Contrary to popular belief, Japanese people don't make sushi much at home. While that's never stopped me before, it does take a bit of motivation to prep everything and then make enough sushi rolls and nigiri for everyone to enjoy.
This is where Temaki Sushi steps in: all you need to do for hand rolls is make the sushi rice and slice up the fillings. The final assembly is left up to each person and their particular tastes, which is why it makes a popular option for casual get-togethers. Plus, it's a great way to get conversation going as each guest considers what flavor combinations to explore.
Roll Versus Hand Roll Sushi
A regular sushi roll or maki sushi is rolled into a cylinder. This requires a sushi mat to apply even pressure across the entire surface of the roll so that it forms a tight cylindrical shape. Hand rolls are shaped into a small cone using a half sheet of nori, so they can be shaped with your hand. This makes it possible for anyone to make sushi at home without any special equipment.
How to Make Hand Roll
Check out the video below for the process of rolling the Temaki Sushi. It's fairly straightforward, but there are a few tricks to remember. The biggest one is to have a small bowl of water for each person so they can wet their fingers before pressing the rice onto the nori sheet, otherwise all the rice will stick to your fingers and make a big mess. You'll also probably want to give each person a wet towel so they can wipe their hands off between each round. Also, I personally don't like adding a ton of rice to the hand rolls as it lets you stuff the temaki with more filling.
If you do decide to include raw fish in your Temaki Sushi, be sure to buy fish that is meant for eating raw. Since the terms "sushi-grade" and "sashimi-grade fish" are not regulated in the US, they are meaningless marketing phrases. Read up on what to look for, ask a lot of questions, and make sure you trust the shop you're buying the fish from.
The three hand rolls I show in the video are salmon, kaiware sprouts and ikura (salmon roe); green shiso, tuna and cucumber; and lettuce, mayonnaise and crab meat. For the sushi rice, I have recipes cooking Japanese short-grain rice, how to make seasoned sushi vinegar, and how to mix sushi rice to help you get your rice game up to the level of the best sushi restaurants in Japan.
Hand Roll Fillings
One of the best parts of hand rolls is that there are no rules about what you can include. Aside from the sushi rice and nori, all the other ingredients are optional, so you can stuff Temaki Sushi with just about anything you want. Meat-lovers can fill them with combos like kalbi and kimchi, or bacon and avocado; while pescatarians can go with salmon and radish sprouts, or spicy tuna; vegetarians can get in on the action with cucumbers, avocado and cheese, or sautéed shiitake mushrooms and pickled carrots. Even vegans can stuff theirs with all the vegetables they desire.
The filling combinations are virtually endless! The only thing I suggest is that you experiment with contrasting tastes and textures. It's a perfect dish for unleashing your culinary creativity. With each roll taking about three bites to eat, you should easily be able to devour four or five of these, so go ahead and do something creative! Mango, chili peppers and salami anyone?
- Place a sheet of nori with the rough-side up in front of you and add a large spoonful of sushi rice on the left half.
- Wet your fingers in water and then use them to spread the rice into an even layer on the left half the nori.
- Place your filling ingredients on the rice, with most of the filling towards the top.
- Roll the bottom left corner up to the middle of the top edge of the nori to form a cone.
- Continue rolling until the nori wraps completely around itself. Eat immediately.