Something I love having for dinner in the summer time here in Japan, is temaki-zushi.
If you have no clue about the different kinds of sushi, allow me explain some of the basics.
Nigiri -zushi, is a piece of sliced raw fish placed on top of a ball of sushi rice. There’s usually a small dab of wasabi between the rice and the fish. If you have just the slice of raw fish without the rice, then it’s called sashimi.
In the U.S., sushi rolls, called maki-zushi, are probably the most common/popular. At least last time I was there. Generally, however, the the things inside the sushi rolls are very different in the U.S. and Japan. For example, in Japan usually maki-zushi only has one filling along with the rice. Usually it’s something like one type of fish, cucumber, or natto (fermented soybeans). The California roll is starting to pick up in popularity in Japan these days though. I love telling Japanese people about some of the fillings you can find in American maki-zushi, and then watching the disbelief/grossed out expression on their faces (especially the whole salmon and cream cheese combination. That always get a lot of grossed out faces, hehe. Oh, I’m so bad).
Then there’s temaki-zushi. Whereas nigiri-zushi and maki-zushi are more of the eat-at-a-restaurant types of sushi, temaki-zushi in more of a have-for-dinner-at-home kind of sushi. At least I think so.
Tamaki-zushi is sushi rice and whatever else you want wrapped in a piece of nori seaweed. It’s fun to have for dinner, because you just lay out all the fillings, and people can make their own with whatever fillings they want. I think kids especially can enjoy this for dinner.
Here’s everything laid out last night for dinner right before we started eating. On the top left plate, there’s slices of tamgo-yaki (rolled omelet) and crab sticks. To the right of that is the sushi rice (steamed white rice with sushi vinegar mixed in). Below that is kinpira gobo (braised burdock root and carrots) we had as a side dish. To the left of that is a mix of sashimi (slices of raw fish) that I bought earlier that day at the grocery store, to the left of that is some tuna salad I made, and to the left of that is sliced cucumber and shiso (perilla leaves). We also both had miso soup. As there were only two of us, we ended up having a lot of leftovers, lol.
To make temaki-zushi, you just take a square piece of nori seaweed, place a spoonful of sushi rice on that, place whatever filling you want on top of the rice, and then roll it up (dip it in soy sauce if you want) and eat it.
Here are some examples of temaki-sushi I made last night.
Although temaki-zushi usually has raw fish of some sort in it, it doesn’t have to. Even those who can’t stomach eating raw fish, or have kids who are grossed out by the idea of eating raw fish can enjoy this! You just have to be creative and have fun with it!
I think some other good fillings would be smoked salmon and avocado, just about any type of salad (tuna, chicken, dressed greens, etc.), even kimchi would be great! Although my favorite filling is sashimi, I like to try other things as well. Like I said, the most important thing is to have fun with it.