Makizushi (Sushi Rolls) Recipe

Step 6: Tighten as You Roll

Continue rolling the sushi by pulling forward on the folded-over edge of the bamboo mat, advancing it about a quarter inch at a time. With each forward movement, pull back on the roll while firmly holding the bamboo mat in place in order to tighten the roll.

Continue until the roll is completely sealed. Roll it off the mat and place on your cutting board seam-side down for 1 minute before slicing in order to allow the nori to seal and soften.

J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Toasting the nori makes it pliable and easier to roll.
  • Keeping your hands moistened lets you spread the rice thin without it sticking to your fingers.
  • Use fillings sparingly to prevent the rolls from bursting open.
  • A bamboo mat lets you roll neat and even rolls.
  • Allowing the rolls to rest a few minutes retains the nori's snap when bitten into without a crackly crispness.

Makizushi, or sushi rolls, are very simple to make and can be filled with an array of ingredients, from raw fish to assorted vegetables. Once you've made the sushi rice and armed yourself with high quality nori sheets, the possibilities are endless.

Recipe Facts

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Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins

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Ingredients

  • 4 nori sheets (0.4 ounce;11g)
  • 1 recipe sumeshi (vinegared sushi rice)
  • 10 ounces (280g) assorted fillings cut into long strips no more than 1/2 inch wide (raw salmon or tuna, cucumber, avocado, pickles, etc)
  • wasabi, soy, and pickled ginger for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Over a gas flame or in a 400°F (205°C) oven, toast the nori sheets until pliable, about 5 seconds.

  2. For Hosomaki Rolls (Thin rolls with 1 ingredient): Using kitchen shears or with a sharp knife on a cutting board, split the nori sheets evenly in half, cutting across the vertical lines that run along it.

  3. Lay 1 nori sheet on a bamboo mat lined up 1 inch away from the edge closest to you. Keep the shiny side of the nori facing down and the indentations running vertically. (For easier clean-up, cover the mat in plastic wrap.) Moisten your hands with water and gently spread about 1 cup (5.5 ounces;150g) of sumeshi evenly along the nori sheet, taking care not to compact the rice, and leaving a 1/2 inch boarder along the top and bottom of the nori sheet. Place your chosen filling along the lower third of the nori. Do not overstuff.

  4. For Futomaki Rolls (Larger rolls with 2 or more ingredients): Lay 1 full nori sheet on a bamboo mat lined up 1 inch away from the edge closest to you. Keep the shiny side of the nori facing down and the indentations running vertically. (For easier clean-up, cover the mat in plastic wrap.) Moisten your hands with water and gently spread about 2 cups (11 ounces;300g) of sumeshi evenly along the nori sheet, taking care not to compact the rice, and leaving a 2 inch boarder along the top edge. Place your chosen filings along the lower third of the nori. Do not overstuff.

  5. To Roll Up the Makizushi: Slip your thumbs underneath the edge of the bamboo matt that's closest to you. Use your thumbs to lift the mat and flip the edge of the nori and rice over the filling, using your remaining fingers to press the filling toward you. Pull the mat foward, rolling the nori and rice around the filling. Dip a finger in water and run along the top exposed edge of the nori. Continue rolling to seal. Pull the matt over the roll and press gently to compress the roll.

  6. With a sharp knife, cut the roll in half crosswise, lay the two halfs next to each other and slice into six even pieces. Allow the roll to rest about 2 minutes before serving with soy, wasabi, and ginger, if desired.

Special equipment

Bamboo mat