Makizushi (Rolled Sushi)

Like nigirizushi, makizushi requires practice to achieve optimum results. You should have all the necessary ingredients, fillings and utensils to hand before you begin. You will need a makisu or bamboo sushi-rolling mat. Here we demonstrate futomaki, or thick rolls, but the process is almost identical for hosomaki, or thin rolls, except that the quantities and fillings differ.


  • Approximately 100g sushi rice for each hosomaki roll, and 200g for each futomaki roll.
  • Toasted nori

Toasted nori sheets are usually a standard size of 20 x 20cm. For futomaki, these can be used as they are, but for hosomaki, they should be cut in half.


  • Tamago (omelette) cut into thin strips
  • Unagi (grilled eel) cut into thin strips
  • Kyuri (cucumber) cut into sticks
  • Kampyo (gourd shavings) cut into ribbons



  1. Place the makisu on a chopping boad and place a sheet of toasted nori on the makisu, ensuring that the shiny, toasted side is facing down.
  2. Pick up around 200g of cooked sushi rice, gathering it together lightly with both hands. Be sure to always wet your hands with tezu (vinegared hand dipping water) before you handle the rice.
  3. Carefully spread a layer of sushi rice over the surface of the nori, to an even thickness of about 9mm, leaving a slight gap at the edge farthest away from you. Dab a little tezu on the exposed nori at the far side of the sheet.
  4. Make a slight groove in the centre of the rice, and place the filling in this groove. Ensure fillings are free of excess moisture. In the case of futomaki, lay out the fillings side by side in the centre of the rice.
  5. Carefully begin rolling the makisu from the edge nearest you, using your fingers to keep the fillings in place. Press down tightly and evenly, but not so tightly that the rice and filling comes out the sides.
  6. When the makisu has almost completely enveloped the sushi, pull out the end of the mat so that it is not rolled up in the sushi. Holding the makisu around the sushi, pull the other end of the mat gently.
  7. Gently press the sides of the roll with the fingers of your hand to flatten, and carefully remove the makisu from around the sushi.
  8. Cut the roll in half using a sharp knife that has been dipped in tezu. Then place the two halves next to each other, and cut into thirds. When cutting the completed makizushi, move the knife back and forward with a steady sawing motion.


The most typical fillings for hosomaki are maguro (tuna), kyuri (cucumber) and kampyo (dried gourd shavings). Maguro and kyuri should be cut into thin strips. Kampyo should be reconstituted by soaking in water for one hour, then cooked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, before simmering for a further 5-10 minutes in dashi, with sugar, soy sauce and a pinch of salt added. For futomaki, a number of fillings are generally combined, including kampyo, kyuri, tamago and others.

Ensure that the sushi rice and fillings are both at about room temperature. The rice is difficult to work with if it is cooler than this, and if the rice and fillings are at different temperatures, they will not combine together well.