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Dish of the Day: Unagi Temaki

Dish of the Day: Unagi Temaki

Image Credit to: Hosokawa

Dish of the Day: Unagi Temaki

Temaki translates to te (hand) and maki (rolled) sushi and is often addressed as a hand roll. This is because the rice and fillings are rolled in seaweed and eaten by hand. It is in the form of a cone-shaped seaweed, with all the other ingredients overflowing from the top. This dish is suitable to be an appetiser in parties and various events. A temaki tastes better when prepared fresh and eaten right after, compared to those pre-made. 

It is easy to make where one just has to prepare all the ingredients separately and combine them together. You just have to prepare the vinegared sushi rice and prepared fillings on the table. Each person can make his own preferred temaki using their desired mix of ingredients.

What is the difference between temaki and maki?

Temaki is wrapped into a cone with half a seaweed sheet while maki (or makimono) is rolled into a cylinder using a full sheet of nori and a makisu bamboo rolling mat. Unlike temaki, which is simple to prepare, maki requires spreading the sushi rice, arranging the ingredients, rolling with a mat and cutting into 6 or 8 pieces depending on the width. Temaki is generally a type of maki, with the “te” meaning hand, indicating it as a hand roll instead.

What is an unagi temaki?

An unagi temaki consists typically of grilled eel, omelette, fish roe, cucumber and mayonnaise. The crispy nori seaweed and fresh fillings will definitely amaze your tastebuds.

History of temaki

The history of sushi initially started centuries ago in Japan, with the method of preserving fish. Narezsushi was the original sushi that was made with freshwater carp. Some restaurants in Japan still serve this authentic dish. A chef by the name, Yohei transformed the fermentation method in the 1900s, serving it with Japanese rice. This resulted in two vibrant styles of sushi, which is the Kansai-style originating from Osaka and Edo-style from Tokyo. Edo style is the basis of the nigirizushi, which is the more prominent version of sushi across the globe. This transformation led to many other variants of sushi, including temaki, which was first recorded between 1980 and 1985.

Types of temaki

The ingredients in a temaki have a wide variety using your favourite vegetables or cooked ingredients such as tempura shrimp, grilled unagi, salmon or teriyaki chicken. The popular choices for meat lovers include a combination of kimchi and kalbi, or prawn and avocado; while those that favour fish can go with spicy tuna salad or salmon with cucumbers. Vegetarian options are also available when meat is replaced with leafy greens, crispy cucumbers, carrots, enoki mushrooms, fried omelette (tamago) or shiitake mushrooms.

How to eat temaki sushi

The best and easiest way to eat a temaki is by hand, immediately after preparing to preserve the crispiness of the nori. It is generally served on a rack, not on a plate. No chopsticks are used, as the ingredients could fall off of it. One may dip some soy sauce when eating a temaki. Remember not to pour the soy sauce over the temaki as this will make the nori and rice soggy. Dip and bite until you are done with the temaki.

Where to find temaki in Malaysia

A temaki can be found in all Japanese establishments in Malaysia. It can also be found in fusion restaurants and Japanese food stalls.

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Article Written By Anna

Anna is an absolute foodie, and lives by the motto that food is happiness. She is a writer by day and a gamer by night. She believes that good food comes from all over and is constantly amazed by the passion and dedication it takes to make food that warms the soul.

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