Temaki means “hand rolled” or “rolling by hand”, which is exactly what happens when you make temaki sushi. Each dinner guest rolls their sheet of roasted seaweed into a cone shape full of their choice of fillings.
This is a great dish for a fun, healthy and relatively easy meal together which can cater for a range of food tastes. Most of the fillings can be prepared in advance. Prepare some rice, some chopped raw vegetables, some protein such as chicken, fish or egg, and a tasty sauce. Set it all out on the table with some nori sheets when it’s time to serve and everyone can help themselves with the bits and pieces they like.
Some of the ingredients are uniquely Japanese style sauces and extras. We usually have them in our pantry, but I realise not everyone does. I have found everything in my local supermarkets, and I find they are useful staples for many Japanese style dishes. The ingredients you will need are things such as:
- Soy sauce
- Nori sheets – dried, roasted seaweed sold in packets in large squares
- Japanese mayonnaise
- The right kind of rice – you can use short grain sushi rice but medium grain is fine and more economical
- Mirin (optional – for the egg)
- Rice wine vinegar (also optional)
This is how you put it all together:
1. Protein options
Choose two or more of the following:
- Chicken – poach a chicken breast gently for 8-10 minutes in stock or water with seasonings such as ginger, lemon juice, a little soy, salt and pepper. Allow to cool then slice into thin strips and keep cool until needed. If you have the equipment, chicken cooked sous vide works very well here, too.
- Prawns – purchase cooked prawns, shell and devein them and store in the fridge until needed
- Egg – in a bowl, mix 4 eggs with 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon mirin (optional), and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Pour into a large pan and allow the egg mixture to spread all over the surface of the pan. After a couple of minutes and as the egg starts to cook, lift the edges and fold them in to create a rolled omelette. Keep folding over the edges and flip the roll until the egg is cooked through. Slide onto a cutting board/plate and slice the roll into thin strips.
- Tuna – drain a small can of tuna and put it into a bowl. Stir through 1 tablespoon Japanese mayonnaise.
- Tofu – either gently fry strips of firm tofu in a little oil, or cut strips of tofu puffs.
Place on a serving platter or in bowls to serve.
2. Vegetable options
Cut into sticks or small strips a colourful mix of seasonal vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, capsicum (peppers), snow peas, and avocado.
Slice mushrooms and fry gently in a little oil with chopped parsley and some black pepper, allow to cool.
Place all chopped vegetables on a serving dish, or in serving bowls.
3. The rice
Use 2 – 3 cups of short or medium grain white rice.
Cook the rice using your preferred method, close to the time when you plan to serve. Once cooked, pour into a large bowl or container. Use a rice scoop or large spoon to cut through the rice, stirring gently while it cools a little. Stir through 1-2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar to taste (this is optional, it helps preserve the rice as it cools). Serve at room temperature.
4. The sauce
- 4 tablespoons Japanese mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- a little black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl to serve.
5. Nori sheets
Nori sheets are large squares of dried, roasted seaweed. They are ready to eat straight out of the pack, just set them on the table when ready to serve.
Serve with miso soup on the side. If you like, allow people to help themselves to extras like soy sauce, wasabi, or Japanese mayonnaise.
This dish can easily be served gluten free by substituting the soy sauce for gluten free soy or tamari. It is also easy to make it vegetarian by leaving out the meat and seafood options, and perhaps adding a couple of different types of vegetables of your choice to keep it interesting.
A gluten and dairy free alternative to the sauce is a mix of half an avocado, 1 teaspoon of mustard and 1 tablespoon of lemon. Mash the avocado and combine well with the mustard and the lemon juice. Add a little pepper if you like.
You can easily multiply the quantities to suit your crowd. In many ways this is a perfect dish for a crowd, as you can easily cater for a variety of tastes since people can choose their own fillings. Also, you can prepare most of it in advance. It could be a tricky one to take anywhere with all the bits and pieces, and probably works best when you are all sitting around the one table and passing the dishes around. So, this dish best suits a crowd when it is at your house and a small enough group to sit around a table (or two) together.
Big thanks to our recent exchange student from Hiroshima for making this dish for us and for sharing the special sauce recipe.