How to throw a sushi party: The ultimate potluck get together for foodie friends.
When food-loving friends get together to chip in on a gourmet meal, magical things can happen. Dinner parties are a great way to have champagne caliber fun on a beer budget. One of the my favorite foods is sushi, which also happens to be seriously expensive. When an intense craving hit me recently, I knew I wouldn’t be happy until I sat down to a sushi feast. Luckily, it wasn’t too hard to drum up some cohorts to go along with my gluttonous scheme. Together, we created a massive spread without being sent to the poor house.
Throwing a sushi party might sound a little daunting, but I promise, you won’t regret the effort. I’ve put together a game plan here to show you exactly how to throw a sushi party without too much fuss. As far as actually MAKING the sushi, check out the following links for tutorials on rolling, slicing, etc. I’ll also link to related recipes in this post so that you can make things like tempura, ginger salad and miso soup to accompany your feast.
Don’t worry too much about the difficulty. Rolling sushi is easier than you might think, and actually really fun. Not all of your rolls will be perfect, but even the ugly ones will taste great. Plus, you and your guests will have a good time learning how to do something new together.
How to Make Sushi Rolls:
- How to Make a Sushi Roll (Video from All Recipes)
- How to Make a Regular Roll or an Inside Out Roll (Ilustrated Instructions from Make My Sushi)
- Step-By-Step How to Make Sushi Rolls Tutorial (PBS Cooking)
- How to Make Sushi Rolls (from Pioneer Woman)
How to Throw a Sushi Party
Step One: Identify your most sushi-loving and adventurous friends. Your goal is to assemble a crack-team of enthusiastic sushi rollers who will help you build and then devour a small army of sushi rolls. Depending on the size of your space, a good number for a sushi party is between four and eight people (counting yourself).
Step Two: Create a potluck shopping list. Consider your own diet and preferences as well as your guests. You can easily throw a party that is totally vegetarian, vegan, fully-cooked, or gluten-free. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way when it comes to sushi roll fillings. Try to pick around six to ten ingredients and a few condiments for each party, and don’t buy too much! You can always try something different next time.
Some of the usual suspects present at a sushi party are:
- Sushi grade tuna, salmon, or yellowtail*
- Sushi grade unagi (eel)*
- Raw shrimp (for tempura)
- Krab sticks
- Cooked lump crabmeat
*One quick note on the fish. It is absolutely 100% necessary that any raw fish you consume is sushi grade. Make absolutely sure about this, as non-sushi grade fish can make you really, really sick.
- Asparagus (blanched or tempura fried)
- Green beans (blanched or tempura fried)
- Carrots (shredded or cut into matchsticks)
- Cucumber (cut into matchsticks)
- Avocado (sliced)
- Mushrooms (sauteed or marinated in teriyaki sauce)
- Zuchinni (for tempura)
- Sweet potato (for tempura)
- Scallions (sliced)
- Kewpie Mayonaise (Japanese mayo available online or at specialty stores)
- Soy sauce
- Tamari (for gluten-free)
- Powdered Wasabi (mix with water right before sushi time)
- Pickled Ginger (available online or at specialty stores)
- Sushi Nori (each sheet makes about two rolls)
- Sushi Rice (Find recipe and instructions here)
- Sesame seeds
- Masago (tiny orange fish eggs for inside-out rolls)
- Tempura batter
- Eel sauce (boil 1 cup instant dashi with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons wet cornstarch)
- Spicy mayo (mix half Kewpie mayo and half Sriracha)
- Salad with Ginger Dressing
- Miso Soup or Acorn Squash Miso Soup
- Beer, Plum Wine and/or Sake
Step Three: Devise an Equipment List. There are some basic things you’ll need to make a whole bunch of sushi. Make a list, then ask your guests to help by bringing anything that you don’t have on hand.
Equipment for Sushi Night:
- Cutting boards (you’ll need at least one for every two people)
- Sharp knives (again, try to have at least one for every two people)
- Bamboo Rolling Mats (have one for every cutting board)
- Silicone Rolling Mats (for making inside-out rolls)
- Small bowls for water (one for every cutting board)
- Soy sauce dishes (enough for the crowd)
- Chopsticks (enough for the crowd)
- Cheater Chopsticks (for the kiddos)
- A pot to cook your rice (I love something with a nice heavy lid, like this.)
- Paper towels or kitchen towels (in plenty)
- Mixing bowls
- Plates and platters to hold ingredients and finished rolls
Optional Equipment for Sushi Night:
- A large, deep pot for tempura frying
- Plastic wrap (for making inside-out rolls without silicone mats)
Step Four: Invite your guests. Include your potluck shopping list and equipment list in the invitation. Ask folks to call dibs on one or two ingredients each. Also ask folks to bring any extra equipment that they might have at home. Try to get a head-count and an idea of what folks are bringing as far ahead of time as you can. As the host, I usually make the sushi rice, provide the condiments and any side dishes, then call dibs on a few basic ingredients as well.
Step Five: Get your kitchen ready. Make sure your kitchen is as clean and clutter-free as possible. You are going to need plenty of room to get everything prepped, especially if your friends are helping prep the fish and veggies.
Step Six: Get the table ready. Use the biggest table you have for dinner. Set up each cutting board with a knife, a rolling mat, and a small bowl of water, leaving the center of the table open for ingredients and condiments. Later, when the sushi is finished, you’ll swap out the cutting boards for plates and chopsticks.
Step Seven: Prep your ingredients. Make the sushi rice right before your guests arrive. Cover it with a moist kitchen towel, then enlist your friends to help get all of the veggies and fish prepped. All of the ingredients (fish and veggies included) should be pre-cut into small slices that will fit easily into the sushi rolls.
Make sure everyone has a job. Assign someone to chop cucumber, and another person to slice the fish or fry the tempura. A team effort will help make the work go quickly.
Step Eight: Roll! Assemble the ingredients on your table, and start rolling sushi. It won’t take long for you and your guests to roll up all of that rice. Transfer the rolls to platters as they are made, taking time to marvel at the creativity of your friends!
Step Nine: Eat! Remove the cutting boards from the table, and hand out plates, soy sauce dishes, and chopsticks. Remove the leftover ingredients, and place the platters full of sushi in the middle of the table, along with any extras you might be serving, like salad or soup.
Step Ten: Clean up. At this point, you’ll have made an epic mess. Have another beer, then ask your buddies to help you tackle that mountain of dishes.
Want more sushi night inspiration? Check out my recipes for Age Dofu and Okonomiyaki Waffles.