Sushi is 60% visual. From the beggining, keep it as unprocessed as possible. The more you touch the ingredients, the more you alter the natural appearance and flavor of the sushi.
There is a very exact tradition of spreading the rice on the Nori, but most American sushi bars have "lost the way". Sushi masters have studied for years to learn the proper technique. An example of the proper way is to lay the rice on the Nori in only 6 movements (See Pic). It is said that sushi masters can place the rice on the Nori and have all the
rice grains laying the same direction. The idea is to spread a tennisball size
amount of sushi rice on the Nori WITHOUT pressing enough to squish the rice.
When looking at sushi-maki (rolls), you should see the individual rice grains. What you don't want to see is a pressed block of rice around your roll. Spreading the sushi rice carefully will avoid squishing the rice. Remember: The art of sushi is keeping the ingredients as unprocessed as possible. Rice consists of individual grains and should be kept that way.
Once the rice has been spread on the sushi nori, you can either sprinkle sesame seeds or Spread Tobiko (Flying Fish Caviar) on the rice. If you want to make a Uramaki "Inside out roll" just flip the nori/rice sheet over and place the ingredients on the other side (Pictured).
Flip the sushi and rice over and place the sushi ingredients thinly across the middle of the nori. If you put too many ingredients in the middle, you will have a hard time rolling the sushithe ingredients tightly but pay attention not to squish the rice or the ingredients inside.
After you have rolled up the sushi rice, nori and ingredients, place a slightly wet sushi mat over the rolled up sushi and press lightly. When you press on the sushi mat, do so evenly and gently. The idea is to lightly press the sushi roll into a square shape. Form a square with your fingers and press on all sides at the same time in the middle, then do the same on the outer edges of the sushi roll and then again in the middle. This is pictured below.
Now your ready to cut the sushi. Slightly wet the blade of your knife and cut in the middle of the sushi roll. Bring the two halves side by side and cut the two sections into thirds. That way there will be 6 pieces in only 3 cuts. Understand? If not, follow the steps pictured below.
Plate your sushi cut side up on a decorative plate or platter. Garnish with wasabi, ginger and serve with a little soy sauce on the side.