Maki Rolls are long tubes of rice wrapped in seaweed paper with a variety of fillings rolled inside. The tubes are sliced into rounds from 1/4 inch to 2 inches in length. Popular Maki rolls include California Maki, Kappa Maki and Futo Maki. The California Maki is a bit complicated so you might want to start with Kappa Maki or Cucumber Roll.
While Maki rolls are related to sushi, they often feature ingredients that are cooked, or not seafood. The individual pieces are usually eaten with the fingers, but sometimes with chopsticks and are often dipped in soy sauce before eating. They also tend to be a one bite food so cut them accordingly.
The key ingredient is actually a sheet of seaweed paper commonly known as Nori. Surprisingly, you can find them in many grocery stores in the Asian section. You’ll also need a certain tool known as a Sushi mat. It’s a small series of sticks bound together with string that is flexible and helps with the rolling process. Another important element is sushi rice that’s been blended with either some Mirin (a sweet vinegar) or you can make your own sweet vinegar. This rice is sticky and holds together well. Don’t get too fussy about the rice variety. I use plain, old white rice. Once you understand how to roll the Maki, you’re ready to roll with the variety of ingredients that make this Japanese appetizer so good.
The steps involve the following progression:
- ·o make your sushi rice, cook the rice and in a large bowl, sprinkle with a 1/4 cup of Mirin or a sugar/white vinegar mixture. Turn and fan the rice as you incorporate the liquid.
- Spread a thin layer of rice on the Nori sheet as a band about 2 to 3inches wide about an inch from the bottom of the sheet of Nori. You’ll want to wet your fingertips so the rice doesn’t stick as you spread it across the Nori.
- Place your ingredients across the band.
- Carefully lift the bottom of the Sushi mat and fold the bottom of the Nori up and over the fillings. Use the mat to continue the rolling process. As you approach the end of the roll, wipe some water along the edge and complete the roll. Set it aside and do another one.
- Take each roll, and with a very sharp knife that’s been dipped in water – slowly slice back and forth across the tube to create a slice. Arrange them on a plate and serve.
Here’s a simple recipe that’s good for practice and tastes good too. It’s called Kappa Maki or Cucumber Roll.
1. Kappa Maki (Makes 4 rolls or 24 one inch servings)
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/4 cup of Mirin or 1/4 cup white vinegar mixed with 1 tsp sugar
1 peeled cucumber cut into elongated slices about 1/8 inch thick
4 cups water in a bowl (to moisten your fingers and seal the Nori)
Link to the video