Sushi’s popularity has been increasing in the world, but when I ask people what’s their favorite sushi, majority of the answers I get are types of sushi rolls, like Dragon Roll or Spicy Tuna Roll.In Japan, sushi usually implies traditional style “nigiri sushi”, which consists of raw fish on top of rice pillow. In recent years, you might find California Roll on the menu in some sushi restaurants, but it’s still pretty uncommon.However we definitely have traditional sushi rolls in Japan. When Japanese talk about a sushi roll (“Maki-sushi” in Osaka area or “Nori-maki” in Tokyo area), we are usually referring to Futomaki (???) for this large thick sushi roll.
What is Futomaki"Futomaki is a thick sushi roll consists of several ingredients. The diameter is about 2 to 2.5 inches (5-6 cm) and it is typically filled with a variety of vegetables and sometimes include cooked fish like unagi or anago (fresh water eel or salt water eel).Since you can prepare Futomaki ahead of time and it looks very pretty, it’s often made for festivity events, holidays, potluck, or bento.One of the unique facts about Futomaki is that unlike fresh ingredients used for typical sushi or sushi roll, the common ingredients are dried ingredients common in Japanese pantry. Since dried shiitake mushrooms or dried kanpyo (gourd strips) may not be the typical ingredients in your pantry, please feel free to substitute ingredients you like. More about this topic in the following section.
What’s Inside the FutomakiEach family choose different fillings for futomaki, but common ingredients include cucumber, seasoned kanpyo (gourd strips), seasoned shiitake mushrooms, tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelette).Some people put 5 fillings, some put more than 10. It really depends on the family.In my rolls, I include the following 7 ingredients:Tamagoyaki / Dashimaki TamagoSimmered Kanpyo (gourd strips)Simmered Shiitake MushroomsMitsuba or...