sesame soy wrapper roll2

There are some foods that even the best chefs and home cooks prefer to leave to the experts in that genre. My guess is that sushi is one of them. Anyone who has watched the superb documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi knows how arduous the training can be for a sushi chef.

But like anything, even you aren’t going to be a master, you can still hone your skills and create something pretty delicious–and sushi rolls really are both accessible and delicious.

Making the rolls is relatively easy. You need short grain rice (I cooked up three cups with four cups of water) mixed with seasoned rice vinegar. And, you need wrappers. Traditionally, these are nori, thin, dried seaweed sheets. But my friend Mineko Moreno (who is a superb instructor in the art of sushi making) introduced me to colorful soy wrappers. The large package comes five sheets to a pack. As you can see, they also make beautiful hand rolls, but you can also use them to make traditional long rolls.

sushi wrappers

You’ll need fillings, too–these can be anything from shrimp, crab sticks, tuna, salmon, or other seafood, cooked or raw, to vegetables. Cucumbers, carrots, or daikon radishes are just some of the vegetables that, sliced into thin sticks, can work beautifully. Add fish roe, pickles, avocado slices, favorite sauces. The variations are only limited to your imagination.

sushi ingredients

And, you’ll need a sushi mat, which you’ll want to cover with plastic wrap to keep the roll from sticking.

Sushi mat

Now, you’re pretty well set. Of course, you could also add wasabi (the lovely hot green paste served with pickled ginger at your local sushi bar).

Get yourself organized with all your ingredients and then be creative. The wrappers go shiny side down on the mat, then you moisten your fingertips and press the seasoned rice uniformly on the mat, leaving about an inch empty along the top. In the middle of the rice, line up your filling.

Avocado, crab, shredded ginger roll in the making

Then, you’ll lift the bottom of the mat and carefully begin to fold over and roll your filled wrapper, pressing down gently but firmly when you’ve got it in a roll to seal the deal.

sesame soy wrapper roll

Carefully move the roll and place it on the counter or a large plate, sealed side down and let it rest about 10 minutes. Refrigerate the rolls until you’re ready to use them (hopefully soon). When you’re ready to serve, let them come to room temperature and cut them in half and then repeatedly in half until you have eight pieces. (Tip: Run the knife blade through water for each cut to keep the rice from sticking to it.)

Green and yellow rolls

These are only cut in half to give you an idea of what the center looks like. And, you can serve them with a citrus ponzu sauce, a Japanese dipping sauce made with soy, yuzu juice and dashi.

saffron shrimp and ginger roll

See? Easy. Perfect for catering. And, once you master this, you can create a sushi-making party and teach your clients’ guests. Set out a variety of fillings and let your guests create their own rolls under your guidance. It’s a fun departure from same old, same old cheese and crackers platter.

Do you have a favorite dish or area of specialization that you want to share? Leave a comment and we’ll be in touch!

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