Sushi-Norimaki Recipe

This simple norimaki brings the taste of fermentation back to sushi.

From “Fermented Vegetables”
January 2015

  • Sushi has been a staple in Asian cuisine for centuries.
    Photo by Erin Kunkel
  • Preserve food’s flavor and nutritive value with “Fermented Vegetables” by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey.
    Cover courtesy Storey Publishing

Yield: Serves 4

Fermented foods are enjoying a surge in popularity. Create delicious kimchis, krauts, pickles and more with the help of Fermented Vegetables (Storey, 2014). Kirsten and Christopher Shockey make this age-old tradition easy for health-conscious home cooks with a variety of beautifully illustrated recipes. The following recipe is for Sushi-Norimaki.

This book can be purchased from the Mother Earth Living store: Fermented Vegetables.

The first sushi was packaging for fermented fish. Cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey explains that records from sixth-century China describe preserving raw fish by wrapping it in boiled rice. Amino acids from the fermenting fish and lactic acids from the fermenting rice preserved the fish for as long as several years. The rice was thrown away when the fish was eaten. The same type of recipe showed up in eighth-century Japan, and eight centuries later the Japanese began eating both fish and rice that had been pickled over a few days. In the nineteenth century, vinegar replaced fermentation in the rice and fresh fish completed the transformation to the sushi we enjoy today.

Here, fermented vegetables bring the taste of fermentation back to sushi. This simple rolled sushi — norimaki — is made with a sheet of nori seaweed spread with vinegared rice and a line of filling.

Gluten-Free | Vegan

Sushi-Norimaki Recipe


Vingared Rice (Sumeshi)
• 1 cup sushi rice
• 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt

Any fermented vegetables (whatever you have on hand), such as fermented carrot sticks, fermented shiso leaves, or kimchi.

• 4 sheets nori
• 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
• 1–2 tablespoons pickled ginger
• 1–2 tablespoons wasabi paste
• Shoyu or soy sauce


1. For the vinegared rice: Soak the rice in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes; drain.

2. Transfer the rice to a saucepan and add 1 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. (Note: The trick is not to remove the lid and yet know when the water has been absorbed; do your best, removing the lid to check quickly once.)

3. When the rice is cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside, covered, to rest for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl until dissolved.

5. Place the rice in a shallow dish or casserole. Sprinkle the vinegar solution over the rice, then fold it in. Allow the rice to cool to tepid before you begin to roll.

6. Prepare your choice of pickled vegetables; you will want 1/2-inch-long matchstick pieces.

7. To assemble and roll the norimaki: Cut each sheet of nori in half crosswise. Lay a nori sheet on a sushi rolling mat. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the rice on the middle of the sheet, spreading it evenly over the surface; leave a 1/2-inch margin on one side.

8. Sprinkle a thin line of sesame seeds along the center of the rice. Arrange the pickled veggies on top.

9. Pick up the mat, keeping your vegetables centered, then roll the mat over to meet the other side. Press and roll the mat over your roll lightly. The roll will stick together from the moisture in the rice. When the roll is tight, cut it into 6 even pieces.

10. Repeat the steps to assemble and cut the remaining 3 rolls. Arrange all the pieces on a plate and serve with pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and shoyu.

Find more recipes and learn about the health benefits of fermented foods in Vegetable Fermentation.

Fermentista’s Tip: Storing Leftover Norimaki

The vinegar, which was added to this evolving recipe in the nineteenth century to replace the fermented rice, does provide a measure of preservation. Rolls should never be put in the refrigerator, as the rice will get hard. Keep them in an airtight container in a cool spot if you don’t intend to eat them immediately, for up to 1 day

Excerpted from Fermented Vegetables (c) Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey. Photography by (c) Erin Kunkel. Used with permission of Storey Publishing. Purchase this book from our store: Fermented Vegetables.

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