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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.