Nigirizushi (Finger Sushi)

When making nigirizushi, it is imperative to have all the necessary ingredients to hand before you begin. If you are right handed, the sushi rice should be in a bowl on your right. Besides the toppings, you should also have wasabi to hand, and a bowl of tezu, or vinegared water for dipping hands.

Tezu is essential, because without it, the rice will stick to your hands. Ordinary water will not do either, because this will wash the sushi vinegar off the rice, and affect taste and consistency.


  • 15-20g sushi rice (a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball) per piece
  • Some wasabi

INGREDIENTS for TEZU (vinegared water for dipping hands):

  • 3 tbsp. sushi vinegar
  • 240ml water


Here we use boiled prawns Seafood is by far the most popular topping for nigirizushi. Filleted raw fish and squid should be cut into slices 6-7 cm in length and 3cm in width (about 20g, depending on the fish). Shellfish and prawns should be of a similar shape and size. Larger varieties such as awabi will have to be sliced to size. Octopus should be boiled, with the tentacles cut on the bias, and the dark upper surface of the tentacle removed.


  1. Wet your hands thoroughly with tezu (vinegared water).
  2. Place the topping over the fingers of your left hand.
  3. Pick up the correct amount of sushi rice using your right hand, and hold it in the palm of your hand.
    It takes practice to be able to pick up the correct amount of sushi rice each time – professional sushi chefs are able to pick up almost the same number of grains each time!
  4. Holding the rice with your other three fingers, use the index finger of your right hand to smear a small amount of wasabi on the topping.
  5. Place the ball of rice on the topping.
  6. Press the rice lightly with the thumb of your left hand.
  7. Still holding the sushi with the thumb of your left hand, press together the two sides of the sushi, using the thumb and index finger of your right hand.
  8. Cupping the sushi in the fingers of your left hand, use the first two fingers if your right hand to flatten the base.
  9. Flip the sushi over carefully in your left hand, so that the topping is uppermost.
  10. Use the fingers of your right hand to give the sushi a final shaping. Some toppings, such as tamago and unagi, must be secured with a strip of nori when complete.