Rolling futomaki (large) and maki (small) rolls is a fun and creative process. When the rice has cooled and the filling ingredients are prepared, you can move forward to making sushi rolls. In general, you should make two to three futomaki rolls or four to six maki rolls per person. Having the right tools for rolling will make the process as easy as possible. There are a few preparation steps before actual creating a roll.
Preparation for Rolling Sushi
Before making rolls, you should prepare rolling space on a countertop or table. Begin with wrapping a bamboo rolling mat with plastic wrap. This will keep rice from sticking to the bamboo mat. Next, mix a splash of rice vinegar with water in a bowl or dish wide enough for dipping a knife. You will want to dip the cutting blade of a knife in the water mixture to prevent rice from sticking to the knife. Also, I recommend having ingredients in different containers as seen in the photo below.
There are a few steps for rolling futomaki:
1. Take a full sheet of seaweed paper (nori) and lay it shiny side down on a bamboo mat.
2. Cover 2/3rds of the seaweed paper with a thin layer of sushi rice.
3. Lay ingredients together across the roll. Try not to overfill a roll.
4. Begin rolling the mat away from you by forming a tight circle around the ingredients. Press firmly across the mat when the ingredients are fully wrapped. You will roll about 1/3rd of the seaweed paper around the ingredients.
5. Once the ingredients are firmly pressed, continue rolling the rest of the sushi roll until the entire roll is wrapped. Press firmly across the mat again once everything is rolled together.
6. Unwrap the mat and transfer the roll to a cutting board.
7. Dip a sharp knife into the water and rice vinegar mixture and shake off any excess water once removed.
8. Cut the ends of the roll off to create uniform circled ends. Next, cut the roll into even pieces (between 6 and 8).
9. Transfer the pieces to a platter for serving.
Creating rolls with rice on the outside is very easy. Follow steps 1 and 2 for making futomaki rolls, but put the seaweed sheet shiny side up. Next, flip the rice-covered seaweed paper over prior adding ingredients. You can also sprinkle sesame seeds on the rice before flipping the seaweed paper over. Continue to follow steps 3 - 9 to create a sushi roll with rice on the outside and nori on the inside.
To create maki rolls, you will follow the same rolling steps as futomaki. The only exception is that you will use half of a sheet of seaweed paper. Cut a piece of seaweed paper in half (widthwise) and place it on a bamboo mat. Try using only one or two ingredients for maki rolls. They should be made as sushi pieces eaten in one bite.