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What Is Maki Sushi

What Is Maki Sushi?

When you think about eating sushi, what comes to your mind? I bet it is the hand-rolled sushi rice wrapped in seaweed with a topping of raw fish or vegetables.

Maki, which means “to roll” in Japanese, is a popular type of round sushi consisting of rice cooked in vinegar, salt, and sugar wrapped around a layer of black seaweed (nori). Maki sushi can also be rolled in soy paper, or thin cucumbers.

Most times, the topping or filling of Maki is raw or cooked fish, but it can also be meat or vegetables. Maki sushi is also called norimaki makizushi and has been an important part of Japanese cuisine since the Edo period. It is not the same as nigiri sushi, although they share similarities.

Maki sushi is so popular that if you are eating a traditional sushi roll, chances are it is maki sushi. Maki sushi is also served at special occasions.

Let’s take a closer look at the rolled sushi.

Origin Of Maki Sushi

Maki sushi is a Japanese dish that has been linked to having originated during the Edo period. In the 18th century, Maki became popular, spreading throughout the other Japanese regions, each forming their version of this dish.

In the Kanto region, small rolls, called hosomaki rolls with just one ingredient, were popular, which was the opposite in the Kansai region, where the maki rolls had more sushi toppings and were called futomaki rolls.

Some people believe that Makizushi was created because of criminals in Japan known as “yakuza,” as they could not eat their sushi and play cards simultaneously. They had to devise a solution, and that was where the seaweed called nori was invented to hold their sushi together. All the condiments are prepared and wrapped in a thin roll of seaweed, so you can easily pick it up with your hands. Maki sushi is a popular type of sushi, and it is often compared to other types of sushi. One of the most significant differences between Maki and Sushi.

Ingredients for Maki Sushi

The maki sushi dish has three basic components or ingredients. These ingredients include;

The Sushi Meshi

Sushi mesh is also called Shari, rice cooked in vinegar. Shari is also a main ingredient among other types of sushi. Salt and sugar are added alongside rice vinegar to flavor the sushi rice. The maki sushi’s overall taste depends on the rice’s taste. Once the seasoned rice or shari has a fresh flavor, the rest of the dish becomes flavourful.


Nori is the dried seaweed you can eat, and it is the key ingredient used to roll and hold the other ingredients together. A bamboo mat is placed under the nori to help roll the ingredients more efficiently.

Sushi Neta 

Sushi neta refers to other ingredients rolled inside the maki sushi or the toppings of maki sushi, and it contains a wide variety of options. These toppings could range from fish to even plain vegetables.

Popular Fillings In Maki Sushi Rolls

Most people assume the toppings in maki sushi must be uncooked fish or any other seafood, which they might find gross, but with the changing times and influences from different cultures worldwide, the toppings could be anything you want them to be.

Common seafood toppings used in maki sushi include
  • Eel
  • Shrimp
  • Spicy Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Sea bream
  • Smoked Salmon
Common vegetable toppings used in maki sushi include
  • Cucumber
  • Shinko
  • Natto

Other maki sushi toppings options, such as mayonnaise or cream cheese, result from Western influences.

Common Types Of Maki Sushi

Common Types Of Maki Sushi

Maki sushi can be divided based on different criteria, either on the filling type, the roll’s thickness, or according to its size. Classification of Maki sushi according to its size includes hosomaki, futomaki, and nakamaki


Hoso, which means “thin” in Japanese, is a type of maki sushi that is small and it is usually one inch in diameter. Due to its small size, hosomaki is a fast food. It is readily sold in supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan and easily eaten with chopsticks. Hosomaki is made up of a sheet of nori, rice, and a single filling, and this filling is what gives the hosomaki its name. Examples of different hosomaki rolls include

Natto Maki

This type of hosomaki is made by filling fermented soybeans or natto in a Shuri and covered by a thin piece of seaweed or nori. It is one of the most popular hosomaki, characterized by its distinctive smell.

Shinko Maki

In this type of hosomaki, the pickle is rolled up in the rice and then covered in nori. The main filling is the pickle yellow daikon.

Keppa Maki

Keppa loosely translates to cucumber in Japanese, and this type of hosomaki, a slice of cucumber, is the main filling, rolled in vinegared rice and a thin piece of nori or seaweed. Keppa maki is a vegetarian type of sushi and can be eaten by those who do not consume meat or fish.

Tekka Maki

This type of hosomaki is filled with tuna fish covered in vinegared rice and nori.


In contrast to hosomaki, futomaki is a thick type of maki sushi that is about 2 inches in diameter and is the largest type of maki sushi. It has a variety of fillings alongside flavored rice and nori. When most people think of sushi rolls, they probably mean futomaki. The well-known futomaki fillings include

  • Eel
  • Crab
  • Shrimp tempura
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Vegetables

Ehomaki is a popular type of futomaki mostly consumed on a Japanese holiday called Setsubun, set on the third of February. While most maki sushi is usually cut into small portions, Ehomaki is eaten whole without saying a word as it is the tradition in Japan which is believed to bring good luck.


Nakamaki sushi roll is in between hosomaki and futomaki. This type of maki sushi usually has two or more fillings or toppings alongside vinegared rice and is covered in nori.

Other Types Of Maki Sushi

Temaki Sushi

This type of maki sushi roll is hand rolled and has a distinguishing cone shape like an ice cream cone. Temaki sushi contains ingredients like sashimi, vinegared rice, and nori shaped like cones. It is eaten using the hands.

Gunkan Maki

This type of maki sushi is made up of rice, ball, or boat-shaped wrapped around a tall strip of nori, and the topping or filling, in this case, is salmon eggs or crab, but other toppings can still be used if you are feeling adventurous.


This type of maki sushi is called an “inside-out” roll. Normally, The maki sushi roll is covered with seaweed or nori, but in uramaki, the flavored rice and the nori switch places, and the rice covers the nori.

Uramaki is mostly found outside Japan, and it’s done for the maki sushi to have an appealing look. The California roll is the most popular type of uramaki and is usually made with crab sticks.

The Philadelphia roll is another popular Uramaki sushi. It is usually made with imitation crab instead of the typical salmon.

The different types of maki sushi offer unique tastes and experiences while still perfectly embodying the Japanese heritage.

Ways To Eat Maki Sushi Rolls

Whether you are eating maki sushi with a chopstick like you’d most Japanese dishes, or your bare hand, cleaning your hand before eating is necessary. On most occasions, except Ehomaki, which is eaten whole, maki sushi is cut into tiny pieces before using chopsticks or hands to pick up the roll.

You usually get a dip, like soy sauce, pickled ginger, or wasabi, to dip your sushi rolls in before eating.


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