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Aug 5, 2007 09:15 PM

Sushi without a Bamboo Mat?

Is it possible to roll without a bamboo mat? Live in the hinterlands, and was just thrilled to find nori, but of course no mat to be had within 50 miles (at least). And I'm having a withdrawal moment -- weekend sushi fix while traveling got deep sixed. Tin foil? Wax paper? Tortilla skins (we DO have that!)

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  1. I'm sure there are many who would slap my hands at the mere suggestion... but I must admit I very happily roll sushi with no mat, no foil, no paper, no nothing. (This is nori-on-the-outside sushi.) It's so easy that I've taken to assembling the ingredients and making it road food for long trips. Little fuss, little muss, very happy traveler. (Oh, and I use an empty ziplock for my rolling surface, but not to keep everything rolling along, just because I'm not exactly sure how clean any of those motel surfaces really are.)

    Good luck to you!

    3 Replies
    1. re: miss louella

      If you can roll a joint this should be a walk in the park.

      1. re: chanterelle

        Don't lick the nori to seal it, tho...

        1. re: ricepad

          Ha! i learned to roll sushi w/out a mat. was instructed to lick it like a big ol joint. have been hand rolling sushi logs for myself ever since. going on a dozen years.

    2. With practice, rolling by hand works very well. You just need to be gentle so as not to tear the nori.

      You can also do the "teardrop" shape by hand - simply layer the rice thin on the near and far edge, and thicker in the center. Place the filling in the center of the roll and just fold it over, pressing the two thinly covered edges together to seal.


      2 Replies
      1. re: hannaone

        Going for a walk then ... thanks for your encouragement and suggestions!

        1. re: birgator

          Its a hand roll, which looks like an ice cream cone. You can probably find some step by step illustrations on how to make one online somewhere.

      2. Yep. I've done it many times before with a tea towel.

        1. We make mini hand rolls all the time. Cut the large squares of nori into 4s, then put your rice and toppings out on the table. Start with a little rice, add whatever combo of fillings strikes your fancy, then roll like an ice cream cone.

          I often throw the leftovers over the extra rice with a little pickled ginger and eat it like a salad the next day for lunch.

          1. You can use some plastic wrap or saran wrap as you roll. It's not as sturdy as a bamboo mat, but the plastic wrap allows you to squeeze the roll with your hands and not worry about sanitation issues. (Doesn't really matter if you're making for yourself, but nice to consider when making for others.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: singleguychef

              I've found parchment paper rolls really well for jelly rolls and for seni-sticky bread dough for cinnamon swirls with raisins in the center.
              Nori should go easily with parchment.