"I've been making sushi for 38 years, and I'm still learning," says Masaharu Morimoto, Iron Chef star and owner of Morimoto restaurants around the world. "You have to consider the size and color of the ingredients, how much salt and vinegar to use and how the seasons affect the fattiness of the fish."
Even if mastering sushi can take a lifetime, Morimoto says anyone can make a well-balanced maki (roll) at home. The most important step is buying the best ingredients -- not just the fish, but also the sheets of nori and short-grain Japanese rice. "You should trust the price -- the more expensive, the better," he says. Another critical step is making great sushi rice: seasoning it as Morimoto does, with a mixture of rice vinegars, sugar and salt, then carefully separating and fluffing the grains with a slicing motion. The last and most imposing step-forming the maki-requires nothing more than a bamboo sushi mat and practice. "Don't be afraid," Morimoto says. "It's like a taco of seaweed and rice."