Everyone we make sushi with is amazed how easy the process really is. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s learn what maki is and make some homemade sushi!
Do you love sushi? Have you ever tried sushi?
It seems like when it comes to sushi, people fall into one of two camps: they can’t get enough or they’ve never tried it because the idea of eating raw fish sounds gross.
Well, first of, if you’ve never tried sushi because of the raw fish deal. You need to know one important thing: there’s WAY more to sushi than raw fish. There are rolls with cooked seafood and there are rolls that just have veggies.
And, when you’re making your own sushi, you can put whatever sushi filling in there that you want to. Buffalo chicken? Why not?
What is Maki?
There are many different types of sushi, but one of the most popular types in the States tends to be makizushi (“maki” means “to roll” and zushi” is the conjugated version of the word “sushi”).
This type of sushi is also known as norimaki because the sushi is rolled in dried seaweed, called “nori.”
Now that I think of it, in the States, we often call them maki rolls, which is a bit repetitive. I guess we should actually be calling them nori rolls!
Special Tools for Making Maki
Like we mentioned, rolling maki sushi isn’t all that difficult.
What is Sushi Rice?
Then, you’ll need a recipe for sushi rice. (Keep reading. We wouldn’t leave you hanging like that!)
To make sushi rice you first need to be sure to rinse the rice grains of any excess starch. This makes sure they cook up to be fine, sticky grains, rather than a starchy mess.
Sushi rice is seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and a bit of salt. The rice will taste odd by itself, but trust us, the rice needs to be seasoned this way in order for the sushi to taste right.
Choosing Your Sushi Fillings
And, you’ll need your sushi fillings.
We tend to avoid the raw seafood when we make sushi, simply because sushi grade seafood (seafood that is safe to eat raw) can be hard to find and is quite expensive.
Instead, we opt for some easier fare: cucumbers, avocado, imitation crab meat, cooked shrimp, red onions, scallions, green peppers, tomato, mango. You’ll notice that some of these fillings are more “traditional” than others. But, you can really use anything you want as long as you can cut it into nice long strips.
To Go With Your Sushi
But, they aren’t essential to the sushi creation. And, your sushi will still taste great, even without the finishing sauces.
Putting It All Together
The biggest trick is putting all the ingredients together.
Your first time, plan on making at least three rolls.
Why the three roll minimum?
Your first might be a bit to big, or too small. It takes some trial and error to get the amount of rice right.
Your second will look pretty good.
By the third, you’ll be rolling sushi like a pro and wondering why you haven’t been doing this every time you crave sushi!
At least, that’s more or less how it went for us. Three was the magic number.
Are you ready?
Let’s Make Some Sushi!
Step 1: Place your nori, shiny side down, on the bamboo rolling mat.
Step 2: Cover 2/3 of the nori (from the short end) with 1/3 – 1/2 c sushi rice. You’ll want the rice layer about 1/8″ thick. If the rice is too sticky to spread easily, moisten your fingers with water before spreading.
Step 3: Lay whatever sushi fillings you choose in a nice line, 1/3 of the way up the rice.
Step 4: Now we roll.
Take the bamboo mat and gently pull the bottom section (with just the 1/3 of rice) up over the filling.
Continue to roll the sushi, pulling the mat straight away from you to coax a nice roll.
Once the roll is complete, pick up the mat with the roll and press firmly. This will press the rice in to position, and the last naked bit of nori will stick to itself, sealing the roll.
Step 5: Cut your roll using a large, sharp knife. If you find things sticking to the knife as you cut, moisten it slightly with a little water.
More Ideas For Sushi Fillings
Here are some combinations of sushi fillings that we enjoy!
- Cucumber, avocado, and imitation crab (California Roll)
- Crab, avocado, mango, and green pepper
- Avocado, tomato, red onion, and green pepper
- Mango and red onion
- Crab, green onion, and sriracha
When we think about a combination of sushi fillings, we like to make sure we at least have something creamy and something crunchy. These give you a good texture base for your maki sushi, and then the other flavors can build from there!
Sushi Rice and Sushi Rolling Instructions
For the Rice
- Place rice in a fine sieve, and rinse until water runs clear.
- In a large saucepan, mix together water and rice. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes.
- After 15 min, turn heat off and let rice set, covered for 10 min.
- In a small bowl, mix together vinegar, sugar, and salt until sugar dissolves.
- Pour over rice and mix well to coat.
- Cool rice to room temperature before using in sushi.
For the Maki Rolls
- Place your nori, shiny side down, on the bamboo rolling mat.
- Cover 2/3 of the nori (from the short end) with 1/3 - 1/2 c sushi rice. You'll want the rice layer about 1/8" thick. If the rice is too sticky to spread easily, moisten your fingers with water before spreading.
- Lay filling ingredients in a nice line, 1/3 of the way up the nori.
- Take the bamboo mat and gently pull the bottom section (with just 1/3 of rice) up over the filling. Continue to roll the sushi, pulling the mat straight away from you to coax a nice roll. Once the roll is complete, pick up the mat with the roll and press firmly. This will press the rice in to position, and the last naked bit of nori will stick to itself, sealing the roll.
- Cut your roll using a large, sharp knife. If you find things sticking to the knife as you cut, moisten it slightly with a little water.
- Serve with pickled ginger, soy sauce, and/or wasabi as desired.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. These links are provided to help you find some of the more specialty products we mention in the recipe. If you make any purchase after clicking through one of our links, we receive a small commission from Amazon, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Curious Cuisiniere!
This is one of the recipes from the early days of Curious Cuisiniere. We’ve updated our pictures since we first made it, but we’ve left some original images here as a fun throwback and shout out to how far we’ve come. Enjoy!
If you liked this recipe, here are some similar dishes you may enjoy!
Sarah is one of Curious Cuisiniere’s founding duo. Her love for cultural cuisines was instilled early by her French Canadian Grandmother. Her experience in the kitchen and in recipe development comes from years working in professional kitchens. She has traveled extensively and enjoys bringing the flavors of her travels back to create easy-to-make recipes.