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Ebi Sushi: What it is and How to Make it

Delicious Ebi Sushi recipe that is simple to prepare
Close up shot of ebi sushi (shrimp sushi) on a white plate with a bamboo cutting board

Ebi, the Japanese word for shrimp, is a common ingredient in sushi bars and Japanese restaurants alike. Ebi sushi is a simple, yet delicious, nigiri sushi that is popular in sushi bars around the world.

Close up shot of ebi sushi (shrimp sushi) on a white plate with a bamboo cutting board

What is Ebi Sushi?

As mentioned above, Ebi is the Japanese word for shrimp. Ebi sushi consists of shrimp that is straightened with bamboo skewers, boiled or steamed, butterflied, and placed over a ball of sushi rice in the nigiri style.

While not as common, the shrimp is sometimes served raw in this type of sushi. In that case, the shrimp must be fresh and handled properly to be eaten safely. I personally prefer cooking the shrimp to be used in my Ebi sushi.

What is Nigiri Sushi?

Ebi Sushi

Nigiri sushi is one of the four main types of sushi and is defined as a ball of sushi rice covered by a piece of fish, meat, or other topping. The topping may be held onto the rice by a strip of nori, or dried seaweed, but is often just placed onto the rice by itself. Unlike maki or uramaki rolls, nigiri is not combined with other ingredients and made into a roll. While rolls are often more common in the United States, nigiri is far more common in Japan.

Check out the following articles for a more thorough discussion of the different types of sushi:

Sashimi vs. Sushi: What’s the Difference?

The 25 Best Cooked Sushi

How to Make Ebi Sushi?

The three high level steps to making Ebi sushi is preparing the rice, preparing and cooking the shrimp, and assembling the nigiri. Below is a more detailed look at each of these steps.

Cook the Sushi Rice

As any sushi chef will tell you, great sushi starts with great rice. In fact, it’s not considered a sushi without the rice. Luckily, sushi rice can be found in most Western grocery stores.

To prepare, rinse one cup of sushi rice and add to a pot. Then add 1 1/4 cups of water to the rice and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for around 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed into the rice.

Place rice into a bowl lined with parchment paper. Add 1/4 cup of sushi vinegar to the rice and mix until the vinegar is absorbed into the rice. Sushi vinegar is also called seasoned rice vinegar at many grocery stores. Once the sushi vinegar is mixed into the rice, cover and let cool to room temperature.

Check out the following article for a great sushi rice recipe: Sushi Rice: Easy Sushi Rice Recipe

Prepare and Cook the Shrimp

Before starting, make sure you have large enough shrimp. I like to use 12-15 shrimp, which means 12-15 shrimp make up a pound. You may need to go to a fish market or shop around to find shrimp this large with their shell still on.

To prepare the shrimp component of your Ebi sushi, follow the below instructions.

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a dash of salt.

2. While waiting for the water to boil, insert a bamboo skewer under the belly shell of the shrimp starting at the head and ending at the tail. The purpose of this is to straighten out the shrimp and keep it straight while cooking.

Insert skewers into shrimp

3. Once our pot of water is boiling, add the skewered shrimp to the water cook until the shrimp turns pink and is firm under its shell. This usually takes around 3 minutes.

Insert shrimp into boiling water

4. While the shrimp is cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water to add the shrimp to when they are done cooking.

5. Once the shrimp is cooked, add to your ice bowl and keep there until cool (usually a minute or two).

Add shrimp to ice

6. Once cool, take the shrimp out of ice water, remove the bamboo skewers and the shells on the body leaving only the tail.

Removing shells from shrimp

7. Using a sharp knife, butterfly the shrimp along the belly. You can do this by making a cut in the belly of the shrimp along its entire length (from head to tail), making sure to only cut to the vein of the shrimp. Once your cut is made, spread the shrimp open and clean out the vein.

Cut shrimp to butterfly

8. Pat dry before using in your nigiri.

Assemble the Ebi Nigiri Sushi

Once the ingredients are prepared, it is time to assemble the final nigiri sushi pieces. To do so, follow the below instructions:

1. Form the sushi rice into a small egg shaped ball: Mix a dash of rice vinegar into a bowl of water and use this to wet your hands before working with the sushi rice.  This helps to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. After wetting your hands, form a small ball of sushi rice into a small egg shape. The exact size depends on the size of your shrimp. The shrimp should be able to wrap around the top half of the ball of rice on the sides and hang over the rice slightly on the front and back of the nigiri.

Form ball of sushi rice

2. Add wasabi: If you are a fan of wasabi, add a dash of wasabi to the butterflied portion of the shrimp (belly side). If you don’t care for wasabi, you can skip this step.

3. Wrap Ebi shrimp around sushi rice: Wrap the shrimp around the ball of sushi rice. I do this by first using my fingers to gently press the ball into the shrimp. I then gently push the sides of the shrimp onto the rice. The ball should fit nicely inside your Ebi shrimp. This is an art and gets easier with practice so don’t get frustrated if you struggle at first.

Form shrimp around ball of rice

4. Serve and enjoy: I usually serve with soy sauce and wasabi. Most people also serve with pickled ginger as well.

Ebi Sushi Recipe

Close up shot of ebi sushi (shrimp sushi) on a white plate with a bamboo cutting board

Ebi Sushi Recipe

Delicious Ebi Sushi recipe that is simple to prepare
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Ebi Nigiri, Ebi Sushi, Shrimp Nigiri, Shrimp sushi
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 275kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Pot for cooking sushi rice
  • 1 Pot for poaching shrimp
  • 1 Large Bowl For ice water to cool shrimp
  • 1 Small bowl For dipping your hands in cold water
  • 1 Sharp knife and cutting board
  • 12 Bamboo skewers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sushi Rice dried, will cook to 3 cups
  • 1/4 cup Sushi Vinegar
  • 12 Large shrimp or prawns with shells on (12-16 per pound)
  • 1 tsp Salt For water when poaching shrimp

Instructions

Cook Sushi Rice

  • Rinse 1 cup of sushi rice by placing it in a colander and running water through it until the water is clear.
  • After the rice is rinsed, add it to a sauce pan with 1 1/4 cups of water.
  • Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let the rice simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is soft.
  • Remove the rice and place into a bowl or dish and let cool. I would line the dish with parchment paper prior to adding the rice to avoid sticking.
  • Once the rice has cooled, mix 1/4 cup of sushi vinegar into your rice. Stir until it has absorbed into the rice. Once cooled and fully absorbed, your rice is ready to roll!

Cook Shrimp

  • Bring a pot of water, with a dash of salt, to a boil.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, insert a bamboo skewer under the belly shell of the shrimp starting at the head and ending at the tail. The purpose of this is to straighten out the shrimp and keep it straight while cooking.
  • Once our pot of water is boiling, add the skewered shrimp to the water cook until the shrimp turns pink and is firm under its shell. This usually takes around 3 minutes.
  • While the shrimp is cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water to add the shrimp to when they are done cooking.
  • Once the shrimp is cooked, add to your ice bowl and keep there until cool (usually a minute or two).
  • Once cool, take the shrimp out of ice water, remove the bamboo skewers and the shells on the body, leaving only the tail.
  • Using a sharp knife, butterfly the shrimp along the belly. You can do this by making a cut in the belly of the shrimp along its entire length (from head to tail), making sure to only cut to the vein of the shrimp. Once your cut is made, spread the shrimp open and clean out the vein.
  • Pat dry before using in your nigiri.

Assemble the Ebi Nigiri Sushi

  • Form the sushi rice into a ball the shape of a small egg: Mix a splash of rice vinegar into a bowl of water and wet hands. This helps prevent rice from sticking to your hands.
    After wetting your hands, form a small ball of sushi rice into a small egg shape. The exact size depends on the size of your shrimp. The shrimp should be able to wrap around the top half of the ball of rice on the sides and hang over the rice slightly on the front and back of the nigiri.
  • Add wasabi: If you are a fan of wasabi, add a dash of wasabi to the butterflied portion of the shrimp (belly side). If you don't care for wasabi, you can skip this step.
  • Wrap ebi shrimp around sushi rice: Wrap the shrimp around the ball of sushi rice. I do this by first using my fingers to gently press the ball into the shrimp. I then gently push the sides of the shrimp onto the rice. The ball should fit nicely inside your ebi shrimp. This is an art and gets easier with practice so don't get frustrated if you struggle at first.
  • Serve and enjoy: I usually serve with soy sauce and wasabi. Most people also serve with pickled ginger as well.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 3Pieces | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 0.75g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 108mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 0.7g | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 3mg

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use frozen shrimp in Ebi sushi?

Yes, though fresh shrimp is preferred, frozen shrimp can be used. However, it does need to be thawed prior to preparing and cooking.

What type of shrimp is used in Ebi sushi?

Ebi sushi can be made from a wide variety of shrimp, as long as they are large enough. Two common types of shrimp used in Ebi sushi are Amaebi (sweet shrimp) and the Japanese Tiger Prawn. However, any large shrimp or prawn would work well.

Is Ebi sushi healthy?

Yes, shrimp, the main component of Ebi sushi, is very healthy for you. It’s packed with protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and is low in fat. While sushi rice is not great for you, it is healthier than other types of rice. Also, the benefits of the shrimp outweigh the unhealthier components of the sushi rice.

Final Thoughts on Ebi Sushi

Simple, yet delicious, Ebi sushi is a sushi staple. Because it uses cooked ingredients that are common around the world, Ebi sushi great for newbies to the sushi scene as it is far less intimidating than many other menu items at a sushi bar. It’s also a great sushi to prepare for beginners as it’s pretty easy to make. We hope you finish this article inspired to make your very own Ebi sushi. Happy cooking!

Check out below for more great articles:

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Delicious Shrimp Tempura Roll Recipe

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