6 Beautifully Crafted Maki Dishes
Sushi can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. One of the most popular types, maki, involves wrapping all the ingredients in a piece of seaweed before serving. There many different choices for fillings, condiments, and presentation. In this guide, we'll look at just a few of the ways that a simple roll of sushi can be elevated to a culinary work of art.
6 Types of Decorative Maki
- Animal Designs: A panda, bee, or cat in every piece
- Floral Designs: Natural beauty re-created in dyed rice
- Mosaic Sushi: Complex fractals and gorgeous patterns
- Temaki: Sushi you can eat like a burrito
- Mermaid Maki: All the colors of the rainbow
- Plain Maki: Even without a theme, a roll of sushi can look great
How to Make Maki at Home
The most important ingredient is rice, which acts as the base for the roll. You'll also need nori, which is an edible species of seaweed used to hold the maki together. Beyond that, the ingredients are up to you. Find a recipe that looks good, or experiment with your own flavor combinations. Then you'll need a device you can use to form the roll. You can either get a traditional bamboo mat, or a more modern plastic alternative. Once you're done, grab some chopsticks and soy sauce and dig in.
How to Cook Sushi Rice
There are many different types of sushi. A lot of people think that it is simply raw fish, but the term actually refers to the vinegared rice used in Japanese dishes. Learning to prepare the rice is the first step towards becoming a sushi chef, and trainees often spend years perfecting the process before they ever make a single roll. The most well known type of sushi is maki. The name comes from the Japanese word maku, which means "to wrap or roll." It is the term used for sushi in which the ingredients are contained within a sheet of nori, or dried seaweed.
As sushi has become increasingly popular, there are more different types to choose from than ever. It has turned into something of an art form. Chefs use it as a canvas to show off their creativity and skill, and there are some incredibly unique varieties out there. Even plain, everyday ingredients can be beautiful when a talented chef gets ahold of them, but these six trends take the artistic side of sushi to the next level.
One of the most popular themes in decorative sushi is animals. The fillings are placed within the rice to create the eyes, ears, mouths, and other features before rolling and cutting it. Different types of fish, vegetables, and dyed rice are used to form the shape of panda bears, cats, rabbits, and many other creatures, even Pokemon.
Flowers are another common trend in ornamental sushi. Maki rolls can be crafted so that the design is within, or formed by the pieces themselves. Red cabbage creates purple petals, and different types of fish and vegetables are used to make the leaves and stems, or even a whole cherry blossom tree. Thin strips of egg omelette can be used to help form the shape of roses.
If you want something more sophisticated, mosaic sushi is an elegant take on the decorative roll. It looks extremely complex, but it is actually several rolls split in half or quarters and combined to make intricate patterns. Other ingredients are added between them, then the whole thing is rolled in another layer of nori. When cut, you can see the design created by the different pieces.
Hand rolls, or temaki, are another type of maki. They are cone shaped and made to be held and eaten like a burrito. They are easier to make than traditional sushi, but allow for a lot of creativity and a wide variety of ingredients due to their shape and size. With the right combination of stuffings and garnishes, they can be quite beautiful. Any filling that goes into a regular sushi roll can also be found in temaki. The fish is often in the form of tartare, or finely chopped pieces, rather than sliced.
Rainbow, or mermaid, maki is another artistic sushi variation. It's not at all traditional, but it is visually appealing. The bright colors may look artificial, but most of the time they are created using natural ingredients. Beet powder is used to dye the rice pink, turmeric for yellow, matcha tea for green, and red chili paste for orange.
And sometimes, maki is just gorgeous without any type of theme. The technique, garnishes, and plating make it a beautiful dish without any fancy shapes or colors. Even the simplest roll can be stunning when it is skillfully crafted. Ingredients like dragonfruit and asparagus make for a creative look and taste.
If you're a sushi purist, most of these decorative trends probably won't interest you. But for those who appreciate a little novelty and artistic flair with their food, there's no better way to satisfy both your eyes and your stomach.