What is Maki Sushi Roll?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Maki is a type of sushi roll that includes toasted seaweed nori rolled around vinegar-flavored rice and various fillings, including raw seafood and vegetables.

What Does Maki Mean

Two futomaki rolls.
Two futomaki rolls.

The word maki means “roll.” There are a variety of types, including uramaki which is complex and may sometimes require the attention of a skilled chef. Others such as temaki are very easy to make, and frequently eaten at home and at social gatherings.

What is a Maki Sushi Roll

Maki sushi comes in several varieties, depending on how thick the roll is and how the roll is constructed. The most common form is hosomaki.

Hosomaki

A temaki cone.
A temaki cone.

These thin rolls are made by making a small strip of sushi rice and one or two ingredients along one edge of a sheet of nori and then rolling it up tightly to form a slender roll. The roll is then cut into small pieces before serving, often alongside other types of sushi. Common cucumber rolls, carrot rolls, and tuna rolls are common types of hosomaki.

Futomaki

Hosomaki rolls underneath an uramaki roll.
Hosomaki rolls underneath an uramaki roll.

Futomaki, which means “fat roll,” is usually made with multiple ingredients, and can be as much as 1.5 inches (about 4 cm) in diameter. It's often vegetarian, and commonly includes ingredients like sprouts, fried eggs, and daikon radish. Like hosomaki, it's also usually sliced to more bite-sized pieces, although it may be served as long, uncut cylinders, especially at some traditional festivals.

Uramaki

Nigiri sushi generally uses much less seaweed, if any, than maki sushi.
Nigiri sushi generally uses much less seaweed, if any, than maki sushi.

Uramaki is an inside out roll, meaning that the sushi rice is on the outside. Nori is covered with sushi rice and then flipped over. The fillings are added and the maki is rolled up. The roll may then be dipped in, or topped with, garnishes like sesame seeds or fish roe. This type of maki is more common outside of Japan, and includes the well-known California and Philadelphia rolls.

Temaki

Daikon is often used in a maki sushi known as futomaki.
Daikon is often used in a maki sushi known as futomaki.

Temaki is a sushi roll formed in the shape of a cone. Nori sheets are cut in half so that a small pile of sushi rice and fillings can be made on one corner. Then the nori is tightly rolled in a conical shape which can easily be held by hand while it is dipped into an assortment of sauces, including soy sauce and wasabi, and eaten. These hand rolls are a more casual type of sushi, and also have a fun visual appearance, with ingredients overflowing from the cone like a cornucopia.

Because of the wide variety of sushi roll choices, you may choose to make your own maki sushi at home. The typical filling can include avocado, cucumber, shrimp, imitation crab, or other endless possibilities. The filling is usually placed on rice that has been spread over a nori sheet. Sometimes, the rice is on the outside, like in a urakami roll.

How to Make Maki Sushi

First, you need to decide what type of roll you would like to make. Would you like the rice on the outside like a urakami roll or the inside of the nori like a futomaki or temaki? Would you like to make your roll vegetarian or would you like to include meat like shrimp or crab? Once you decide on your ingredients, you will need to get a bamboo sushi mat and any sides that you would like to go with your maki sushi, like pickled ginger, spicy mayo, or wasabi.

Then, you will need to prepare your sushi rice. Once the sushi rice is ready, place a nori sheet onto the bamboo sushi mat. Then spread the rice onto the nori sheet and either flip it over for a urakami roll or begin to add your fillings for the other types of rolls. You may need to moisten your hands to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. Leave a half-inch to one-inch space at the top of the nori sheet. For a temaki roll, only cover half of the nori sheet with the rice and toppings. If you’re making a urakami roll, add your fillings to the nori sheet, rice-covered side face down. Once you have added your fillings, you are ready to roll the sushi maki.

How to Roll Sushi Maki

If you decide to make a temaki roll, you do not need a bamboo mat. If you are using a bamboo mat to make any of the other varieties of rolls, you can begin by placing your thumbs under the edge of the bamboo mat that is closest to you. Then slowly pull up to wrap the bamboo mat around the maki sushi, pressing gently to make sure the maki sushi holds well. When the nori ends meet, wrap the bamboo mat around again to seal the nori. You can use the bamboo mat to shape the roll into a square or round shape. Once you have shaped the roll, wet a large knife and cut the roll in the middle. Line up the halves and cut the roll into eighths.

How to Roll Temaki

If you decide to make a temaki roll, you will not need a bamboo mat or knife to cut the roll. Once you have your nori sheet half-covered in rice and your fillings, then you can prepare to roll the temaki roll into its classic cone shape. Hold the nori in your hand and gently fold the nori around itself and the fillings of the roll. Fold the nori around itself creating a cone-shaped roll. To keep the nori together, take one grain of sticky rice and place it between the two surfaces of the nori. This will keep the nori in place and the cone shape intact. While maki sushi requires rolling, sashimi does not because of the primary differences between sushi and sashimi.

What is the Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi?

Sushi is considered by some to be anything that is bite-sized and accompanied by sushi rice. This can include vegetarian rolls like avocado rolls or rolls with meat, like California rolls. Sashimi is usually made with certain meats, whether it’s high-quality seafood or another type of meat. Sashimi is made by placing thinly sliced raw fish or meat on top of rice. Sometimes, sashimi is served with a side of soy sauce but typically nothing else.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

lori43

Yeah, I love sushi buffets! They are a really good way for beginners to try a range of different types of sushi from maki to nigiri for a decent price. Most “gourmet” sushi and Japanese restaurants charge a lot more for a few rolls of sushi. So, I would definitely recommend these places if you are looking to try a better range of sushi.

klo

In California in particular, a new trend is dining trend is taking hold. Sushi buffets are popping up everywhere. The prices often range from $10.99 to $19.99. The quality of the food is usually reflected in the price, but this is not always the case. The best place I’ve been to offers the option of sitting at the bar, where the sushi chefs take your order directly from you and make it very quickly. I would recommend this option if possible because the service is usually better.

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    • Two futomaki rolls.
      By: BlueOrange Studio
      Two futomaki rolls.
    • A temaki cone.
      By: Radu Razvan
      A temaki cone.
    • Hosomaki rolls underneath an uramaki roll.
      By: creative soul
      Hosomaki rolls underneath an uramaki roll.
    • Nigiri sushi generally uses much less seaweed, if any, than maki sushi.
      Nigiri sushi generally uses much less seaweed, if any, than maki sushi.
    • Daikon is often used in a maki sushi known as futomaki.
      By: posh
      Daikon is often used in a maki sushi known as futomaki.