Hosomaki sushi is thin sushi rolls cut into perfect bite-sized pieces. These cute little rolls are filled with just one ingredient usually vegetables or fish to create a lovely pop of colour in the centre. They’re great for a light lunch or bento box or as a beautifully presented appetiser.
What is Hosomaki?
Hosomaki are small sushi rolls made with only one filling. “Hoso” means thin in Japanese and “maki” means roll so the word together literally means “thin roll”. This is why only one ingredient is used for the filling to maintain the thin shape.
What Ingredients Do I Need?
Basically, you need Sushi rice, Nori – dried seaweed sheets and a filling. Sushi rice plays an essential role in any variation of sushi. So ultimately how well you make the sushi rice determines the result of any type of sushi you are making. Learn how to make perfect sushi rice from my previous post.
There are a variety of different types of delicious fillings for hosomaki, though you will only need one filling per roll. Furthermore, depending on the filling, they have a special Japanese name for it. Cucumber filled rolls are called “Kappa-maki”, sushi-grade fish Tuna filled rolls are called “Tekka-maki”, and pickled daikon, called oshinko, is called “Shinko-maki”.
As many of us are not living in Japan, some of the ingredients are hard to obtain. We just need to be a little creative and let your imagination run wild. Some Japanese would use, kanpyo, umeboshi (pickled plum), canned tuna, rolled egg omelette (tamagoyaki), imitation crab meat, etc. You can use any filling you like. Just make sure to remove any excess moisture from the ingredients. Also, see Japanese food substitution.
How To Prepare Each Ingredient?
Rice– 2 cups of uncooked sushi rice will make 10 hosomaki rolls. Once cooked, portion the rice into 80 grams (1/2 cup) for each roll.
Nori– Briefly roast the nori sheets by placing and turning each side over heat (like a cooktop/stove) but don’t let it burn. Because hosomaki are thin rolls, you only need half of a standard nori seaweed sheet. You will need to cut the seaweed sheet in half through the longer edge. Typical seaweed sheets are 8.3inch x 7.5inch (21cmx19cm). Cut the 8.3inch(21cm) side in half so that you have two thin but long sheets of nori.
Fillings– whichever filling you choose to use will need to be cut into a uniform thin size to fit evenly down the middle of the roll.
You will need a small dish of vinegar or water to dip your finger into to go along the edge of the seaweed sheet to act as a glue to hold the roll together.
2 Ways To Roll Hosomaki
- Using a Bamboo sushi rolling mat– A bamboo sushi mat is the classic way to roll sushi. Place a nori seaweed sheet onto the rolling mat. Top with 80g (1/2 cup) of cooked sushi rice and spread it out evenly over the nori sheet. Make sure to leave a 1cm gap along one side of the nori sheet so that it can be sealed. Add your desired filling in a straight line down the centre of the rice. Dip your finger into some water or vinegar and swipe along the 1cm gap on the nori sheet. Place your fingers over the fillings to secure them in place and with your thumb, lift the rolling mat on the side with rice to fold and roll the sushi onto the side lined with the water/vinegar. Gently press the mat to seal the sushi and then release. Done!
- Using a hosomaki mold– You can buy these molds from Daiso. Lightly wet the mold to make sure the rice doesn’t stick. Place 40g (1/4 cup) of cooked sushi rice into the mold. Add your filling. Top with the remaining 40g (1/4 cup) of rice. Press the mold closed. Open it up and then push the roll out onto the nori seaweed sheet. On one edge of the nori sheet swipe some water or vinegar (like above) and then roll and seal the sushi.
How To Cut Hosomaki?
Sushi rice is very sticky and it can be hard to cut sushi rolls into pieces. You need to use a sharp knife and lightly wet it with some water to cut the pieces well. Make sure you don’t press the knife down and squish the roll when cutting the sushi. You need to cut forward or back instead of down. This will ensure the rolls are cut nicely. Usually, hosomaki are cut into small bite-size pieces so usually, I cut each roll in half and then each half into thirds. This means 1 roll will make 6 pieces of sushi. But it is truly up to you how small or big you want to cut the sushi rolls.
How To Serve Hosomaki?
Chop the hosomaki into bite-sized pieces and serve them up on a plate with the fillings visible. A platter of hosomaki can look so appetising from the variety of colours in the fillings so it’s easy to present it well like a rainbow of sushi. Add a little saucer of soy sauce and some pickled ginger and you’re ready to dig in.
What to serve with Hosomaki?
- Make sure to cut the fillings evenly and thinly so that they fit well in the sushi roll to avoid overpacking the sushi. This will make it easier to roll and will ensure the sushi will hold its shape.
- Briefly roast the nori sheets by placing it over heat (like a cooktop/stove) as mentioned above. This will make it easier to cut the nori sheets and give them a tastier crunch.
A Recipe Note
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- a bamboo sushi rolling mat
- 2 cups uncooked rice *1
- 1.9 cups water
- 1 piece of Kombu kelp *3 about 2 inch/5cm
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar *2
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
Fillings & Nori seaweed sheets
- 1 cucumber cut evensized sticks
- 1 avocado cut evensized sticks
- 5 nori seaweed sheets cut in half
- 1 small bowl of rice vinegar or water *works as glue to seal nori seaweed sheet together.
Sushi Rice *4
- Wash the uncooked rice and drain the washing water completely.
- Place the washed rice in a rice cooker with the water and the piece of kombu kelp.
- Cook the rice according to your rice cooker.
- Combine all sushi vinegar ingredients and let the sugar and salt dissolve completely.
- When the rice is cooked, Place the rice in a large mixing bowl or Hangiri wooden tub (if you have) and combine with sushi vinegar. *5
- Divide the sushi rice 1/2 cup (80g) each. *6
- Cut the nori seaweed sheets in half. It's standard size is usually (8.3 x7.5 inch or 21cmx19cm) Cut longer side in half.
- Toast the nori seaweed sheet by passing the sheet over a medium flame to make it crispier. *7
- Place the nori sheet on a bamboo sushi rolling mat.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the sushi rice evenly over the nori seaweed sheet leaving 0.6 inch (1.5cm) at the top of the nori seaweed.
- Place cucumber stick on the centre of the rice.
- Wet the far edge of the nori sheet with sushi vinegar or water with your finger tip.
- Place your fingers on the cucumbers (or whatever the filling used), lift the edges of the bamboo rolling mat and bring the one edge of nori sheet and sushi rice over to meet the fat edge of the sushi rice.
- Firmly press the bamboo sushi rolling mat over the sushi roll with your hands.
- Repeat the above process for rest of the ingredients.
- Cut each roll in sixths crosswises with a sharp knife. Clean the knife with well moistened kitchen cloth between each cut.
- Serve them on the plate with sushi ginger.