Temaki rolls are simple to make—no special sushi mat or knife needed, though it takes practice to roll them just right. Keep the rice warm in a rice cooker and have everyone gather around the table to roll and eat as they go. –Gretchen Roberts
Wine, beer and sake recommendations: If enjoying your sushi with beer, as the Japanese generally do, choose a crisp, light lager or pilsner, or a pale ale that’s low in hops. If you’re going with wine, most sushi calls for a clean, crisp, unoaked white. Sparkling wine like the 2006 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs or a zippy Sauvignon Blanc like Brancott’s “B” Series 2008 will enhance the freshness of raw fish and cleanse the palate. Salmon, tuna, steak and other meaty fillings are delicious with a rich but light Pinot Noir like the WillaKenzie Estate Pierre Leon 2006, and buttery fillings like crab and lobster go well with a buttery California Chardonnay, such as Lander-Jenkins’ Spirit Hawk Chardonnay 2008.
Sake? Gauntner recommends sampling any of the rolls with Ama No To “Heaven’s Door” Tokubetsu Junmai Sake or Sougen Junmai Gingo Sake.
- For the hand rolls:
- 3 cups cooked sushi rice
- 10 nori (seaweed) sheets, cut in half
- Cowboy roll: grilled beef tenderloin, red onion strips, blue cheese, baby spinach
- Tuna roll: sushi-grade tuna, avocado, cucumber
- Asparagus roll: roasted asparagus, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts
- Salmon roll: smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber
For the fillings: Griffith and Cole both recommend paying attention to textures and tastes when choosing filling combinations. For example, if you’re doing a salmon roll, add creamy avocado and crunchy cucumbers to create salty, crunchy, and creamy flavors and textures all in onebite. Cut fillings into short, thin strips of about 4 by 1⁄4 inches.
For the sushi rice: Cook 3 cups of short-grain white sushi rice according to package directions in a rice cooker or on the stovetop. Spread rice evenly in a large glass pan or rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a mixture of ½ cup rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to coat evenly. Return rice to pan and keep warm.
To make the rolls: Dip your fingers into a finger bowl with a splash of vinegar and scoop out about 2 tablespoons of rice (less is more—you want the rice to be about two grains thick, with a ratio of 1⁄3 rice to 2⁄3 fillings). Roll the rice around in your right palm to form a loose oblong shape.
Lay a half sheet of nori in your left palm and gently press the rice oblong down the left half of the nori all the way to the edges. Place 1–2 strips of each filling on the rice in a vertical line, letting the tops extend out of the top of the roll.
To roll, shift the nori sheet into both palms. With your left hand, pull the lower left corner of the nori toward the middle of the sheet. Tuck the corner under the ingredients. Continue rolling the nori in a spiral motion to form a cone shape. Serve immediately.