Temaki Puts the Roll in Your Hand

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Temaki, doing a little showing off.

As many avid sushi eaters are well aware, sushi comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. There is the standard fish-on-rice “nigiri,” the nori (seaweed) encircled “gunkan” type, and the roll (“maki”). Drilling down into the roll category, you will find two types. “Cut” rolls start as something long and cylindrical, then usually get cut up into six pieces, allowing for sharing with dining partners. The other type of roll is the “temaki,” which means “hand roll.” These are not meant for sharing, which may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your disposition!

Temaki start with a rectangular sheet of nori (there’s that seaweed again!) that’s about 10 centimeters wide and 20 centimeters long. On to this is paddled a healthy portion of sushi rice.

Regardless of what you put inside, it’s important to carefully roll up the temaki into a cone shape, with one end coming to a point, with the ingredients visible or even sticking out of the other end. A loose temaki will be hard to handle, but rolling things up too tightly could lead you to tearing the nori. Balance is key.

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Sushi at restaurant Sushi Ken in Asakusa

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