As sushi becomes more popular than ever, many people think that it is a staple of Japanese home cooking. The fact is we don’t typically make sushi at home, especially when comes to nigiri or sushi rolls that require time and refined skills. We much prefer to enjoy them at a sushi restaurant.
But we do make exceptions for the less fussy ones like Temaki Sushi (hand-rolled sushi). Growing up, Temaki Sushi was our favorite party meal. My mom would make them once every couple of months because it’s very forgiving and we all love this easy DIY sushi at home.
What is Temaki Sushi?
Temaki Sushi is sometimes called a “hand roll” because it is made of a rolled cone of seaweed, wrapped around rice and fillings. The best part, for me as a cook, is that this is a meal where everyone helps themselves. You just need to prepare a platter of sushi rice, nori (seaweed sheet), and fillings such as sashimi-grade fish and sliced veggies/mango. Then at the table, each person makes hand-rolled sushi based on their favorite mix of ingredients.
3 Basic Ingredients for Temaki Sushi
1. Sushi Rice 酢飯
To make Temaki Sushi, you need to make the seasoned rice called Sushi Rice or Sumeshi (酢飯). The rice has to be short-grain rice so it is stickier and forms together when you wrap the seaweed cone around it. Sushi Rice is simply steamed rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Japanese only make this rice when making sushi, so for all other Japanese meals, we eat regular steamed rice.
To learn how to make sushi rice, see How To Make Sushi Rice.
2. Gu (Ingredients for Sushi) 具
To be honest, the world is your oyster when comes to choosing the ingredients. Pick what you and your family enjoy! If you’re curious, here are some popular options in Japan:
Sashimi Choice (Raw Fish)
- Amaebi (sweet shrimp)
- Hamachi (yellowtail)
- Hotate (scallop)
- Ikura (salmon roe)
- Kanpachi (amberjack)
- Maguro (tuna)
- Tai (sea bream/red snapper)
- Tobiko (flying fish roe)
- Toro (fatty tuna)
- Uni (sea urchin)
- Radish sprout (kaiware daikon)
- Shiso leaves
- Yellow daikon pickles (takuan)
If you are vegetarian or do not eat raw fish, you can still make Temaki Sushi with vegetables and cooked items. It’s fun to make your own fillings, so get creative!
- Boiled shrimp
- Imitation crab sticks (kanikama)
- Natto (fermented soybean)
- Sweet Rolled Omelet (Atsuyaki Tamago)
- Tuna mayo
- Umeboshi (pickled plums) or Neri Ume (pickled plum paste)
- Shrimp Tempura
- Grilled Unagi
- Chicken Teriyaki
- Chicken Kaarage
- Chicken Katsu
3. Nori (Seaweed)
You will need good quality nori (seaweed) for Temaki Sushi. Some of you have asked me why their nori is chewy. Frankly speaking, it’s a sign of bad quality nori.
How to Make Temaki Sushi
- Cut a square nori sheet in half (restaurant-style) or quarter (more home-style).
- Place the nori, the shiny side down, on your palm.
- Put 1/4 cup sushi rice at a 45-degree angle to the top left corner of the nori sheet and flatten/spread it evenly.
- Add some ingredients over the rice: cucumber, 1-2 types of sashimi, and radish sprout.
- Roll the bottom left corner up to the middle of the top edge of the nori to form a triangle, and continue rolling until you form a cone shape.
- Put a piece of rice on the tip of the nori to secure the folds.
Whether it’s for a small gathering or a bigger crowd, Temaki Sushi is truly the best type of sushi to serve at home. Enjoy!
10 sheets nori (dried laver seaweed) (we use half sheet for each roll)
Temaki Filling Ideassashimi-grade fish of your choice (¼-⅓ lb per person; salmon, tuna, amberjack, yellowtail, fatty t una, sea bream, salmon roe, uni, etc)
Japanese or Persian cucumbers
shiso leaves (perilla/ooba)
kaiware daikon radish sprouts
takuan (pickled daikon radish)
2.Right before you start eating, cut the nori in half (restaurant-style) or quarter (home-style; makes 40 taco-style rolls) and keep it in the bag as it becomes stale easily.
4.Before you start, make sure your hands are dry in order to keep nori dry and crispy. Place the seaweed on the palm of your hand (shiny side down) and put a thin layer of rice on left third of nori. If you're using a ¼ sheet of nori, then put the rice and filling in the center and roll up the sides like taco.
5.Place fillings (shiso leaf, cucumber, raw fish and daikon radish sprouts) vertically across middle of the rice.
6.Fold the bottom left corner of nori over and begin rolling into a cone shape.
7.Keep rolling until a cone shape is formed. Put a piece of rice at the bottom right corner to use as glue and close tightly. Continue with the other half of the nori.
8.Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce as condiments.
To StoreSashimi-grade fish must be eaten within 24 hours. Keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for a day.