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Experience The Fun Of Temakizushi With Your Family

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Thanks to Mr. Fujii’s trick, now I can make a handroll
that looks as good as the one in a sushi restaurant.


Traditionally in Japan, “temakizushi” (hand roll sushi) has always been a fun way for the whole family to enjoy a hands-on dinnertime together, especially if you have young children. I remember when I was a kid growing up in Japan, this was one of my favorite things to make and eat, because I loved the fact that I could come up with my own combination of goodies. Basically anything goes in temakizushi, but my favorite ingredients were things like salmon, hamachi (yellowtail), ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin), amaebi (sweet shrimp), unagi(eel), tempura, crab meat, and all sorts of vegetables like kaiware (sprouted daikon radish seed) and shiso leaves(basil-like Japanese herb). I had a habit of being over ambitious, and the handroll would often explode before it reached my mouth. Needless to say, it created a huge mess that I was responsible for cleaning up, but still the young food lover in me was as happy as can be.

It had been a while since I made temakizushi at home, and I like to think I have a bit more self-control nowadays, so when Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese grocery store in NJ, was having a temakizushi demonstration last month, I just had to pay a visit. From ingredients to kitchen utensils, you can buy anything necessary for temakizushi at Mitsuwa.  Once I got there, I learned that the person who’d be demonstrating would be Mr. Shigeaki Fujii from Takaokaya, an established nori (dried seaweed) production company that’s been in business for over one hundred years. What a treat! According to Mr. Fujii, when it comes to nori, the blacker the better. The rough side is the backside of the nori, and is the side where you want to put the rice on when you are making temakizushi. But before we even get to that stage, we must make rice, as rice for sushi and temakizushi alike is prepared in a special way.

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The key to making a pretty temakizushi is
to spread out the rice thinly and evenly only on half of the nori.

Traditionally, sushi rice is made with rice that’s been seasoned mainly with vinegar and sugar. Today, there are many products out there that makes this step a bit easier, such as vinegar made especially for sushi rice making. At the demonstration, a package of Sushitaro, a  product for chirashizushi, was used to make the sushi rice, which was ingenious. The ingredients to go inside the temakizushi are also often sold pre-sliced and assorted, making the whole process easy on moms. But like I said, anything goes, and you can feel free to experiment with other ingredients that do not come in a regular temakizushi set.

The rice is then cooled off to room temperature, in a wooden container, for easy handling. You may have seen sushi chefs fanning the rice. This is not only to cool the rice, but also to create luster. Once you have the rice and ingredients ready, all you have to do is pick your favorite ingredients and roll them.

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The ideal length of ingredients is about 4-inches. You can choose
the thickness to your liking, but beware of being too ambitious!

Under Mr. Fujii’s supervision, I started making my own temakizushi for the first time in five years. First a regular size nori is cut in half. A small handful of rice is placed only on half of it. Then the ingredients are placed diagonally on top of the rice, which were in this case, shiso leaves, kanikama (fake crab meat), kaiware, and mayonnaise. While I placed my ingredients, I was immediately told, it was too much, and that’s when I made the unfortunate discovery that the greediness in me had not changed much… Then folding the corner of the nori, you roll it up so that a cone shape is created, and voila, it’s ready to eat. When something this simple can bring your whole family and friends together, how could you not do it? It could even be the perfect alternative to BBQ this summer!

——– Reported by Maya Robinson

Mitsuwa Marketplace
595 River Rd., Edgewater, NJ 07020
TEL: 201-941-9113
www.mitsuwa.com / newjersey@mitsuwa.com
Takaokaya USA, Inc.
5600 Bickett St., Los Angeles, CA 90058 USA
TEL: 323-269-9810 / www.takaokayausa.com