Medium Sized rolls with Rice on the Inside and Nori on the Outside

Chumaki Philadelphia Roll

Chumaki is the slightly larger cousin of the Hosomaki roll, usually contains 2 or 3 ingredients and are about 1 1/2" in diameter when assembled. 

This size is actually the easiest for most people to roll because there is more diameter to "grip", but not too much to grip. And it also helps that there is a 2 1/2 inch bare nori strip at the farthest edge left to seal the roll, which is the most of any roll.

I don't know why, but the name reference of "Chumaki" to this medium sized rice inside nori roll is not used or found very often even on the internet even though this 2 or 3 ingredient roll is made thousands of times a day in sushi bars all across America.

Go figure...

Well, at least now you know.

Keep in mind that you can use this recipe to duplicate a sushi roll that you had at a sushi bar if it passes the chumaki roll test:

1. It was about 1 1/2 inches in diameter

2. It had 2 to 3 ingredients in it. Maybe even 4 if the diameter was still around 1 1/2 inches.

Just try to note what ingredients and condiments it had in it so you can duplicate it later.

And without further ado, let's see how to make this bad boy...

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How to make a Chumaki Roll

Chumaki Philadelphia Roll


Sushi Rice (this will yield 4 cups of rice and this recipe 4 rolls)

(Try to buy a high quality Japanese short grain white rice if you can)

Sushi Nori

Ingredients for filling 

Condiment like imitation wasabi, real wasabi or Japanese mayonaisse


Bamboo Sushi Mat

To demonstrate making a chumaki roll for this example we will be making a smoked salmon roll. It is more commonly known as a Philadelphia roll. The ingredients that we will be needed for this are: 

Chumaki Philadelphia roll ingredients on a plate

1 - 8oz package of Philadelphia brand cream cheese sliced into 3/8 inch matchsticks

2 green onions finely minced

4 oz sushi grade cold smoked salmon (sliced into 3/8 matchsticks) (or regular salmon if you prefer or don't have the smoked salmon)

1 salt-scrubbed english, hot house or Japanese cucumber sliced into slivers


Full sheet on nori on sushi mat makisu

1. This roll is made by laying a full 8 x 7 inch sheet on a bamboo sushi mat with the 8 inch side closest to you. Leave about 3 or 4 slats showing on the side closest to you to help you roll it better.

Measuring 1 cup rice for chumaki roll
1 cup of rice on nori for chumaki roll

2. One of the best ways that I have found to make your chumaki rolls a consistent size is by measuring your rice each time. Take your 1 cup measure and moisten the inside with vinegared water so that the rice will not stick. Shake out any excess. Then measure out 1 cup of rice and put it on your nori sheet. Refer to the pictures above.

dipping fingers in vinegared water
Tapping fingers on towel to remove excess vinegared water

3. Dip your hands in vinegared water (1/4 cup rice vinegar + 1 cup water) and tap your fingers on a folded damp rung-out towel to remove any excess water.

Sushi rice spread on nori for chumaki roll
Showing 2 and 1/2 inches nori visible for chumaki roll

4. Spread 1 cup rice over the entire sheet coming to the edges on the right, left and closest to you but leaving about a 2 1/2" strip along the 8 inch side farthest away from you.

Spreading wasabi on rice for chumaki roll

5. Spread your wasabi or a condiment across the center of the rice if you are using any.

Adding cream cheese for chumaki roll
Adding green onions to chumaki roll

6. Spread a row of cream cheese strips across the center of the rice on top of the condiment if you used any.

7. Sprinkle cream cheese with green onions. 

Adding smoked salmon to chumaki roll
Adding cucumber to chumaki roll

8. Lay a row of salmon on the other side of the cream cheese on the side farthest from you.

9. Now lay a row of slivered cucumber on the other side of the cream cheese on the side closest to you.

First step in rolling chumaki roll

10. Lift the edge of the mat closest to you with both hands by putting your thumbs under the mat and while lifting up, use your fingers to hold the fillings in place.

Second step in rolling chumaki roll
Stop when mat touches down on far side

11. Keep rolling, while pressing the fillings into the rice and stop when the mat touches straight down on the far edge of the rice. Make sure the exposed nori is still visible.

Now tighten roll in the center of chumaki roll
Now tighten roll on the left side
Now tighten roll on the right side

12. Tighten up this part of the roll by pulling the mat covered part of the roll with your left hand while also tugging 3 times on the free edge of the mat with your right hand; once in the center, once on the left and once on the right.

Unroll the sushi mat to show finished chumaki roll

13. Now, continue to roll until the exposed part of the nori has been rolled under. Hold it still for a little bit to allow the roll to seal. 

Slice chumaki roll in the center first
Now place 2 halves next to each other and slice again in the middle
Slice these pieces in half one more time for 8 total pieces

14. Wipe your sashimi knife on your damp vinegared towel so that it won't stick, and slice the roll exactly in the middle (left picture). Take the 2 pieces and lay them side by side and slice in the center again (middle picture). Finally, slice each remaining piece in the middle one more time (rightmost picture) making 8 total pieces.

Chumaki Philadelphia Roll

Slap yourself on the back for a job well done!

Get some wasabi, ginger and some green tea or beer and enjoy.

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David Guthrie, EzineArticles Basic Author