The Temaki Sushi
"Hand Roll"

Spicy tuna hand roll in a tea cup
Temaki roll

The Temaki roll is form of Maki roll that is made in a shape similar to an ice cream cone, with its ingredients literally almost spilling out of the top.

It is a perfect dinner party appetizer, and can be a fun and interactive activity for guests when they are allowed to roll their own sushi roll.

The host can provide the pre-cut nori sheets and a variety of fillings and condiments, demonstrate proper construction and rolling technique and then let the fun begin!

Coupled with pre-dinner cocktails, laughter and merriment are sure to follow.

The temaki roll is also perfect for family night dinners. All you need is to prepare the sushi rice and your favorite sliced meats and vegetables, like tuna, crab, avocado, cucumber, and maybe some seasoned shitake mushrooms and dinner is served!

With a small bowl of miso soup this meal is a very healthy alternative to normal standard american dinner fare.

A temaki roll really should not be pre-made and left to sit before eating. Rather, it needs to be eaten quickly as the nori softens and loses its crispness, making it more difficult to bite the longer you wait.

And toasted nori is usually used to make this roll, but it is normally toasted yet again before assembling to bring back the crispiness of the nori.

This can be done by lightly dragging it a few times across an oven heating element or gas heat set on its lowest setting. But be careful! It is very easy to burn nori if you get it too close to the heat or move it too slowly across it.

How to make a Temaki Hand Roll

Spicy Tuna hand roll


Sushi Rice (this will yield 4 cups of rice and this recipe 16 rolls. Cut the sushi rice recipe in half if this is going to be too many hand rolls)

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

Sushi Nori

Ingredient(s) for filling

Any condiments desired like imitation wasabi or real wasabi 


Bamboo Sushi Mat

To demonstrate making a temaki roll, we will be making a spicy tuna hand roll.  The remaining ingredients besides the ones above that we will need for this roll are: 

Slicing 1/4 inch slabs off of a block of tuna...
Stacking the slabs and slicing them into 1/4 inch matchsticks...
Dicing the matchsticks...

4 oz. Sashimi grade Tuna cut in 1/4 inch cubes or minced.

(In the leftmost picture above, we are slicing 1/4 inch slabs of tuna using the "straight cut". In the middle picture, stacking the slabs to make 1/4 inch matchsticks. In the rightmost picture, dicing the matchsticks into 1/4 inch squares. You can also mince the tuna if you prefer).

Spicy Tuna sauce

How to make the Spicy Tuna sauce


2 Tbsp Japanese or Regular Mayonaisse

2 Tbsp finely minced green onions

2 Tbsp Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

1 tsp hot sesame oil (rayu), or to taste


Combine all the ingredients for the spicy tuna sauce
Mixed spicy tuna sauce

Combine mayonnaise, green onions, hot chili sauce and hot sesame oil in a bowl and mix well. 

Combine and mix the tuna and the spicy tuna sauce...cover and refrigerate until ready to use...

Add the diced tuna to the spicy tuna sauce. Cover and store in refrigerator until you are ready to use in your hand roll.

Preparing the Temaki Hand Roll

Bending the nori sheet on the 8 inch side to make two 4x7 inch sheets...
Bending the sheet the other way to help break the nori...
Final separation of nori creating two 4x7 inch sheets...

1. Start by taking a 8 x 7 inch sheet of Nori and cut it with scissors into a 4 x 7 sheet or fold the sheet in half on the 8 inch side so that you end up with two 4 x 7 inch sheets.

In the leftmost picture above, I am bending the nori sheet over on the 8 inch side. When the left edge is even, I take my right hand and pinch up and down the right edge.

Next, in the middle picture the nori is folded back the other way to help make the break.

In the rightmost picture, the final separation is made. 

Passing nori sheet over stove eye set on low to make it crispy again...

2. Now that you have all of your 4 x 7 sheets ready, we need to retoast them. If you bought good quality sushi nori it should say that it is toasted or roasted. But for a hand roll, the nori has to be reroasted to get it back to being very crispy. That is one of the key requirements for a good hand roll or it will be difficult to bite off the nori.

This is best done with a gas eye on a stove, but it can be done on an electric eye too. You'll get the hang of it, but don't be surprised if you either burn or wrinkle up a few sheets along the way to the point of being unusable. 

Anyway, set your flame or element to the lowest setting. Now pass your nori sheet back and forth over the heat source about 6 or 8 inches above it for 5 to 10 seconds.

You will see and feel the nori kind of "tighten" and "crisp up". 

Set it to the side and do your remaining nori sheets.

Measuring 1/4 cup of rice...

3. Dip a 1/4 cup measure into your vinegared water and shake out the excess. Scoop up a 1/4 cup of sushi rice. 

Place nori sheet in left hand and put 1/4 cup rice on it...
Spread the rice from the top left corner down at a right diagonal direction...

4. Place the sheet of Nori (shiny side down) in the open left palm (if right handed) and place the sushi rice in the top left corner of the nori sheet.

Dip your right hand in the vinegared water (1/4 cup rice vinegar + 1 cup water), shake off the excess and then spread the sushi rice toward the center of the nori sheet on the bottom in an oval shape in a right diagonal direction when spreading the rice down. See pictures above.

5. Add a swipe of wasabi or any other desired condiment across the rice if desired.

Add your spicy tuna mixture...

6. Place the ingredients in the center of the rice so that they point to the top left corner of the nori. 

Lift the lower left corner of the sheet and pull toward the top right corner while at the same time rolling it over....

7. Now, lift the lower left corner of the sheet and pull toward the top right corner while at the same time rolling it over.

Continue rolling until a cone shape is formed...

8. Continue rolling until a cone shape is formed. Eat quickly to enjoy the crispness of the freshly toasted nori!

Finished spicy tuna hand roll....

And there you have it. Temaki Sushi 101 completed.

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David Guthrie, EzineArticles Basic Author