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How to make the perfect sushi roll

Jan Horak, head sushi chef at Beaverbrook Town House, shares his foolproof method for mastering sushi rolls

25 February 2022

Salmon and avocado sushi rolls at The Fuji Grill

Whether you have experienced the unique frustration that comes with attempting to construct a sushi roll yourself or you’re a complete DIY novice, you may have come to the realisation that it’s a job best left to the professionals.

As head sushi chef at The Fuji Grill at Beaverbrook Town House, Jan Horak runs the Omakase bar, providing unforgettable, unique 20-course dinners for his nightly omakase guests as well as curating all of the sushi dishes on The Fuji Grill’s menu, which is why we asked him to share his foolproof, step-by-step guide to making the perfect sushi roll…

Salmon And Avocado Sushi Rolls
Makes 6 rolls

300g sushi rice
320ml water
70g rice vinegar
9g salt
21g caster sugar
250g sashimi-quality salmon
1 ½ avocados
6 nori sheets (available at most supermarkets)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds


Rice cooker or pot with a lid
High-sided tray
Sushi mat
Cling film


1. Wash the rice in water until the water runs clear. Use a sieve to drain the rice.

2. Put rice and cold water in a rice cooker or pot and leave to soak for 30 minutes.

3. Cover and bring water to boil on a high heat and then reduce heat to simmer. From the second the water first boils, set a timer for 8 minutes. Do not lift the lid during cooking.

4. After 8 minutes, remove from heat leaving the lid in place and put aside to rest for 15 minutes. If there is any water still left in the pot, return the covered pot to the stove and use a high heat to quickly boil off the excess water. This should take 2-3 minutes.

5. After the 15 minutes, put the rice into a high-sided baking dish (Horak recommends using a tray with similar proportions to a baking dish).

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6. Mix the rice vinegar, salt and sugar together until the sugar dissolves.

7. Pour the vinegar mixture over the rice and use a wooden spoon to stir the rice with quick movements so that every grain is coated. This is called “cutting” the rice.

8. Cover the rice with a wet cloth and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

9. While the rice is resting, prepare the fish by slicing into strips about 8cm x 1.5cm.

10. Prepare the avocado by halving it and removing the seed. Cut again into quarters and peel. Cut each quarter into thirds lengthways. You will use one quarter (three strips) per roll.

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Tip: nori has two sides, shiny and matt. Rice always goes on the matt side

11. Wrap a sushi mat in cling film so that the rice doesn’t stick to the mat.

12. Place the nori shiny-side down on the sushi mat with the mat’s bamboo running in parallel lines to your body. Tip: nori has two sides, shiny and matt. Rice always goes on the matt side.

13. Wet your hands and take about 75g of the seasoned rice. Tip: always use wet hands to handle cooked sushi rice.

14. Spread the rice over the nori, leaving a 2cm uncovered strip on the side farthest from you.

15. Scatter the sesame seeds over the rice. This will be on the outside of the roll.

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Tip: always use wet hands to handle cooked sushi rice 

16. Hold the nori from the uncovered corners and flip it over so the rice is now on the mat with the uncovered nori near to your body, about 2cm away from the edge of the mat.

17. Place the salmon and avocado (or other roll ingredients) into the centre of the nori, running parallel to you.

18. To roll, use your fingertips to hold the ingredients in place as you use your thumbs to lift the edge of the nori and mat, and roll it over the ingredients, so that the nori edge touches the nori that’s still flat on the mat.

19. Holding the roll in place with your thumb, index and middle fingers, squeeze the roll into a square shape.

20. Open the edge of the mat furthest from you and then roll the now-square sushi over onto the remaining nori and rice layer.

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21. Remake the square shape of the roll then unroll the mat from the sushi roll.

22. To tidy up the sides, move the edge of the roll to one side of the sushi mat, reroll the mat over the sushi roll and use the wet palm of your hand to push the rice back into the roll. Repeat on the other side. You should now have a perfectly square sushi roll.

23. Place your roll on a chopping board and use a very sharp, wet knife to slice it into 6-8 pieces.

24. Place on a plate and serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.

Horak suggests trying alternative fillings including chopped spring onion and mayonnaise with salmon or tuna, blanched asparagus with chopped chicken breast, and using crushed rice crackers or crispy shallots (available at Waitrose; there’s one on the King’s Road) on the outside of the rolls in place of the sesame seeds.

Meet Jan and sample his exquisite sushi by reserving your place at the Beaverbrook Town House Omakase Bar here And be sure to let us know how your own sushi-making efforts turn out on Instagram.

The Fuji Grill, 115 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9PJ | 0203 988 6611


Photography courtesy of Beaverbrook Town House
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