Here’s the secret Japanese restaurants don’t want you to know: hand rolled (temaki) sushi is super easy and delicious to make at home. We’re not talking nigiri or beautiful rolls, here. It’s kind of like the home version of fajitas– it doesn’t have to be pretty. It still tastes good and is fun and is perfect for picky eaters (If you just put the rice, nori, and fillings out on the table as we do at the Suzuki-Lincoln household and let pick eaters roll their own).
And it only takes one special ingredient (I don’t count nori as special. Nori is available at every grocery store in my mid-sized mid-western town of Rochester, MN): Sushi Vinegar.
Which is pretty much just rice vinegar with sugar.
When I make temaki sushi at home it usually looks like this:
Of course if you’re more careful and particular, it can look like this:
But who has time for that? I’m telling you, just put the ingredients out on the table and let everyone fend for themselves. Its very fun.
You will need:
- Japanese rice
- Sushi vinegar
- a variety of fillings such as cucumber, fake crab, and avocado
For the entirely picky, authentic way to make sushi rice (that we totally don’t follow) here is Nami’s Just One Cookbook version. Here’s the real-person-with-no-time-lazy-cook version:
Make three cups of Japanese rice. As soon as it’s done, dump it in a wide bowl (or actually Tokyo Boy uses a 9X 13 inch glass baking pan I also use to make lasagna). While it’s hot pour around 4 tbspns of sushi vinegar on top. (Tokyo Boy would use a bit more, we love vinegar). If you have a rice paddle, great. Use it. If you don’t, I suggest a flat wooden spoon (run it under cold water at first to keep rice from sticking badly) or a metal spoon. The point here is to NOT mix it really, because it will get mushy. You want to slice it in kind of the same way as folding egg whites into batter. Tokyo Boy uses a table fan set on high to keep the rice from going mushy during this process (you want to cool it down) or sometimes a daughter with a hand fan, depending on who’s available.
So yeah, that’s it. Then you just slice up a variety of filling ingredients. We don’t have access to good sushi-grade fish so usually we use:
avocado, cucumber, fake crab, cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, sesame seeds
If you want to get wild and crazy and have access to an Asian food store, you could also use Kaiware daikon sprouts
pickled yellow takuan daikon
ikura salted salmon roe
or smooshed umeboshi pickled plum (smooshed umeboshi and cucumber is actually my favorite)
Watch out though, temaki sushi is so easy and fun to eat, you may find your kids asking for it all the time.