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Thin-Roll Sushi

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)


This is believed to be the original form of rolled sushi and uses a single filling such as tuna, cucumber, or seasoned kampyo. Use whatever filling you prefer, but keep it simple. Once you have mastered thin-roll sushi, the other varieties are easy. This elegant bite-sized sushi makes wonderful finger food and is a guaranteed success as a dinner-party appetizer.


    Vinegar water
    1. 1 to 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
    2. 8 oz. water
    Sushi rolls
    1. 4 to 5 sheets nori seaweed
    2. Sushi Rice
    3. Wasabi paste (see Note)
    4. 1 skinless fillet of sushi-grade fresh fish, such as tuna or salmon (about 4 ounces), cut into pencil-thin strips; you can also use 4 ounces cooked crabmeat
    5. ½ cucumber, cut into ½-inch square strips
    6. 1 medium carrot, cut into ½-inch square strips and lightly steamed
    For serving
    1. Pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and soy sauce


    1. Mix the ingredients for the vinegared water in a small bowl and set aside.
    2. Lay a bamboo sushi rolling mat on your work surface. Fold a sheet of nori in half across the grain and pinch along the folded edge to break it in two. Place a halved sheet along the edge of the rolling mat with the shiny, smooth side facing down.
    3. Dip your hands in the vinegared water to prevent the rice from sticking to them. Take a handful of rice and form it into a log shape.
    4. Place the rice in the center of the sheet of nori and use the tips of your fingers to spread it evenly over it. Leave about a ½-inch margin of nori along the edge furthest from you.
    5. Dab a thin line of wasabi paste across the center of the rice. Don't overdo the wasabi — it should compliment the flavor of the sushi, not overpower it.
    6. Arrange a strip of fish, cucumber, or carrot on top of the wasabi. You may need to use two or three short pieces, but line them up close to each other with no gaps between them.
    7. Lift up the edge of the mat closest to you, and slowly roll away from you in a smooth movement.
    8. Roll the mat over so that the top edge of the nori meets the edge of the rice. You need to keep a gentle pressure on the roll to keep it neatly compacted.
    9. You should be able to see the strip of nori not covered by rice. Gently shape the length of the roll using both hands and applying even pressure.
    10. Lift the edge of the mat slightly and push the roll forward a little so that the uncovered strip of nori seals the roll. The moisture from the rice acts as an adhesive.
    11. Push in any stray grains of rice to neaten the ends. Set aside in a cool place (but not the refrigerator) while you make more rolls.
    12. Dip a cloth or dish towel in the vinegared water, moisten a sharp knife, and cut each roll in half.
    13. Moisten the knife with the cloth between each cutting. Place the two halves next to each other and cut them twice to make 6 equal bite-sized pieces. Arrange on a serving plate and serve immediately.


    Culinate editor's note: The powdered wasabi sold in most supermarkets is generally a blend of horseradish and mustard, with a little genuine wasabi added. However, powder made just from wasabi root is occasionally also available. Follow the package directions for mixing the powder with water to form a paste.