Makizushi (Japanese Sushi Rolls)

All About Versions, Variations and How to Make Makizushi

Maki Sushi on plate
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Makizushi is a type of Japanese sushi roll filled with various fillings. The term makizushi refers to the fact that the sushi is rolled, where "maki", means "to roll" and "zushi" is the conjugated version of the word "sushi". Makizushi is the most well-known type of sushi outside of Japan.

Makizushi are also referred to "nori maki" or "norimaki", because the sushi rice and fillings are all wrapped up, or rolled inside roasted dried seaweed, or "nori" as it is referred to it in Japanese cuisine.

Makizushi and norimaki are often used interchangeably as a general category for sushi rolls, and can also refer to larger or fatter sushi rolls, such as futomaki.

On the other hand, thin sushi rolls are referred to as "hosomaki" or thin sushi rolls. Typically, thin hosomaki style sushi rolls have only one filling ingredient. 

Versions and Variations of Makizushi

Some classic and popular versions of thin makizushi sushi rolls include:

  • Tekka-maki (raw tuna sashimi rolls)
  • Kappa-maki (cucumber rolls)
  • Shinko-maki (takuan, yellow pickled daikon rolls)

Other variations of makizushi sushi rolls include:

  • Raw salmon sashimi and cream cheese rolls
  • Shibazuke rolls (eggplant pickled with shiso)

To make makizushi, sushi rice and various ingredients are rolled in nori (dried seaweed) then sliced into bite-sized pieces, perfect for eating sushi in one small bite. It's the perfect finger food! Makizushi is often dipped in soy sauce, and served with wasabi (Japanese spicy horseradish) and pickled ginger known as "gari shoga".

Makizushi is perfect for appetizers or finger food at parties or potlucks. In Japan, it is often prepared for celebrations. Versions of makizushi with vegetable or pickle fillings may also be included in a Japanese bento lunch. Canned tuna, vegetables and eggs may also be used as fillings. In the refrigerated deli section of supermarkets in Japan, pre-made makizushi is often available.

Today, in Japanese grocery stores across the United States, and other countries as well, pre-made makizushi is also being sold.

Tips for Making Makizushi

  1. Use pre-made dried sushi rice mixes available in packets.
  2. Use pre-made, bottled and seasoned sushi vinegar available for sale at Japanese grocery stores.

The inside of the makizushi should just be rice, no seaweed. To ensure this, when you put the rice onto the seaweed, don’t place it directly in the middle. You need to leave about a 5-millimeter gap between the rice and seaweed on one side and then on the other has to be about a 3-centimeter gap. You should also layer the rice about 5 millimeters thick and flatten it out so the rice on the ends is slightly thicker than the middle.

Article Edited by Judy Ung