This kind of sushi is somewhat similar to nigirizushi, in that a ball of rice is shaped by hand, and other ingredients placed on top. The difference is that a strip or nori is wrapped around the sushi, to form a ‘wall’ that prevents the toppings, which are typically various fish roe, from falling off.


15-20g sushi vinegared rice (a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball) per piece

WasabiSome wasabi


The most common topping for gunkanmaki is ikura (salmon roe) although many others may be used. These include kazunoko (salted herring roe),uni (sea urchin) and tobiko. If using kazunoko, it should be soaked in water for at least two hours in order to reduce its saltiness.

NoteGunkanmaki can be decorated with some thin slices of cucumber, arranged in a fan shape. To make, simply cut a few long, flat, wedge-shaped slices of cucumber, and arrange in a fan shape at one end of the sushi

How to Make

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Wet your right hand thoroughly with tezu (vinegared water).

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Lay a strip of nori across your left hand.

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Pick up the required amount of sushi rice with your right hand, and shape it gently in your hand to form a slightly elongated ball of rice.

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Place the rice ball lengthwise in the middle of the nori strip so that the edge of the rice ball is level with one edge of the nori, with a spare strip of nori at the other side.

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Roll the nori strip around the rice, and use a grain or two grains of rice to secure the overlapping noritogether. The roll should now have a flat bottom, and a ‘deck’ surrounded by nori to hold the topping.


Using your thumb, press lightly on the ‘deck’ to make a slight hollow.

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Place the gunkanmaki on a flat surface, and scoop about a teaspoonful of the topping onto the ‘deck’.

NoteServe, possibly garnished with a small dab of wasabi, or some fan shaped slices of cucumber.