Inside-Out Maki

Inspired by my visit to Sushi Nara, I have finally ventured into making my own sushi. I used real crab, and though some of my first rolls did not look so beautiful, it was delicious!

California Style Maki Rolls with Crab

Inside-Out Maki

serves 3 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer
page 275

  • California Style Maki Rolls with Crab1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Japanese cucumber, or salad cucumber
  • 6 roots yamagobo no tsukemono
    (pickled mountain burdock)
    or takuan (pickled daikon)
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin strips
    and sprinkled with the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 7  ounces smoked salmon cut into thin strips
    (I used crab meat)
  • 1 package daikon sprouts, root tips removed
    (I used radish sprouts because they were the only ones at the store that didn’t look like brown mush—a better substitute would have been julienned lettuce, or some other tender crunchy leaf)
  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup tobiko roe (flying fish), or more sesame seeds
    (I’m not sure it what I used was tobiko roe, but they were orange, as Ms. Shimbo described in the preface to this recipe)
  • 1.4 pounds prepared sushi rice
  • Su water, for handling the rice (2 TBS. komezu, 2 cups water)
  • 3 sheets of toasted nori, cut in half
  • have ready: a bamboo rolling mat wrapped in plastic


  • shoyu (soy sauce)
  • sweet pickled ginger

Spread the salt on a cutting board, and roll the cucumber over the salt. Rinse it under cold running water and wipe it dry. Cut the cucumber cross-wise and lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cut it into thin sticks.
Arrange the cucumber sticks, pickled burdock, avocado slices, sprouts, and crab meat on a platter near your work surface. Have bowls with the sesame seeds and the roe near-by. Have your bowl of sushi rice and the bowl of su-water at hand.
Your rolling mat should be on your work surface with the bamboo crosswise so that you can roll it forward and away from you. Place a half-sheet of nori shiny side down on the rolling mat. The short side of the nori should be parallel to the bamboo sticks: you will be making a short roll to cut into 4 pieces.
Wet your fingers with the vinegar-water and sprinkle a few drops on the nori. Cover the nori with about 1/6 of the rice, leaving a 1-inch margin at the far end.
Sprinkle about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the sesame seeds and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the tobiko roe evenly over the rice.
Flip the sushi over so the nori is on top. Place the filling ingredients on the nori, just a little closer than the center of the nori.
With the aid of the mat, gently roll the sushi into a cylinder. Press gently and reposition the mat as you go. Repeat for the 5 remaining rolls.
If you are not serving the sushi immediately, wrap the rolls in plastic. Do not refrigerate or the rice will become tough and chewy.
To serve, cut each roll into 4 pieces and arrange on small plates with shoyu and ginger on the side.
California-style Maki Roll
So. I did not follow the directions for rolling this sushi. I’ve made maki rolls before, though not the inside-out style. It’s been a very long time, but I thought I knew how to do this. I prefer thinner rather than thicker rolls because they are easier to eat. I rolled these with the wide part of the nori parallel to the bamboo so they would be thinner. At first, I was over-generous with the amount of filling for such a short length. It would have worked much better if I’d cut the nori into 2/3 (and used the other 1/3 for other things), but I’d already cut the nori and didn’t want to waste it. Though some of them were messy, this combination of flavors is very nice.

Sushi, Eggplant, and Miso

Sushi, Eggplant, and Miso

Other Sushi Recipes from Tess

…Here is a link from a reader, who is most certainly a sushi expert, for a different way to make inside-out rolls. Makes sense to me, and I’ll be trying it out soon.

I’ve added a quote of her email in the comments, if you’d like to read it.

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One thought on “Inside-Out Maki

  1. email from a reader:
    “Hi Tess,

    Thank you for checking out my website. I love what you’re doing on your site and have added you to my blogroll. Shimbo’s book has a special place in my heart because it was one of the first books on Japanese cuisine that I was able to find in my small town before I decided to go and study sushi. It’s great to see so many of those recipes come to life, because I mostly just read rather than created many of them.

    Here’s an easy way to prepare inside out maki that produce a smaller bite. The step by step pics follow the description. It’s a little different in that you use your fingers first to roll, then shape it with the maki-su. When I first show people this, they seem a little disappointed to not be using the maki-su. But it’s a pretty widely accepted practice among sushi chefs because we often have to make so many at once. Hope this helps!
    Inside out roll method…


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