4 cups freshly cooked short grain Japanese rice, room temperature. Make sure you are using short grain rice so that your rice sticks together. Many brands in the US (Nishiki, Botan, Kokuho) sell medium grain Japanese rice which isn’t the same. Look for koshi hikari type or brands like Tamanishiki for premium short grain Japanese rice.
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Filling options (you can of course use other fillings of your choice, these are basic ones):
Persian or Kirby cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch long strips
Takuan (pickled daikon radish), cut into 1/2-inch long strips
Avocado, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch long strips
Cooked sweet potato (don’t overcook it to the point where it’s mushy), cut into 1/2-inch long strips.
Natto (1 box)
Sashimi grade tuna, salmon, or yellowtail (about 5 oz for 8 rolls), cut into 1/2-inch long strips
4 nori sheets
Soy sauce, for dipping
Pickled ginger (optional)
Put the cooked rice in a large bowl and add the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Using a paddle or a spoon, fold the rice a few time to coat it evenly but don’t overdo it otherwise the rice will get mushy. Set aside.
Place the bamboo mat on a flat surface facing you (you will be rolling the mat away from you). Fill a small bowl with 1/2 cup tepid water and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar. Place it next to the bamboo mat.
Slice the nori sheets in half, lengthwise, and place on a plate next to the bamboo mat.
Grab a nori sheet and place it on the bamboo mat’s edge closer to you, lengthwise, leaving 1” of bamboo space visible, shiny face down.
Dip your fingers in the dipping bowl and moisten your hands. Grab 1/2 cup of sushi rice (using a measurement cup is the easiest to measure the rice) and place it on the nori sheet. Don’t overfill the cup or press the rice down, just scoop the rice as you normally would scoop any other grain.
Spread the rice evenly across the sheet, leaving 1” of space free at the top of the nori sheet.
Place the filling in the center of the rice, across lengthwise. Grab the bottom edges of the mat with your thumbs while holding on to the toppings with your other fingers. Roll it into a tight cylinder, tucking the fillings in firmly.
Roll it forward while using a little pressure but not so much that the filling spills out. Let go of the mat when you get to the other end.
Wipe a kitchen knife with vinegar water and evenly cut the roll into bite size pieces.
Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger on the side.
Maki sushi taste best when the rice is fresh and at room temperature. But you can refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight storage containers if it’s absolutely necessary. Eat cold – do not reheat!
Keywords: kappa maki, sushi rolls, snack, side dish