Roll up for norimaki!

In Recipes on January 16, 2012 at 3:17 am

Japanese restaurants were once few and far between in Melbourne.  Now there is a sushi bar on every corner and nori rolls or norimaki are a common alternative to the sandwich as a lunch option.  Availability does not, however, guarantee quality.  Freshness is very important when making norimaki.  This is not only for reasons of taste but also to ensure food safety.  So, how do you avoid a nasty case of food poisoning when buying your norimaki?  Firstly, choose a food outlet that sells Japanese food exclusively, this should (hopefully) mean that they know what they are doing.  Secondly, choose a place that has a high turnover – you can usually do this by observing how many customers are there at peak times. If the place is always crowded then you know the turnover will be fairly high and therefore your norimaki should be fresh.

Another way to make sure your norimaki are fresh is to make your own at home.  They are not difficult and the fillings are only limited by your imagination, although I would advise sticking to Japanese ingedients.  If using fresh fish make sure it is so fresh that it is virtually still swimming and that the rolls are eaten pretty much immediately.  Other fillings you can use are tuna mayonnaise, avocado, teriyaki chicken, cucumber and carrot strips.  If using prawns make sure you cook them first.  This time, because I couldn’t find any fish that was fresh enough I just made avocado rolls and tuna mayonnaise rolls.

Norimaki or nori rolls


2 cups sushi rice

3 cups water

5 tbs Japanese rice wine vinegar

1 tbs mirin (optional)

2 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp salt

nori sheets

4 tbs Japanese or whole egg mayonnaise

185g  tin good quality tuna

2 spring onions (just the green party finely sliced)

1 ripe avocado (cut into thick strips, squeeze a little lemon juice over them to prevent them going brown)

1 continental cucumber and 1 carrot (both cut into thin strips)

wasabi paste

pickled ginger


Rinse the rice once and place in a heavy based saucepan that has a well fitting lid.  Add 3 cups of water, cover and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a low simmer and cook covered for approx. 20 mins or until all the water has been absorbed.  Turn off heat, fluff with a fork and allow to stand for 10 mins.  Turn into a wooden or glass bowl, add rice wine vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt.  Gently fold these flavours through with a wooden or rubber spatula, mix well but try to avoid breaking the rice up too much.  When cooled to room temperature it is ready to use – if not using straight away cover with cling film and store in the refrigerator.  Try to use the rice on the day you made it.

To make the tuna mayonnaise mix the drained tuna with 2 tbs of the mayonnaise an the sliced spring onions.  To make wasbabi mayonnaise mix 1-2 tsp wasabi paste with 2 tbs mayonnaise.

To make your rolls you will need a bamboo sushi mat, a bowl of water your nori sheets, rice and filling.  Over a low gas flame gently pass your nori sheet over the jet once or twice, do not burn.  Place the sheet shiny side down on your bamboo mat.  Wet your hands and gently press a layer of rice onto the nori sheet leaving a 1cm edge on the part furthest from you.  Place chosen filling down the middle of the rice.

Place chosen ingredients down the middle of the rice

Gently begin to roll, tucking the filling in as you go, use the bamboo mat to help you.  Wet the 1cm edge of the nori and continue to roll until it has come together.  Apply gentle pressure with your hands around the bamboo mat until your roll is well melded – don’t press too hard or you will squeeze the filling out.

Your roll should look like this

To cut into even pieces cut in half, then quarters, then eighths.  Arrange on a plate and serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.

The finished norimaki

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