The Top 10 Sushi Ingredients
you must have to make and enjoy Good Sushi at Home

There are many, many sushi ingredients that you could have in your pantry at home. But you will not need all of them to get started making good Sushi.

(want to add your own ingredient to this page? go here)

Following are listed the top 10 that are "must have" items for getting started. After that are listed other optional ingredients that you can get depending on what you want to make or what you want to do.

Sushi rice in a hangiri

Sushi Rice (Sushi-Meshi)

1. At the top of the list, has to be the most important player for making good sushi and that is Sushi Rice.

Sushi Rice is the foundation upon which all good sushi is laid. To make good sushi at home, you have to follow the very best Sushi Rice Recipe

This particular recipe is the one that my now 80 year old mother taught me and swears by. It will walk you through selecting the best rice for sushi and then how to wash, soak and cook the rice.

It will then show you how to prepare your own sushi seasoning and finally how to properly fan and mix your hot rice after adding the sushi vinegar to it.

Follow this recipe and the foundation for making your own sushi at home will be solid and will get rave reviews from your family, friends and neighbors!

Even if your Maki rolls are not so symmetrical and round or the rice square for your Nigiri is not shaped just will at least taste perfect!

For more background or general information, we have a page just on Sushi Rice. This is probably the most important of all the sushi ingredients so be sure to check it out.

Rice vinegar

Rice Vinegar (Komezu)

2. At number 2 we have another of the required sushi ingredients, Rice Vinegar. Rice Vinegar is used in combination with sugar and salt to form the seasoning for your sushi rice giving it that "tart" and "sweet" flavor that we all recognize in good sushi rice.You can find rice vinegar in your local Japanese grocery store, sometimes in a well stocked grocery store or at Amazon.

To make your own sushi seasoning go to Make Your Sushi Seasoning here. For more detailed information on Rice Vinegar in general, visit our Rice Vinegar page.



3. Kombu. Kombu is a dried seaweed mainly used in dashi. But according to my 80 year old Japanese mother, it is one of the "required"  sushi ingredients for making the very best sushi rice. 

It is placed in the pot or rice cooker during the rice soaking and cooking period and gives the rice a "hint" of dashi flavor. 

To learn more about how to use Kombu in a sushi rice recipe click here, or to just learn more about Kombu visit our Kombu page. If you are looking to get some you can find it here.

Gekkeikan Sake


4. Sake is another one of the required sushi ingredients my mother swears by along with Kombu and for the same reason. According to her, Sake is sometimes used in making Dashi and also helps to give the sushi rice a "hint" of dashi flavor.

Click here to see how to add Sake when making Sushi Rice, or to learn more about the history and other interesting facts about Sake, visit our Sake page. 



5. Wasabi can either be "swiped" onto the surface of sushi rice when making sushi, or can be added to the soy sauce that sushi may be dipped into when eating it.

And for most people, wasabi is either a love or a hate relationship. I personally love wasabi and couldn't image eating sushi without it. 

Wasabi is made from a green wasabi root and has a strong, hot flavor but the "hot" is felt more in the nasal passages than on the tongue.

And, unlike a "pepper" hot where the heat has to wear off due to the Capsaicin which cannot be washed away, wasabi's heat can be alleviated by drinking Green Tea...or Beer. 

For more general information, visit our wasabi page. If you are wanting to obtain some, know that most is imitation wasabi. If you want real wasabi in a tube it is hard to find but I can usually get mine from here

Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce (Soya Sauce)

6. Soy Sauce has to be one of the required sushi ingredients. How could anybody eat sushi without it? 

There is nothing like dipping your sushi in a small dish of soy sauce mixed with a little wasabi, popping it in your mouth and taking a sip of Green Tea or a beer to knock off the flaring nostril wasabi burn...

Mmmm. Heaven.

If you want to learn more, visit our Soy Sauce page. 

Sushi grade fish

Sushi Grade Fish

7. When you are ready to add a favorite fish to your sushi creation, you should try to make sure that it is sushi grade.

With that said, the rules and regulations concerning exactly what sushi grade is, are not clearly defined. And to complicate things even more, is where you can purchase quality Sushi Grade Fish.

Should you get it from your local chain grocery store? Maybe from your local Japanese store? Or should you order it online or on the phone and have it shipped overnight to you?

If you want to learn more, visit our Sushi Grade Fish page.



8. The Nori that you use when making sushi is very important. You have to use good quality sushi nori.

Good quality sushi nori is black. If the nori you are considering purchasing is green rather than black, then don't buy it. Wait till you find the good stuff.

For more information on Nori, visit our Nori page.

Sushi ginger

Sushi Ginger (Gari)

9. Sushi Ginger or Gari is normally served with Sushi.

It is usually meant to be eaten after sushi or between dishes to help cleanse the pallet.

But honestly, I'm a rebel and actually like to take a bite of ginger after I get a bite of sushi and eat it all together...maybe not "proper"...but honestly, who cares?

I say, just enjoy your Sushi however you like it...

And if it REALLY bothers you that I eat ginger with my sushi, well, so just send the sushi police to my house and arrest me :-)

If you want to learn more in general, visit our Sushi Ginger page.

Green tea (Ocha)

Green Tea (Ocha)

10. Green Tea is always served in Japan with Sushi. Like Sushi Ginger, it is used to refresh the mouth before eating and between bites.

It also helps to "cut" the wasabi burn if you put too much in your soy sauce or on your sushi.

I couldn't imagine eating sushi without green tea. Now, sometimes I will drink a cold Sapporo or Kirin (Japanese Beer) with my Sushi too. Especially with Sashimi or Nigiri.

Wow. People who don't eat Sushi just don't know what they are missing do they...But hey...That just leaves more for us doesn't it??

Green Tea comes in several varieties including Sencha (regular green tea), Bancha (coarse green tea), and Konacha (powdered green tea).

Want to learn more? Visit our Green Tea page. 

And there you have it. The top 10 Sushi Ingredients you must have to make and enjoy Sushi at home. 

Sushi Vegetables

English or hot house cucumber


There are some vegetables that show up in sushi more than others and cucumbers are one of them.

They are clean, crisp, and refreshing and do a lot to help balance out flavors and to give interesting texture to any kind of sushi.

But cucumbers come in all different kinds of variations...and some are better to use in sushi than others.

Some don't have to have the skin peeled before being used because the skin can be bitter, while others don't. Some have to deseeded, while others don't. And still some just plain taste better than others.  

And it's always good to salt scrub your cucumbers before use. If you don't know what that is, or why you'd want to do it, then visit our cucumber page to learn more.

Do You Have a Great Sushi Ingredient You'd Like to Add to this Page?

I know that there are a lot of other ingredients that are used in making sushi that may not be on this page... If you know of one, then create your own page and tell others about it!

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Imitation crab  
It is fake crab for California rolls

Fried Sweet plantain 
Works great as a sushi ingredient and gives it a delicious taste.

Avocado gives a creamy taste and a good flavor. Also it is a good choice if you want some veggies in your sushi.

Smoked Cod 
This adds a different taste than most ingredients, as the smoking (I do this myself) adds the touch of an "outdoors" flavor. I use mesquite charcoal and …

New Mexico green chile Not rated yet
New Mexico chile (ニューメキシコチリ): a whole green chile pepper with the stem, vein, and seeds removed; often tempura fried. Featured as the main ingredient …

Mango Not rated yet
Adds a unique taste to average rolls.

Click here to write your own.

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David Guthrie, EzineArticles Basic Author