Hand-rolled sushi recipe

February 19, 2020 8:42:29 AM

“Hand-rolls are quick and easy to make and do not require any specialist equipment,” says Kimiko Barber.

Fancy making some sushi yourself at home? Here’s how to give it a go…

Hand-rolled sushi from Japanese in 7 by Kimiko Barber

(Makes 8 hand-rolls)

4 sheets of Nori, halved
400g prepared sushi rice (recipe below)
4 spoons wasabi paste
200g fish of your choice, cut into 6-7cm long, pencil-sized strips
200g vegetables such as cucumber, avocado, blanched carrot, fine green beans, cut into 6-7cm long thin strips, rocket or mustard cress

For the sushi rice:
(Makes 800–840g)

400g short-grain rice
1 postcard-sized piece of dried kelp
6tbsp + 1tsp sushi vinegar (info below)

For the sushi vinegar:
Sushi vinegar is a blend of rice vinegar with sugar and salt. There is a huge range of different formulas and each sushi bar jealously guards their secret recipe. But the most general guide is, using the dry weight of rice as the base measure, 10% of vinegar, 5% of sugar and 1% of salt as shown below.
(Adjust the amount of sugar or salt as preferred)
200g rice
220ml water
20ml rice vinegar
10g sugar
1/2tsp salt

Hand rolled sushi from Japanese in 7 by Kimiko Barber (Kyle Books/Emma Lee/PA)


1. Make the sushi rice. Wash the rice under cold running water, drain and set aside for 30 minutes–one hour to let it absorb the moisture.

2. Put the washed rice and 440ml of water in a heavy-based saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Make some slashes in the kelp to release more flavour and place it on top of the rice, then wait for 10–15 minutes before turning on the heat. Cover, bring to the boil over a high heat and, when it just begins to boil, remove and discard the kelp. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for six to seven minutes, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12–15 minutes, or until steam stops escaping. Turn off the heat and leave it to steam, with a tea towel wrapped around the lid to stop condensation dripping down on the rice, for 10–15 minutes.

3. Moisten a hangiri (see Cook’s Tip below) to stop the rice from sticking. Spread the hot rice in a thin layer in the tub. Sprinkle the sushi vinegar over the rice, then, with a moistened rice paddle or a flat spatula, toss the rice using cut-and-turn strokes (the lateral motion separates and coats the grains without bruising or mashing) and at the same time cool it quickly by fanning. This is a bit tricky to do by yourself, so either get someone else to fan the rice or, if you are on your own, alternate tossing and fanning rather than juggling both.

Hand rolled sushi from Japanese in 7 by Kimiko Barber (Kyle Books/Emma Lee/PA)
Hand rolled sushi from Japanese in 7 by Kimiko Barber (Kyle Books/Emma Lee/PA)

4. Sushi rice is ready when it has cooled to room temperature and the grains are fluffy and glisteningly shiny. Try not to overdo this as the rice will become sticky and heavy. To keep sushi rice from drying out, cover it with a clean, damp cloth until needed, but use it up on the day it is prepared.

5. Fold the sheets of nori in half across the grain and pinch along the folded edge, then pull them apart in halves – you should have four rectangular half nori sheets.

6. Hold a piece of halved rectangular nori in your left hand. Put a generous tablespoonful of rice on the top left corner of the nori and flatten it slightly. Dab a small amount of wasabi paste on the rice. Arrange your choice of fillings on top of the rice so that they point diagonally to the top left corner of the nori. Then bring the bottom left-hand corner of the nori towards the top side centre, wrapping it around the rice and fillings, forming a cornet. Repeat to make eight rolls in total.

COOK’S TIP: A hangiri is a specially designed shallow wooden tub, made of Japanese cypress and hooped with copper. Hangiri are expensive, even in Japan, so you can use any wide, shallow, non-metallic tub instead.

Japanese in 7 by Kimiko Barber (Kyle Books/Emma Lee/PA)
Japanese in 7 by Kimiko Barber (Kyle Books/Emma Lee/PA)

Japanese in 7 by Kimiko Barber, photography by Emma Lee, is published by Kyle Books, priced £17.99. Available February 20.