

    To make Sushi Rolls, you can choose a few easy ingredients – cucumber, tuna, avocado, bell pepper, asparagus, carrot, omelette, or imitation crab – as the main fillings and slice them into small pieces. Have the bamboo mats ready and let the guests do the rolling and slicing. These popular sushi rolls are perfect for first-timers to practice their sushi-making skill.

    Otoro Sushi on a plate with soy sauce and garnish.

    Nigiri Sushi 握り寿司

    Another common type of sushi, Nigiri Sushi, refers to sushi with a slice of raw fish on top of rice pillow. This sushi makes a special treat for guests that appreciate raw fish and seafood.

    Temari Sushi in a box.

    Temari Sushi 手まり寿司

    Named after the traditional Japanese embroidered balls, these colorful ball-shape sushi are often served during happy occasions like Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day) in Japan.  Kids & adults-alike will have fun making & eating these Temari Sushi.

    Other Popular Sushi for Sushi Party:

    Tips on Choosing the Sushi Fillings:

    • Be flexible & creative with your sushi fillings. From vegetarian to gluten-free, you can easily consider the diet preferences of your guests. If there are kids in the party, you can even use seasonal fruits, omelette, ham/turkey slices or cheese as fillings.
    • Pick around 6-8 ingredients that are easily accessible to you.
    • For US residents, you can buy sashimi-grade raw fish at Japanese grocery stores or online at Fish for Sushi (ships in 1-2 days with dry ice).

    Sashimi for Sushi in a box.

    STEP 3: Condiments

    You will have to enjoy your homemade sushi with some condiments such as:

    Pickled Ginger in a small cup.

    STEP 4: The Extras (Appetizers, Sides, Snacks & Desserts)

    When your guests ask what to bring along for the sushi party, don’t be shy to enlist them to bring some of the snacks, appetizers, desserts or beverages. Most of these items are available at Japanese grocery stores, Asian grocery stores, or some major grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s or Costco. And if you are up for it, you can make two or three sides to round up the feast.

    For appetizers, salads & soups:

    For fun snacks & desserts:

    For beverages:

    Green tea cookies and Gyoza on plates.

    STEP 5: Equipment & Tools

    You will need:

    • A few cutting boards (one for every 2-3 people).
    • A few pairs of sharp knives.
    • A few sets of bamboo sushi mats for making sushi rolls.  I found this cool set of sushi oke/hangiri, bamboo mat, and rice paddles from Amazon for $16.65.  If you’re planning to throw sushi party often, this is a must!
    • Small bowls of hand-dipping water by combining ¼ cup water with 2 tsp. rice vinegar.  This helps to prevent rice from sticking to your hands.
    • Utensils (chopsticks), dinnerware (plates and dipping sauce plates), and serveware (large platters).

    You can also ask your guests to bring along any of the equipment they might have at home.

    Sushi Making Kit on a table.

    STEP 6: Setting the Table & Decorations

    Arrange all the sushi ingredients at the center of your table or the serving station. Set up each cutting board with a small bowl of vinegar hand-dipping water and the other equipment you may need.

    For decorations, you can accent the sets with origami, Japanese lanterns, river rock pebbles, or paper fans. Bonsai makes impressive centerpiece too.

    Sushi fillings in a platter.

    STEP 7: Prepping the Ingredients

    You can make the sushi rice 4 hours before your guests arrive. Cover it with a moist kitchen towel. Pre-cut your ingredients into small or thin slices and place them on serving platters. You can also make it a team effort to help with the preparation as part of the activity.

    STEP 8: Enjoy the sushi party!

    Once you have everything spread out at the table, it’s time to do the spreading, layering, tucking, and rolling the sushi!  Enjoy with any extras you might be serving, like salad, gyoza or soup.  Not every sushi will turn out to be picture-perfect, but they will still taste delicious, and most importantly everyone has fun at the sushi party!

    Itadakimasu (bon appetit)!

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    I hope you and your guests have a wonderful time at the sushi party!  If you throw a sushi party, snap a picture and hashtag it #JustOneCookbook. I love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter! Thank you so much for reading and till next time!

    Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

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