This recipe has been modified

Want to impress, but can’t seem to roll sushi to save your life? Try temaki-zushi – literally, hand-rolled sushi. All you do is prepare the ingredients; your guests do all the rolling! Not only is this presentation attractive, it’s much easier to accomplish than sushi rolls, and best of all – your guests have an activity to do while you eat. They’ll do all the work, and you’ll get all the credit!

Hand-rolled cone with boiled shrimp, cucumber, and smelt roe


  • Sheets of nori (seaweed) cut into roughly 3 ½ – 4 inch squares
  • Sushi rice, cooled (not chilled)
  • Gu (fillings) of your choice, such as:
    • sashimi-quality raw seafood such as tuna, salmon, prawns, scallops, squid
    • cooked octopus, shrimp, crab meat
    • crab salad or tuna salad
    • fish roe, such as  ikura (salmon roe) tobiko],
    • vegetables like julienned cucumber, sliced avocado, shiso (perilla) herb, kaiware (daikon sprouts)
    • sliced plain omelette
  • Condiments: soy sauce, wasabi, Japanese mayonnaise, gari (pickled ginger)


  1. Prepare sushi rice and set aside, covered in plastic wrap or a moist (clean!) towel
  2. Prepare the “nori”. Lightly toast the nori pieces over a hot element (don’t burn yourself!) and cut the sheets into squares.
  3. Prepare the “gu” (filling) by cutting them into shapes and sizes that will fit into a small hand-rolled cone, and arrange artfully on a platter or in small bowls. Arrange platters strategically around the table, so everyone can reach everything they need to construct a roll.
  4. Put your guests to work. Give everyone individual plates, dipping dishes with soy sauce, and get rolling!

How to hand-roll:

  1. Put about 1 Tbsp of rice on a piece of nori and flatten it out.
  2. Squirt on a little mayo and arrange the fillings diagonally across the square
  3. Roll into a cone
  4. Artfully arrange the leftover ingredients carefully on top of a bed of rice for a lunch of chirashizushi (literally “scattered” sushi).

Clockwise from top left: avocado, shiso (perilla) herb, boiled shrimp, cucumber, squid, tuna, tobiko (flying fish roe - center)

A student takes home extra sushi ingredients as "chirashizushi"