Vegetarian Sushi: How to Make Sushi Rice and Temaki (Hand Rolls)

Missing sushi during pregnancy? Make these fish-free hand rolls.

Vegetarian Sushi: How to Make Sushi Rice and Temaki (Hand Rolls)
Yield: Makes 20 rolls


Sushi Rice Ingredients:
  • 3 cups Japanese short-grained white rice, also called sushi rice *
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar **
  • 2 teaspoons salt (table salt, kosher salt and sea salt will all work)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 piece of kombu (dried kelp)
Hand Roll Ingredients:
  • 3 cups water (+ more to rinse rice)
  • 10 sheets of nori (seaweed) (1/2 sheet per roll)
  • Sushi rice (above)
  • Your choice of shredded vegetables to taste

Make It

Sushi Rice Directions:

1. Preparing the vinegar mix: Heat the vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved into the vinegar. Do not boil the mixture. Leave sitting off heat until needed. You can make this portion before or while the rice is cooking.

2. Preparing the rice: Rinse the rice in cold water. This will take several minutes and several changes of water. Rinse the rice until the final change of water runs almost clear and there is no debris present. You can leave the rice to soak in the water for 15 minutes, or let it sit drained in the strainer for up to an hour.

3. Cooking the rice: Steam the rinsed rice in an equal amount of water (i.e.: 3 cups of rice = 3 cups of water) in a rice cooker or a 3-quart pot on the stove top, bringing to a boil, then cooking over very low heat until the water evaporates (about 12 min). Once the rice has finished cooking, it can be left off heat in the pot with the lid on for up to 10 minutes.

4. Seasoning the rice: When the rice has finished cooking, add the vinegar seasoning mix to the rice. Turn the rice out of the pot and into a non-reactive glass or wooden bowl. (The traditional method uses a wooden container, such as a hangiri.) Cool down the rice, and add the seasoning at the same time. Use a tool like a shamoji in a gentle chopping motion to spread out the grains of rice and ensure the seasoning covers every grain. Let it cool down for 5 min. Now you have sushi rice.

Hand Roll Directions:

5. Cut a nori sheet in half. Lightly spread prepared sushi rice in square form over the nori sheet. Do not press rice.

6. Arrange vegetable filling right in the middle of the rice.

7. Hold the nori and ingredients in place with one hand; use your other hand to roll the nori over, tucking into the middle of the sheet to make a cone shape.


  • * Do not use American-style long grained rice. Japanese rice has the correct amount of starch needed to make the rice glossy and sticky, not mushy or dry. You can find this style of rice at most well-stocked grocery stores or Asian markets.
  • ** Only use rice vinegar to make sushi rice. Rice vinegar is a mild vinegar made from fermented rice or rice wine.
  • Recipe courtesy of Bruce Bromberg and Eric Bromberg, chefs and owners of Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya in New York City