Homemade Sushi on a Budget

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Last night I was scrolling through my Instagram, and I saw yet ANOTHER person out and about getting sushi. I don’t particularly like the fishy food. Maybe it’s how often I see it, maybe it’s because of how pretty it is, or maybe it’s just the FOMO.

I decided to go to Doordash, as anyone would, to see how much it would cost to have some delivered. Twenty dollars. For ten…little wheels? Rolls? Units? Of sushi. Absolutely not happening. But now my heart was set on it. 

A little history on sushi

Contrary to popular belief, the first version of sushi actually originated in China. Records have it dating back as far back as the 4th century. By the 9th century, however, it had spread to Japan and grew more widespread in the country alongside Buddhism.

While the original version of sushi was little more than fermented rice and fish, it has grown and changed many times over the last millennium. In the 1820s, a man named Hanaya Yohe created what is often referred to as the first version of modern-day sushi. 

The dish is still ever-evolving, but with the low cost of creating these delicious and nutritious foods, more and more people should look into making some at home.

A few tasty recipes 

Here’s how I made a sushi-inspired meal for two people for under $15.

Spicy mayo recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of oil 
  • 2 tbsp chili paste, hot sauce, or sriracha.
  • 1 tbsp of mustard (I like to use dijon)
  • 1 tbsp of rice vinegar

Recipe

Start by whisking your egg with mustard and vinegar for about 2 minutes. Gradually add your oil, and continue to whisk. After about 3 minutes, you should have the perfect mayo consistency. Let it chill for about 10 minutes, and fold in your spicy sauce. And there’s your homemade spicy mayo!

Little sushi rolls

Ingredients

  • Pack of snack seaweed paper ($1.99)
  • ½-1 cup of cold, sticky white rice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 5-ish baby carrots, sliced super thin, 
  • Half cucumber sliced super thin
  • ½ bell pepper sliced super thin
  • ¼ block of extra firm tofu (pressed and sliced thin)
  • 1 tsp salt

Recipe

Dampen a paper towel, and soak your seaweed sheets. You want them to be sort of damp, so they’re soft enough to roll. This should take around 5 minutes.

Then, cook your tofu.

I like to coat the small pieces in cornstarch before throwing them on the stove. Grab your pan, put it on the stove, and turn it on to medium heat. Once it’s warmed up, put in whatever oil you like the best – I use avocado. When that’s been warmed up, throw in your slices of tofu. Let it get crispy and flip. I like all sides of the tofu to be crispy before using it. Let it cool completely. 

Grab your rice, salt, sugar, and rice vinegar and mix in a small bowl. Add a thin layer to one-half of your seaweed sheets. Gently pack the rice down with your hands. Then, add your veggies, one strip of your crispy tofu, and roll. I like to use Yum Yum sauce or spicy mayo before rolling it up, but you don’t have to. 

Crispy rice balls

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • ½ cup shredded veggies (I used carrots and bell peppers) 
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ block of tofu
  • 1 tbsp of neutral oil

 Recipe

  1. Mix your veggies, tofu, and soy sauce in a bowl and set to the side. Add your vinegar to your rice and stir.
  2. Grab some plastic wrap, spread a spoonful of rice, spoon a small amount of your veggie mix into the rice, and tightly squeeze it into a ball with the plastic wrap. Repeat as necessary.
  3. Once you have all your balls ready, pan-fry + enjoy!

Stir fry bowl

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup of your fav veggies (I used carrots, broccoli, and sweet bell peppers.)
  • ½ block of extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

 Recipe

  1. Press your tofu for about 30 minutes. Throw your soy sauce, garlic, veggie broth, and brown sugar into a bag, and then add in your tofu chunks. Let that soak in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 
  2. Remove tofu from the marinade (keep the marinade!!), and pan-fry until crispy. Put tofu to the side.
  3. In the same pan, add oil, the remaining marinade, and your cornstarch or flour. Stir until thick. Add your frozen broccoli, carrots, and peppers. Once those are cooked, add your tofu. Stir to combine, and once everything is coated, you can serve over rice or noodles. 

COST:

  • 1 egg – $0.20
  • 1 tbsp of mustard (I like to use dijon) – $0.08
  • Rice vinegar (or white vinegar would work) – $0.50
  • Chili paste, hot sauce, or sriracha. – $1.00
  • 1 pack of snack seaweed paper – $1.99
  • 1 cup oil – $0.50
  • 4 cups of cold sticky white rice – $1.31
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Veggies
    • Carrots (my neighbour gave me some)
    • Broccoli (my mom gave me a bag of frozen broccoli)
    • Bell peppers – $0.99
    • Cucumber – $0.75
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu (pressed and sliced thin) – $2.97
  • 1 cup soy sauce – $3.09
  • 2 cloves minced garlic – $0.11
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch – $0.44
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese – $0.19

That’s a wrap, or should I say roll?

Needless to say, these recipes are so quick and easy to make. It’s no wonder that ⅔’s of Americans have had sushi. Have you ever tried it? Have you ever made it at home? Share your favorite recipe in the comments. 

About Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.

Homemade Sushi on a Budget
Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.

2 thoughts on “Homemade Sushi on a Budget”

  1. Sushi salad is our quick fix when we are in the mood for sushi. You can use sushi rice or short grain brown rice. I cook 5 cups of rice (I have a large family). I usually cook it in the morning and let it cool for the day, giving it a gentle fluff now and then to help let the heat out. I will add chopped cucumber, finely slice green onion, grated carrot, chopped sugar snap peas, cut up squares of seaweed papers (probably 8-10 papers), some chopped peppers, sliced pickled ginger and if at all possible, some smoked salmon. Lately the smoked fish has come from winter ice fishing trips. Smoked trout is amazing! I tried putting edamame beans in once and my boys thought they looked like moose ticks!!! Well, they do kind of look like moose ticks…Find a dressing that you love …. I serve this with some extra soy sauce on the table because some like it more than others. I have had this recipe last up to three days in the fridge…the cucumbers start to fade at that point. You can really put whatever you want in this salad! I love using different, brightly colored veggies. It’s perfect for packed lunches and supper at the lake!!

  2. Those are some fun ideas! I love sushi. You can often get actual nori sheets for a few dollars at normal grocery stores, and for even better prices at asian grocery stores. You can often get good short grain rice there too.

    I get smoked salmon at a restaurant supply store and repackage it for my freezer. I chop ahi steaks (expensive but you only need about 4 ounces for a whole meal) and mix it with soy sauce and hot sauce for a spicy tuna roll.

    Avocado is amazing with smoked salmon in a roll. You can buy it when it’s cheap and freeze it – the texture suffers but you can still use it as a spread. There are some really fun rolls a person can make. Imitation crab and scrambled egg sticks are other good sushi roll ingredients.

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