Sushi is one of the classic grab-and-go meals (or snacks), thanks to how portable and self-contained it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s a chore to make it at home? In fact, you and your partner – or a group of mates – can bond over a hands-on sushi-making session and be eating in an hour. (And half that time is simply soaking the rice.)

Making good sushi at home comes down to respecting the rice says Motomu Kumano. He’s the director and executive chef at South Melbourne’s Komeyui, which employs a traditional Japanese cast-iron pot called a hagama to cook rice. The restaurant’s unity-minded name even translates to “rice” and “knot” in English.

Since starting as a chef in Osaka, Kumano has been making sushi and other Japanese staples for more than 20 years ago. It’s no surprise Kumano credits fresh, clean ingredients – including the grain – as key to sushi’s enduring global popularity. “The first reason is, it tastes good,” he says. “Especially the rice.”

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Kumano says a user-friendly temaki sushi (hand-rolled sushi) in the style of California rolls is a good entry point for making it at home. That means crab sticks and avocado slices mingling with crunchy cucumber, alongside wasabi, mayo and sushi vinegar bringing extra layers of flavour. It helps that all the ingredients are easy to find.

“Crab stick and avocado is well known as a California roll, which originally came from the United States,” says Kumano. “But it’s [now] popular in Melbourne and Japan too.”

Hand rolls are ideal for the sushi beginner, with plenty of videos on YouTube about how to make temaki. The main pitfall to avoid is burning the rice. Kumano’s recipe is ideal for easing into cooking and flavouring sushi rice and portioning out fillings – and it’s a nice excuse to buy a bottle of sake, to helps flavour the rice as it cooks as well as sip yourself.

Note: keep a tube of wasabi close at hand. The aromatic heat and bright flavour of a wasabi like S&B Wasabi Paste 43g plays especially well with the crab sticks. “As a chef, I mainly use wasabi for more fatty dishes,” says Kumano. “It goes well with fish and seafood, or even Wagyu beef. It makes the other ingredients more refreshed.”

Temaki Sushi
Serves: 2 people
Prep/cook time: 1 hour (including soaking rice)

360g short grain rice
360ml water
30ml saké

Sushi vinegar ingredients:
60ml rice vinegar
12g sugar
6g salt
(Mix all of these ingredients together until completely combined)

Sushi filling ingredients:
4-5 sheets nori seaweed (one sheet cut into four squares will fit to your hand)
1-2 cucumbers
1 whole avocado
6 crab sticks
15ml soy sauce (or more if desired)
40g mayonnaise
15g S&B Wasabi Paste 43g

After washing and draining rice several times, place rice in cast iron pot. Add water and let soak for at least 30 minutes.

Add saké and mix well. Cover and heat on high. When water reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook until water is fully absorbed (10-15 minutes). Remove from the heat once cooked, let steam and cover for 10 minutes.

Empty rice into big bowl, pour sushi vinegar over rice. Using a rice paddle, mix rice in slicing motion. While mixing, occasionally fan the rice to cool it faster and remove excess moisture. When the rice has absorbed the vinegar and cooled to body temperature, cover with a damp cloth or paper towel to keep it from drying out and set aside.

Tear or cut each sheet of nori into 4 squares. Cut cucumber into 10cm lengths, then cut lengthwise to make strips. Divide avocado in two, remove seed, peel off skin, and cut lengthwise into 6 equal strips. Place the nori seaweed in the palm of your hand. Put some sushi rice on it and spread gently with spoon. Place the fillings on top and roll.

You can add S&B wasabi paste or create a simple wasabi mayonnaise by mixing the S&B wasabi paste with the mayonnaise and drizzle onto the filling. Dip the hand rolls in the soy sauce as you eat.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with S&B Foods.