When Japanese families make sushi at home, the most popular style is the temaki, or hand roll. A large platter of fresh ingredients, a big tub of sushi rice and some sheets of nori are all that’s needed for a tasty and fun sushi meal. The crunch of the nori in this kind of freshly rolled sushi recipe is a delicious change from the more common rolls, in which the nori has softened through longer contact with the moist rice.
- selection of sushi fillings to taste, such as sashimi-grade tuna, salmon roe, Japanese omelette, cucumber, daikon sprouts, shiso leaves, lettuce leaves
- 2-3 large sheets nori (per person)
- wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce, to serve (optional)
- 125 ml (½ cup) rice wine vinegar
- 30 g caster sugar
- 5 g salt
- 800 g (4 cups) short-grain Japanese rice (koshihikari preferable)
- 10 cm piece kombu (see note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the sushi rice, place the vinegar, caster sugar and salt in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, wash the raw rice well and place in a heavy-based saucepan. Cover with enough cold water to reach about 2 cm above the surface of the rice. Add the kombu. Bring to the boil, removing the kombu just before the water boils. Continue to boil until the water level reaches the top of the rice and holes appear in the surface where steam escapes. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to very low, and continue to cook for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stand, covered, for a further 5 minutes.
Turn out the cooked rice into a large wooden rice tub or bowl (if using a wooden tub, rub the wood first with a little of the vinegar mixture to stop the rice from sticking). Working quickly, fan the rice to drive off any excess moisture, and separate the grains with a spatula, drawing it through the rice in a cutting motion. Add the vinegar mixture a little at a time, continuing to fan and “cut” the rice until it reaches body temperature. You can test this by feeling the rice with the back of your fingers – if it feels neither warm nor cold, it is at the right temperature. Cover with a tea towel or piece of cheesecloth moistened with a little of the vinegar mixture, to keep the rice warm and moist.
Slice the fillings into pieces or long strips and arrange them on a platter. If you are working with raw seafood, make sure to keep the work area clean and sanitary.
Cut the nori in half and serve as a stack with the rice and fillings.
To make each piece of hand-rolled sushi, take a piece of nori and place a small portion of rice to one edge of the rough side of the nori. Add any fillings you wish and roll into a cone. Eat immediately with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce, if you like.
• Kombu is a seaweed popular in Japanese cooking. You can buy it Asian grocers and health food stores.