Temaki Sushi or sushi by hand

Several times a year we get together with our Japanese teacher and fellow language students for a shared meal. One of the easiest meals we have is temaki sushi (alternatively spelled temakizushi), or hand made sushi. This is definitely a fun meal to share with friends or family.

The sushi table is set.
The sushi table is set.

If you like sushi but are completely put off by wrestling with bamboo mats to roll your sushi then this approach could be the one for you. All that you need is your sushi rice, some nori (seaweed) sheets and a plate of sushi fillings. Don’t panic if you can’t find sheets of nori, you can always use a lettuce leaf instead – no toasting required!

Cooked prawns, tuna, avocado, cucumber and carrot are ready to roll.
Cooked prawns, tuna, avocado, cucumber and carrot are ready to roll.

First you take your sheet of nori and ‘toast’ it by holding it over your gas burner (or other heat source) for a few seconds. Then tear your large sheet into four pieces. Now you are right to go.

Take your piece of nori in your hand, put some rice on top of it and then add the fillings that you like. Then roll the nori over the filling. That’s it, well apart from the eating.

Temaki sushi in hand.
Temaki sushi in hand.

In addition to the platter prepared by our teacher TB made some crumbed and deep-fried pork strips (pork tonkatsu)- using panko as the crumb coating and a dish of spinach with sesame dressing (horenso no goma ae). The latter dish is blanched spinach which is coated with a dressing of 50 grams of white  sesame seeds; 1 &1/2 teaspoons of caster sugar; 1tablespoon of sake, 1&1/2 tablespoons of dashi and 2 teaspoons of temari.

Spinach with sesame dressing.
Spinach with sesame dressing.

 Dry fry your sesames seeds over a medium heat until they are lightly golden then grind them in a motar and pestle adding the sugar, sake, dashi and tamari until it forma a paste. toss the spinach in the dressing and serve. (This recipe is from A Little Taste of Japan, by Jane Lawson, Murdoch Books 2004). We also drank some Okinawan rice liquor, think shochu rather than sake, with our meal, courtesy of our teacher who brought it back from her recent visit to Okinawa.

Okinawan rice spirits.
Okinawan rice spirits.

 If you would like to see the full process for making temaki sushi, including some more complex preparation, this is a good video to watch.

Post Script

The week after writing this post Adam Liaw made temakizushi on Destination Flavour Japan – talk about being on trend! You can check out Adam’s version here.

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