What is Maki Sushi?

Mary McMahon

Maki is a type of sushi roll that includes toasted seaweed nori rolled around vinegar-flavored rice and various fillings, including raw seafood and vegetables. The word maki means “roll.” There are a variety of types, including uramaki which is complex and requires the attention of a skilled chef. Others such as temaki are very easy to make, and frequently eaten at home and at social gatherings.

Two futomaki rolls.
Two futomaki rolls.

Maki sushi comes in several varieties, depending on how thick the roll is and how the roll is constructed. The most common form is hosomaki. These thin rolls are made by making a small strip of sushi rice and one or two ingredients along one edge of a sheet of nori and then rolling it up tightly to form a slender roll. The roll is then cut into small pieces before serving, often alongside other types of sushi. Common cucumber rolls, carrot rolls, and tuna rolls are common types of hosomaki.

A temaki cone.
A temaki cone.

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Futomaki, which means “fat roll,” is usually made with multiple ingredients, and can be as much as 1.5 inches (about 4 cm) in diameter. It's often vegetarian, and commonly includes ingredients like sprouts, fried eggs, and daikon radish. Like hosomaki, it's also usually sliced to more bite-sized pieces, although it may be served as long, uncut cylinders, especially at some traditional festivals.

Hosomaki rolls underneath an uramaki roll.
Hosomaki rolls underneath an uramaki roll.

Uramaki is an inside out roll, meaning that the sushi rice is on the outside. Nori is covered with sushi rice and then flipped over. The fillings are added and the maki is rolled up. The roll may the be dipped in, or topped with, garnishes like sesame seeds or fish roe. This type of maki is more common outside of Japan, and includes the well-known California and Philadelphia rolls.

Daikon is often used in a maki sushi known as futomaki.
Daikon is often used in a maki sushi known as futomaki.

Temaki is a sushi roll formed in the shape of a cone. Nori sheets are cut in half so that a small pile of sushi rice and fillings can be made on one corner. Then the nori is tightly rolled in a conical shape which can easily be held by hand while it is dipped into an assortment of sauces, including soy sauce and wasabi, and eaten. These hand rolls are a more casual type of sushi, and also has a fun visual appearance, with ingredients overflowing from the cone like a cornucopia.

Nigiri sushi generally uses much less seaweed, if any, than maki sushi.
Nigiri sushi generally uses much less seaweed, if any, than maki sushi.

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Discussion Comments

lori43

Yeah, I love sushi buffets! They are a really good way for beginners to try a range of different types of sushi from maki to nigiri for a decent price. Most “gourmet” sushi and Japanese restaurants charge a lot more for a few rolls of sushi. So, I would definitely recommend these places if you are looking to try a better range of sushi.

klo

In California in particular, a new trend is dining trend is taking hold. Sushi buffets are popping up everywhere. The prices often range from $10.99 to $19.99. The quality of the food is usually reflected in the price, but this is not always the case. The best place I’ve been to offers the option of sitting at the bar, where the sushi chefs take your order directly from you and make it very quickly. I would recommend this option if possible because the service is usually better.

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