Photography courtesy of Shota Sushi & Grill in Bellevue
Maki Sushi are wrapped sushi rolls, which are often served in slices of six to eight. Maki is not generally loaded with purely fish and rice, like nigiri is, but it allows more room for creativity and diversity. These originated from Buddhist monks in the 13th century. They are now one of the most common types of sushi. Although most maki sushi is in the vein of your well-known California roll, some are much more ornate, others utilize different wraps, and still others are hand-rolled, as opposed to rolled with a bamboo mat.
Although maki sushi may not be the most popular type of sushi overall, it is most likely the most popular in the United States.
Here are some general maki sushi rolls. Please note that this does not in any way include everything or even close to everything, because many restaurants have their own unique rolls! Some localities even have their own unique rolls, so it really just depends. THis list is just a guide for you to see that, with maki sushi, it seems that almost anything goes.
Egg Salad Roll
New York Roll
Spicy Tuna Roll
Salmon, avocado, and cucumber
Crab (or imitation crab), salmon, and scallion.
Avocado, crab (or imitation crab), and cucumber.
Hard-boiled egg, mayonnaise, and green onion.
Tuna and scallions.
Apple, avocado, and salmon.
Pickled radish (daikon).
Fatty tuna roll.
Smoked salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber.
Fried salmon skin roll.
Spicy tuna (go figure).
Tuna and sliced cucumber.
Shrimp tempura, cucumbers, jalapenos, mayonnaise.
Individual Maki Types
- CHAKIN MAKI
Rice, sometimes seasoned, placed in the middle of an egg omelet that is shaped spherically, like a pouch.
Think: Inari, but in place of the tofu wrap, there is an omelet.
- DATE MAKI
Thick, sweet, rolled egg omelet that is used to wrap rice and ground fish cake, called hanpen. Date maki is one of the foods eaten in Japan for New Year's.
- FUKUSA MAKI ("SILK FABRIC" ROLL)
Rice, sometimes seasoned, placed in the middle of a square, paper-thin egg omelet. Different from chakin maki, however, it is then folded in half to form a rectangular shape. It is called fukusa maki because it is reminiscent of the silk fabric that is often used to wrap presents in Japan.
- FUNA SUSHI
The Kinki region’s funa sushi is known for its large length. This type of sushi takes 6 months to a year to prepare. Funa sushi is hardly fresh because of its long fermenetation process, and has a very strong smell and acidic taste.
- FUTO MAKI ("THICK" OR "FAT" ROLL)
Futo maki got its name for a reason; they are too big to eat in one bite. Naturally, they generally have more than one topping, but on rare occasions, have only one. THey are generally vegetarian, and contain ingredients such as egg and daikon.
AKA: Chumaki (“middle” roll) or O-maki (“big” roll).
- GUNKAN SUSHI
Pressed rice that is wrapped with seaweed wrap to leave a hollow space on the top. The seaweed wrap covers the top part, sort of like a canopy. Only more fragile toppings, such as salmon roe, will fit in this, since the convenient seaweed roof will hold it in will.
AKA: Boat sushi.
- HAMAGURI SUSHI
Rice, sometimes seasoned, that is placed in the middle of an egg omelet that is shaped like a clam (folded and tucked under).
- HANA SUSHI ("FLOWER" SUSHI)
Hana sushi is just your normal maki sushi squeezed to form a teardrop shape. The reason for this name is because when the sushi rolls are lined side by side with the point in the center, they form a flower-like shape.
- HOSO MAKI ("THIN" OR "NARROW" ROLL)
Hosomaki are rolled up into small, circular tubes and sliced into bite-sized portions. They rarely have rice on the outside. Its opposite? Futomaki, or fat rolls.
THINK: Cucumber rolls.
Inari is rice put into a thin pocket of thin, somewhat sweet, deep-fried tofu. It’s a type of sushi that is commonly eaten for a snack or a light meal, and is favored by children. Although inari sometimes has only rice, it is often filled with random garnishes and toppings that are extremely diverse. They can include everything from shiitake mushrooms and hemp seeds to Japanese citron. As common with the Japanese, toppings for inari sometimes vary by the season, to complement or supplement the weather. Inari is also known as a maze sushi, or "mixed sushi," as it is considered a lunch or snack food.
AKA: Age sushi (“filled” sushi) and Kitsune sushi (“fox” sushi).
- KONBU MAKI
Konbu maki is not so much a different type of a roll as a description for any hand roll using yellowish-white kelp, rather than the usual green, to wrap the sushi. Although this may seem like a slight alteration, the difference in kelp makes for a big difference in the taste of the roll.
- KONNYAKU SUSHI
Konnyaku sushi is comprised of toppings stuck inside a Japanese foot that is nicknamed Devil's Tongue, Voodoo Lily, Snake Palm, Elephant Yam, and a number of other peculiar names. Because the root turns into a jelly-like substance, it is eaten for its texture rather than its taste. Konnyaku is also a substance with almost no calories but packed with fiber; it is a diet food. Although neutral in flavor, it is often described as having a peculiar smell. Despite its scary nicknames, konnyaku is no more than a perennial plant that is made into a gelatin for eating.
- NONOJI MAKI
Nonoji maki is pretty much your average wrapped sushi roll. The only difference? A portion of the seaweed wrap is tucked into the wrap prior to the rolling process. People in Tokyo generally look down on this method of wrapping, because it’s easier and therefore less laborious and luxurious. It has "no" in its name, because after being wrapped, it forms a pattern similar to that of the Japanese Hirigana character for no.
- SAIKU SUSHI ("CRAFTSMANSHIP" SUSHI)
Maki sushi that is wrapped particularly to form geometric shapes. One a common kind includes the Bunsen maki (“coin” roll), which are shaped like ancient coins – circular on the outside and square in the middle. Another special kind is Tomoe sushi, sushi that is arranged to look like the yin-yang.
AKA: Kazari ("decorative" sushi).
- SASA MAKI
Sasa maki is wrapped in a bamboo wrap. Please note that the bamboo is not edible.
Maki sushi with sheets of fried tofu as the wrapping (in the place of where seaweed would usually be in your average hand roll). It is, however, different from inari, which is a pocket of fried tofu with toppings inside.
- TEMAKI ("HAND" ROLL)
Temaki are cone-shaped sushi that has rice and toppings wrapped inside seaweed. Due to its fragile nature and open top, temaki are always eaten by hand and never by chopstick. Common fillers include tuna, fermented soybean, and salmon.
- URA MAKI
Ura maki are sushi rolls with rice on the outside. This type of sushi was created in America, and is rolled backwards; one theory is that Americans are not used to eating seaweed, so a type of sushi with rice on the outside is more pleasing to the American palate. This type of sushi was created by Chef Mashita at Tokyo Kaikan in Little Tokyo. Please check out our video tutorial on how to make ura maki, by clicking here
AKA: Naruto maki, Kawari maki, Inside Out Roll, Mehari sushi (“needle-eye” sushi).
Think: California rolls.
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