One of the most creative and easiest ways to make sushi in your own home is temaki sushi. Temaki sushi literally translates to hand (“te”) rolled (“maki”) sushi.
This style of sushi is also a popular item at Japanese sushi bars where your choice of sushi fillings (fish, seafood, caviar, egg roulade, and vegetables) are wrapped with sushi rice in a large piece of nori (dried and roasted seaweed) into an easy-to-grab, ice-cream-cone-shaped sushi roll.
Temaki sushi is typically dipped in soy sauce (shoyu) mixed with wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and served with a side of pickled ginger known in Japanese as gari shoga.
How to Throw a Temaki Sushi Party
Temaki sushi is great for a weeknight Japanese meal for your family, but it can be easily turned into a weekend party for family and friends. As seafood can be expensive–especially with sashimi-grade raw fish and caviar–for a budget-friendly option consider throwing a temaki sushi potluck party and ask guests to bring their favorite sashimi (raw fish), caviar, vegetables, and sushi fillings.
Part of the fun of temaki sushi is that you get to make your own sushi and combine any number of your favorite ingredients. Start by reviewing the simple checklist for hosting a temaki sushi party below, followed by suggested ingredients.
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Simple Checklist for Hosting a Temaki Sushi Party
- Make sushi rice.
- Cut nori (dry roasted seaweed) into large lengthwise pieces using kitchen shears by cutting each sheet in half. Some brands will sell pre-cut temaki sushi nori. Store the nori in a resealable plastic bag, so the sheets do not become stale.
- Decide what vegetables to offer and cut them into slender lengthwise pieces. Arrange the vegetables on one or two platters. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until serving.
- Decide on the types of sashimi to offer and pre-slice them into sushi-sized pieces. Alternatively, purchase pre-cut platters of assorted raw fish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
- For caviar, serve each type in small bowls with spoons.
- Fill soy sauce (shoyu) dispenser.
- Serve pickled ginger and wasabi in small bowls.
- Lay serving chopsticks and small spoons with each dish being offered so guests can easily serve themselves.
- Place settings should include one small plate for preparing individual temaki sushi and a small shallow dish for mixing soy sauce and wasabi to dip temaki sushi. Each setting should also include a set of chopsticks and a napkin.
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Sushi rice can either be made from scratch, using premium short-grain white rice and a vinegar sushi mix or from a shortcut method using dry sushi mix seasoning. It’s a dry powder that is sprinkled over warm steamed rice and mixed well to create a vinegar sushi flavor.
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Assorted Sashimi (Raw Fish)
The highlight of temaki sushi is often the variety of sashimi, or raw fish, available. Many Japanese and Asian grocery stores sell sashimi-grade fish that is either sold in small blocks that can be sliced or as a short-cut purchase pre-cut platters of assorted sashimi. The following is a list of suggested sashimi:
- sea urchin
- sea bass
- sweet shrimp
- pickled mackerel
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Roasted Dried Seaweed (Nori)
Large sheet-sized seaweed is available specifically for making sushi rolls and temaki sushi. These can be cut lengthwise in half or, for children, in quarters. Packages sold in Japanese or other Asian grocery stores might have pre-cut nori specifically for temaki sushi.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Assorted caviar is a delicacy that instantly adds variety to any temaki sushi spread. Caviar is also sold prepackaged in small portions at the Japanese supermarket or Asian grocery store and requires no preparation.
- Cod roe (ikura)
- Capelin roe (masago or tobiko)
- Spicy pollock roe (mentaiko)
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Cooked seafood is a great addition to any temaki sushi spread, especially for those who do not eat sashimi (raw fish). The following are popular cooked seafood options that are commonly enjoyed with sushi.
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Egg Roulade (Tamagoyaki)
Japanese tamagoyaki is a rolled egg omelet that is sweetened with sugar and seasoned with dashi. It is sliced into lengthwise pieces to fit perfectly in a temaki sushi roll. It’s often a favorite among children.
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Perilla Leaf (Shiso)
Shiso is a fragrant herb that pairs wonderfully with sashimi and caviar and is traditionally served with sushi.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Daikon Sprouts (Kaiware)
Daikon sprouts have a hint of spice and add a nice mild flavor to temaki sushi.
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Assorted Fresh and Cooked Vegetables
Any assortment of vegetables of your choice will make a wonderful addition to your temaki sushi spread. Traditional vegetables might include the following:
- Cucumbers sliced lengthwise
- Avocado slices
- Fresh nagaimo (Japanese mountain yam) slices
- Pickled burdock root
- Other non-traditional cooked vegetables like asparagus, okra, blanched snow peas, and carrots
- Simmered and seasoned shiitake mushrooms
- Pickles such as takuan (pickled daikon radish)
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Non-Traditional Temaki Sushi Fillings
Cooked and seasoned meat and poultry offer yet another alternative to sashimi (raw fish) and seafood. This is often a popular choice among younger children who do not like sashimi and seafood.
- Thin shabu-shabu cut cooked beef seasoned with teriyaki sauce
- Sliced cooked chicken breast
- Thin shabu-shabu cut pork that has been boiled