Do you love sushi? Is it becoming an expensive habit? Making sushi at home doesn’t have to require any rolling technique or special equipment. Temaki zushi (which translates to hand rolled sushi) is DIY—you prepare all the ingredients and everyone makes their own hand rolls. It feels communal and the best part is creating your own rolls and finding tasty new combinations.
I admit there’s a lot of prep on the front end, but how much all depends on the size of your spread. You could just buy sashimi-grade tuna and cut up some cucumbers. That would take no time at all. My mom was in town, so we went for it: tuna, ika, tamagoyaki, kampyo, cucumbers, avocado, kanikama (imitation crab), shiso, tobiko, yamaimo, umeboshi, and takuan. We made sumashijiru and had mozuku on the side. Here’s our spread:
We also made a couple futomaki rolls as a bonus! It was a lot of food for three people. We had very full, very satisfied bellies at the end of it all. The total cost? About $40 total. My mom and I even had leftovers for lunch the next day (the sashimi was all eaten the night before, of course).
I’m going to leave you with a couple of notes and some basic recipes, but feel free to take it and run.
If you don’t have Japanese cucumbers, English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers are good alternatives. Be sure to take out the seeds by running a knife down the length after you’ve cut them into spears.
Nori can grow stale easily. I keep mine in the freezer to maintain its freshness and I make sure the bag is air tight. Nori should crackle and break when you fold it. Sometimes you can save stale nori by quickly brushing it over a flame to make it crisp again.
When making the rolls, don’t use too much rice. Roll them diagonally into the shape of a cone.
Some of our favorite combinations were ika, shiso, and tobiko // umeboshi, cucumber, and shiso (classic umekyu) // yamaimo and shiso // kampyo, tamago, tobiko, and avocado.
Adapted from Your Japanese Kitchen 1
Makes 2-3 servings
1 1/2 cups (400ml) uncooked Japanese short-grain rice, washed
1/2 cup (100ml) rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Cook the rice and let steam for 10 mins after done cooking (without opening the lid).
Heat the vinegar in a small pot over low heat. Remove from stove and add the sugar and salt and whisk until dissolved. Set aside until rice is done.
Transfer rice to a sushi oke (I don’t have one of these, so I transfer it to a plastic bowl. A metal bowl would work, too, but it retains the heat. Plastic helps to cool the rice faster). Pour the vinegar over the rice, evenly in a small drizzle. Mix the vinegar into the rice by folding and “cutting” the rice with a shamoji, but don’t over mix because this will make the rice mushy. Cool the rice—I usually fan the rice by hand to get an arm workout! Occasionally mix by using the folding/cutting method until rice has cooled.
Adapted from 和食の基本
1 Tbsp sake
1 tsp mirin
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Beat the eggs in a bowl, but be careful not to create bubbles. You can do this by using chopsticks: keep the tips of the chopsticks touching the bottom of the bowl as you beat the eggs. This will take longer, but be patient! Add the sake, mirin, sugar, and salt and beat again using the same method until the sugar and salt is dissolved.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add about a teaspoon of oil. Tilt it around and use a small section of a paper towel to spread the oil evenly and wipe excess. Too much oil is not good, but you want to be sure the egg will come off easily.
Pour about 1/4 or 1/5 of the egg mixture into the pan and tilt it around so there’s an even coat, like making a crepe. As it cooks, if air bubbles pop up, pierce them with your chopsticks. Moving quickly, loosen the edges of the egg and begin to fold over, starting at the far end and rolling towards you. When rolling, take time on each side so that the egg will stick as its cooked. Once you’ve rolled the egg, slide it to the opposite side of the pan farthest away from you.
Pour another 1/4 or 1/5 of the egg mixture and lift the previously cooked egg and tilt the pan so the egg mixture goes underneath it. Again, begin to roll the egg towards you. Once you roll all the way towards you, slide the entire cooked egg to the opposite side of the pan and repeat until you finish with all the egg mixture.
When cool enough to handle, cut in thick strips.
This is obviously difficult to explain with words, so I hope the series of images below will help.
Adapted from 和食の基本
0.7 oz (20g) dried kampyo (dried gourd)
3/4 cups (200ml) dashi
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbps shoyu
2 tsp mirin
Wash kampyo with water. Drain, then sprinkle with salt and massage. Rinse with water and put in a small pot with water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium. Continue boiling for a few mins, then drain. When cool enough to handle, cut into 10″ strips.
Again, bring to boil the kampyo, dashi, sugar, shoyu, and mirin. Cook until the liquid has reduced.