In Japanese, sushi rolls are called nori-maki-zushi, “maki” meaning to roll. Thin sushi rolls (hoso-maki) are often vegetarian and typically contain just one filling; pickled daikon (takuan) and seasoned gourd (kampyo) are popular ingredients. Large sushi rolls (futo-maki) are made the same way as thin ones, using a whole sheet of nori, and usually contain multiple fillings. Rolls can be made an hour or two ahead of time, covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature, then cut as close to serving time as possible so the rice doesn’t dry out. If they are refrigerated the rice will harden and they’ll have an unpleasant texture.
4 sheets toasted nori (see notes)
4 cups prepared sushi rice
2 tablespoons wasabi paste, plus extra for serving
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and cut into thin strips
100g sashimi-grade tuna, cut into thin strips (see notes)
100g sashimi-grade salmon, cut into thin strips (see notes)
1 avocado, cut into strips
2 tablespoons tobiko (see notes)
2 tablespoons Japanese mayonnaise (see notes)
Pickled ginger, for serving
Japanese soy sauce, for serving
Fold each piece of nori in half lengthways, parallel with the lines marked on the rough side, and break in half. Place a half sheet horizontally on a bamboo mat about 2cm from the edge closest to you, shiny side down.
Fill a finger bowl with cold water. Dip your fingers into the water, shaking off the excess; this stops the rice sticking to your fingers. Pick up about ½ cup rice and spread across the centre of the nori. Dip both hands into vinegared water, shaking off excess, and gently ‘rake’ rice evenly over nori, leaving a 2cm strip with no rice on the side furthest from you. Build up a small mound of rice in front of the strip of uncovered nori to keep the filling in place.
Spread a little wasabi across the centre of the rice and top with strips of cucumber, making sure it extends to both ends of the nori. Using the index finger and thumb of both hands, pick up the edge of the bamboo mat nearest you, placing remaining fingers over the filling to keep it in place. Roll the mat forward, pressing gently but tightly, wrapping rice around the filling; the strip of nori without rice should still be visible. Press gently and continue rolling forward to complete the roll, with the seam of the seaweed on the bottom. Gently press the top and sides to make the roll slightly square-shaped.
Remove the mat and place the roll on a board with the seam facing down. Wipe a sharp knife with a damp cloth and cut roll in half. Pick up one half roll and turn it 180-degrees so both cut ends of the roll are at the same end. Slice through both rolls together, twice, to make 6 bite-sized pieces, wiping the knife on the damp cloth between each cut.
Repeat with 3 more half sheets of nori, making 1 more roll with cucumber and 2 with tuna.
Repeat with 2 whole sheets of nori using 1 cup of rice and salmon, avocado, tobiko and mayonnaise as the filling and cutting each roll into 8 pieces.
Arrange on a platter and serve with pickled ginger, soy sauce and extra wasabi.
Nori is dried seaweed; it’s usually sold toasted (yaki-nori) in packs of 10 sheets in Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets.
Sashimi-grade fish is normally sold trimmed, if it is not, trim off any skin and dark muscle and check for bones before cutting it.
Tobiko, flying fish roe, is available from some fishmongers. Japanese mayonnaise is available in squeeze bottles, under the Kewpie brand, in Asian grocery stores and some delicatessens and supermarkets, if unavailable use a whole-egg mayonnaise such as S&W.
Any sashimi-grade fish (such as Ocean Trout or Yellowtail Kingfish), cooked prawns.