Thick-Rolled Sushi (Futomaki Zushi)

This is an amalgam of recipes from various sources, two of which are Soei Yoneda's Good Food from a Japanese Temple and Junko Murayama's sushi recipe, presented at Healthy Living Supper Club here in Oxford. These sushi rolls do not keep well for longer than 24 hours. There's a good picture of these rolls with cucumber filling at citynight's Website. When you get better at making this sushi, you can do fancy shapes - as seen in this photo from the Sushi Maker Website.

If you can get special Japanese sticky rice, by all means use that; but pudding rice works well and tastes fine. My method of cooking sushi rice is not the usual one, but it works for me; try this if you've not had success with other methods. I use more vinegar than the two sources cited above - but then, I love vinegar. Use as much or as little of the sushi vinegar as suits your palate. For an authentic recipe, you should use rice wine vinegar; but a mild enough white wine or cider vinegar will do.

Serves 2-4, depending on how many dishes you serve

1. Rinse the rice, then cook, covered or uncovered, in plenty of water until soft and sticky. Add more boiling water during cooking, if required to stop it sticking to the pan. Drain rice - glutinous liquid will pour out. Don't rinse the rice to get rid of the residue - this helps it stick together. Turn the cooked rice into a wide bowl.

Note: I'm a recent convert to the idea of using a rice cooker. It's much less hassle, and seems to give rice that's easier to work with.

2. Make the sushi vinegar by mixing vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt to taste. While the rice is still hot, mix in the sushi vinegar. Leave to cool.

3. Meanwhile, prepare three filling ingredients of your choice, preferably of different colours.

4. To roll the sushi, you need something to put under the nori. Special bamboo mats are available, but I just use a teatowel, folded in four.

5. Assemble the sushi (see diagram if you've not done this before) - lay a sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the mat or towel, with the long sides to your left and right. Spread a thick layer of rice over the nori - you should use about half of it. Leave a 2 cm (½ inch) gap at the bottom and a 4 cm (1½ inch) gap at the top, but make sure the rice goes right to the left and right sides. Flatten the rice slightly. Place the fillings onto the rice in three thin strips.

6. Roll the sushi! (See rolling diagram). Roll up away from you, using the mat or towel to help you exert uniform pressure all along the roll (especially at the sides). The best way to start the roll is by aiming to make a fold that takes the bare end of the nori onto the rice just above the three filling strips. Take it easy, and don't panic. The bare end of nori at the top should stick to the roll due to the moisture from the rice coming through; but if it doesn't, just wet it slightly.

7. Repeat these two steps with the other nori sheet, and the other half of the rice.

8. To slice the rolls, first sharpen your knife. Then, lay one roll on a board, and slice into 2 cm (1 inch) - 4 cm (1½ inch) slices. Keep the knife slightly damp, and clean it between slices (the rice will stick to it). I find it helps to have a jug of water and a teatowel handy.

9. Lay the slices on their sides so you can see the pretty spiral and the colourful fillings. Arrange on plates, not too crowded. Serve with pickled ginger (gari) and dipping sauces. The gari is supposed to be eaten between bites of sushi, but sometimes I like to place it on top of a sushi slice. This sushi is thick enough that it's best eaten in more than one bite!


Kake's (Vegan) Cookery Site - http://www.earth.li/~kake/cookery/
This page added 17 Jul 1998 (last altered 1 Feb 1999) - comments and questions to Kake L Pugh (kake@earth.li).