How Sushi Works

Making Sushi: Futomaki and Uramaki

Makizushi is rolled sushi, and it comes in several varieties, depending on the exact shape and size.

Futomaki is what many people think of when they think "sushi." First, put a sheet of nori on your bamboo mat, shiny side down. Cover about two-thirds of the nori with rice (probably a little less than is pictured here). Place your toppings across the rice.

Fold the bamboo mat over, rolling the nori onto the toppings. Be careful not to roll the mat into your sushi. When the mat touches the far edge of the rice, begin tightening the roll.

Hold the roll with the mat over it, and grab the far edge of the mat. Pull on it at each corner and in the middle to tighten the roll. When the roll is tight enough, finish rolling by pulling the mat forward. You can repeat the tightening process first if you need to.

Now you have a complete futomaki roll. Slice the roll in half with a very sharp knife, pressing straight down through the roll to avoid tearing the nori. Slice each half twice more to end up with eight pieces of makizushi.

Inside-out rolls, or uramaki, are made just like futomaki, but you start with a piece of plastic wrap over the bamboo mat, and spread the rice directly onto it. Then add the nori over the rice, with the toppings placed on top of the nori. Roll it exactly like futomaki.

The completed roll can be covered in sesame seeds or another garnish before slicing.

A variety of sushi looks very appealing and makes a great hors d'oeuvre. Don't forget the soy sauce and wasabi for dipping, and ginger root for cleansing the palate between pieces of sushi.

To learn more about sushi and related topics, check out the links below.

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More Great Links


  • Booth, Shirley. "Food of Japan." Interlink, 2002.
  • Detrick, Mia. "Sushi." Chronicle Books, 1981. ISBN 0-87701-238-5.
  • Kawasumi, Ken. "Sushi for Parties.". Graph-Sha, 1996. ISBN 0-87040-956-5.
  • Kawasumi, Ken. "The Encyclopedia of Sushi Rolls." Graph-Sha, 2001. ISBN 4-88996-076-7.
  • Strada, Judi and Mineko Takane Moreno. "Sushi for Dummies." Wiley, 2004. ISBN 0-7645-4465-9.
  • The Sushi FAQ.