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How to Make Hosomaki Rolls

Hosomaki Sushi Roll

Hosomaki rolls are simply thin, cut, rolled sushi. Hosomaki rolls are generally made with nori (sheets of seaweed), rice and are usually filled with only one or two filling ingredients. Hosomaki rolls typically use one or two ingredients, so the key to making good hosomaki rolls is not overdoing it. Hosomaki rolls are about the flavor of the ingredient, so you will generally see ingredients like tuna, hamachi (yellowtail), eggs or vegetables. Hosomaki rolls were originally designed as a convenient snack, so they are simple to make, simple to eat and simple in flavor. A great example of a two ingredient hosomaki roll is hamachi (yellowtail) and scallions (green onions). Hosomaki rolls take practice to figure out the placement of the filling ingedients, how much of the filling ingredients to use and to perfect the rolling technique as they are a little less forgiving than a traditional maki roll. Hosomaki rolls are a great way for you to use the leftover trimmings and other pieces of fish or other meats, because the quality isn't affected by the way that the filling ingredients look. Just like with other variations of maki rolls, most sushi restaurants use the leftover trimmings to make hosomaki rolls to cut down on waste and cut costs.

If you are unsure where to get sushi ingredients, you can go to Catalina Offshore Products. They have a great selection of quality sushi grade fish and other seafood, as well as sushi making kits and other sushi ingredients. We also have our Store that has a large selection of sushi ingredients and sushi supplies.  You can also check out my sushi ingredients page for alternative ways to find a lot of your ingedients locally.

Catalina Offshore Products


Hosomaki rolls can be fairly simple to prepare the ingredients for, especially if you are using leftover trimmings and such. The main things you will need to get prepared are:

You should cut the filling ingredients into long sticks if possible. Cutting the ingredients into long sticks allows for an even distribution of the filling ingredients and also makes it easier to roll it. Remember that you don't want to overfill the hosomaki rolls while cutting the ingredients. You can always add several smaller pieces, but it's much harder to cut a bigger one if you find it's too big.

Place the nori on the bamboo sushi rolling mat with the shiny side down.

Assembling the Ingredients

First, dip your hands into some warm water and shake off the excess water. You want your hands to be damp, but not dripping wet. This will help to keep the sushi rice from sticking to your hands and fingers while assembling the sushi. With the nori on the sushi rolling mat, place the rice on top of the nori. Begin to spread the sushi rice over the nori about 1/4" thick, leaving about 3/4" of the nori without rice on the furthest side from you. This part will be used to seal the roll. Spread the sushi rice over the nori using your finger tips. Do not try to use any kind of spatula, spoon or anything else that is similar to spread the sushi rice, otherwise you will end up with a paste. While spreading the rice out over the nori, don't put too much pressure on the rice, you aren't trying to flatten it, just spread it out over the nori. Also, don't try to make all of these nori and rice planks at once, the longer the rice sits on the nori, the more soggy the nori will get and the more paste-like the rice will get. Make them as you go.

Next, place the filing ingredient(s) near the center of the rice, not the nori. Place the larger items on the bottom and the smaller ones on the top. This helps in rolling it. Be sure to try to evenly distribute the filling ingredients throughout the roll. Don't worry about keeping everything inside of the plank, because it will move around when you roll it. It also makes some very pretty end pieces. Most of your sushi restaurants strategically place some of the filling ingredients outside of the plank for that purpose.

Rolling the Hosomaki Roll

Grab the bamboo rolling mat and slowly begin rolling the plank over onto itself. You may have to support some of your filling ingredients with your finger tips so that they go in the proper place while rolling. Keep the roll tight as you bring the roll around to the point where the end you grabbed is now touching the rest of the plank. Reposition your hands on the bamboo rolling mat and give the roll a good sqeeze with your finger tips and thumbs. This keeps your filling ingredients firmly in place so that the roll doesn't fall apart when you go to eat it. Continue rolling the rest of the roll. Once the rolling is complete, using your finger tips and thumbs, give the roll a few good sqeezes, making sure to squeeze on the spot of nori with no rice on it to give the roll a good seal. You should also try to even out the roll to make it more uniform by giving gentle squeezes up and down the roll. If the roll does not seal, you may want to run your wet finger down the inside of the flap of nori and try sealing it again.

Cutting the Hosomaki Roll

Remove the hosomaki roll from the bamboo rolling mat and place the hosomaki roll on a cutting board. Using a wet, sharp knife (a sushi knife works best), cut the hosomaki roll in half. Place the two pieces side by side and cut both of them in half again. Place all four pieces side by side and cut them in half again. This should give you eight evenly sliced pieces. Enjoy!