Resist the urge to combine different types of pickles inside a single roll. Using just one variety for each roll allows every component—rice, pickle, nori—to be fully appreciated.
Rice Prep Time: Up to 1½ hours
Sushi Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 rolls (24 pieces)
Four 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) nori sheets
2 cups (400 g) Traditional Sushi Rice, Brown Sushi Rice, Quinoa Sushi “Rice” or Multi-Grain Sushi Rice (pages 21–23)
One 4-in (10-cm) length takuan (pickled daikon), cut into sticks
Place one nori sheet horizontally on a bamboo rolling mat with the rough side facing up. Wet your fingertips, then spread about ½ cup (100 g) of the sushi rice in a thin, even layer across the bottom ¾ of the nori.
Arrange ¼ of the takuan sticks horizontally in the center of the rice. The pickles should extend to the edges of the nori.
Dip your fingertips in water again. Place your thumbs underneath the bamboo rolling mat. Fold the bottom of the mat so that the bottom edge of the nori fits just over the pickles. (Do not allow the edge of the mat to get stuck in the fold!)
Lift the edge of the mat. (The nori should stay in place.) Continue rolling until the roll is complete. Gently shape the roll into a rectangle by pressing your forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers into the sides.
Allow the roll to rest seam-side down on a cutting board. Meanwhile, repeat the steps to complete the remaining rolls. Cut each roll into 6 pieces using a very sharp knife dipped lightly in water. Serve immediately.
Replace the takuan with two 7-in (18-cm) strips of kampyo pickled gourd per sushi roll. Shape and cut as directed above.
Miso-Pickled Eggplant Rolls
Replace the takuan with 2 finger-width lengths of Miso-Pickled Eggplant (page 50) per sushi roll. Shape and cut as directed above.
Lotus Rootlet Rolls
Replace takuan with 2 brined lotus rootlets (available in jars at your local Asian market) per sushi roll. If desired, add thinly sliced green onion (scallion). Roll and cut as directed above.