I always say that there are four kinds of people: those who like sushi, and those who don’t; those who make sushi well, and those who just make it so-so.
Now, there are a hundred (or maybe a thousand) kinds of sushi rolls each made popular depending on the country. Choosing which ones you’ll want to devour causes a bit of gastronomical stress….. now imagine trying to make those sushi rolls. You get the picture.
Making sushi is no joke most, especially when preparing them in an elegant and presentable way. In some countries, preparing sushi is considered a legacy or an apprenticeship passed down from one generation to another. During prep, there is a known delicate way of slicing your fish into thin strips before piling them up together with your other ingredients, rice, and the unforgettable dried nori.
However, no matter how fancy you’ve prepared everything together, cutting the sushi rolls is an art to study well and practice even more often. You can’t just impulsively cut your sushi rolls because this could totally ruin the sushi into clumps. Sushis tend to break apart when mishandled or cut the wrong way.
And so begs the question: what are some ways to cut sushi rolls? Read on to find out.
Different Methods of Cutting Sushi Rolls
Sushi became a general term for a Japanese name that consists of vinegared rice, fish, or both. Knowing what type of roll you’re cutting is the first step before deciding which cut to do. After all, different cuts are meant for different rolls.
Also, some sushi chefs prefer a specific type of method depending on how busy they are. There are swift cuts that require minimal movements, while there are intricate ones. You can also opt a technique that you’re most comfortable with.
Pull and Push Method
The name of the method is the complete instruction of the way Push and Pull is done. You just have to basically pull the knife towards you and push it downwards onto the board to ensure a clean cut.
Double Push Method
Just like the Pull and Push Method, you have to pull the knife towards you and push it downwards after that. However, the difference lies in the number of times you have to push the knife. Like what it says on the name of the method, you have to push the blade twice downwards with rigor movements.
One Pull Method
The simplest way to cut your rolls is through a one pull method. Instead of pulling the knife towards you, you just immediately push down the blade completely onto the board in a swift movement.
By this, I don’t mean pushing down onto the roll itself. You still have to angle it so that you’re still technically pulling the knife towards you but in a very minimal movement. Immediately pushing down the blade onto the roll will not make a clean cut.
To see more of the detailed work, check out these videos:
Factors to Consider when Cutting Rolls
The way sushi rolls are cut does not just lie on the method, but also with other factors such as your knife, hand movement, hand placement, knife movement, etc. It is vital to note that sushis are constructed in an intricate manner. Hence it is sensitive to the pressure of your hands and even the gesture of your knife.
To ensure clean cut, cover your roll’s top and sides with a cling wrap, then shape it with a bamboo mat. In this way, your roll won’t disintegrate while cutting, yet still keeping the perfect shape even after the cut.
Moreover, the cling wrap keeps it all together while you’re cutting through your sushi roll. It can also help maintain cleanliness because stuff could fly around when you don’t have it to protect your roll, creating quite a mess.
Before cutting, your hand must handle the knife in a specific way for ease of maneuverability. Ensure that your dominant hand’s index finger is relaxed on the top edge of the blade while the rest of your fingers grip the handle. Make sure to let the handle sit in a relaxed manner on top of your palm for maximum comfortability.
Credits: “3 different methods for cutting rolls” by Joe sushi master, 0:49
When handling the roll, make sure that you curl your fingers, with its tips directly supporting the whole roll. Make sure that you don’t put too much weight on your supporting hand to not change the shape of your sushi.
The secret to the perfect craft of sushi is a thin blade for your knife. The knife should be able to cut through the roll without destroying the meat and the roll itself. There are some specially designed knives used for cutting your rolls, such as Sashimi knives.
Though you don’t have to own a Sashimi knife, you have to make sure that the knife you will be using is thin and pointed to cut through your meat easily. I am no Michelin or Sushi chef either so I understand entirely that a Sashimi knife is not readily available in our kitchens. However, you can manually sharpen your knife by investing in a sharpening block or stone. In that way, you won’t have to worry about purchasing a knife that you won’t probably use often (unless you’re starting to get into sushi making!).
It is highly recommended that you get a wooden cutting board because using plastic or other boards made out of a different material will dull your knife after a long period. Apart from a high-quality knife and a wooden board, you also need a roller or a bamboo mat to perfectly shape your rolls.
Type of Sushi
When making your own sushi, make sure that you have completely identified which type of sushi you’re making. Sushi wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) is widely known; however, different types of sushi do not require the said ingredient, like Nigiri Sushi.
It is essential to know because the way the Nigiri Sushi came forth and evidently different from the usual sushi. Its rice made from cylindrical form, before delicately putting the fish on top of the rice.
Though these types of sushi do not automatically have to be in a roll, there’s still a guaranteed way to cut through your fish. The fish should be cut into thin slices at a specific angle and thickness before placing them on top of the rice. In this manner, you will still have a clean cut afterward.
Let the knife do the work! Do not push down onto the roll itself. Instead, pull the knife towards you and it will do all the work. The critical point here is to make sure that your blade is honed, in that way, once it cuts through the roll, it will smoothly glide down with no worries.
With cutting rolls, you rely more on the blade and not your strength. Typically, sushi chefs start with the blade’s tip and end the cut to the heel of the blade. Remember that you’re slicing sushi, not chopping it!
You also have to wet your knife before proceeding to the cuts lightly. This will greatly contribute to a more clean and holistic cut of the roll itself. If it’s wet, there will be no rice and nori that will stick onto the blade.
After slicing through your rolls, make sure that you don’t remove the cling wrap right away. Wrap it again with the bamboo roll and lightly press it again to perfect its shape. Once you remove the bamboo roll, the cling wrap will easily come with it, making it less messy in your workspace and less to no damage on your rolls.
If you’re only beginning to get into sushi rolls and you want to learn more of the different tips on how to perfect your sushi cuts, then watch more through this link:
Eating sushi rolls is an experience. It’s a plethora of flavors in your mouth that can be salty, sweet, sour, and spicy all at the same time. This experience is much like preparing sushi.
The challenge can be grave as it does take some skill, but with enough practice, you’ll surely be on your way to make decent sushi rolls that you would be confident to serve on your next dinner.
Paul is an aspiring amateur chef from Sydney, Australia. Paul comes from Vietnam and has a passion for Asian food. He has visited Asia including Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Singapore and hopes to inspire others with his passion for food.