A Fabulous Make Your Own Hand Roll Party
A roll your own hand roll sushi party has become THE go to sushi party. The reason? For very minimal effort on the part of the guests as well as the hosts, this style sushi party is just as entertaining as it is easy. Guests are provided with a communal bowl of prepared sushi rice as well as an assortment of ingredients and are allowed to create their own custom sushi rolls. Hand rolls don’t require utensils, so this style party is great for stand up affairs, particularly parties where constant snacking is encouraged. And because hand rolls can be filling, the need for other foods is greatly minimized. Salty edamame, a fantastic salad and dumplings as well as an assortment of ice cold beers is usually sufficient to supplement the hand rolls.
Learning about hand rolls. First, learn a little about hand rolls. Hand rolls are the original fast food. Sushi rice is placed on a crisp sheet of nori and topped with a few choice fillings. The nori is then wrapped up like an ice cream cone. Voila – sushi in about 45 seconds! The entire roll, nori wrapper and all, is eaten right away while still crisp. The roll isn’t cut and is eaten much like a burrito. No chopsticks, no knives, very little mess!
Deciding how much sushi is needed. People that love sushi, love sushi. If you’re having sushi lovers over for this type of party, count on each person having 4-5 hand rolls in addition to other foods. So for each person, you’ll need at least 5 sheets of nori (4in x7in) and about 2 cups of
Picking the fillings. Choose a variety of fillings that are likely to please. If having raw seafood items, include some cooked as well for those unable or unaccustomed to eating seafood raw. Keep color as well as texture in mind when selecting vegetables. Seasonal foods or an overall theme can help to narrow down choices, but for the most part, anything goes. My personal rule is to have a minimum of 10 fillings and to ensure that my assortment includes sweet, spicy and crisp, refreshing flavors.
And be sure to cut items into easy to manage pieces. Vegetables should be cut into thin strips. Avocados are best left whole to be cut as needed to avoid discoloration. Seafood that has been coarsely chopped is easily applied to rolls with a spoon.
Setting it all up. Place prepared sushi rice in a large ceramic or food safe wooden bowl in the center of the party table and cover with a damp, lint free cloth. Use several bowls if your party is large. For each bowl of rice, fill a slender, attractive container about 1/3 full with water and insert 2 wooden spoons or wooden rice paddles. (Rectangular vases are great for this purpose.) Having several wooden spoons makes it easy for guests to apply sushi rice to their nori without having to use their hands.
To keep nori crisp throughout the party, line the bottom of your display container with a piece of waxed paper. Divide nori into stacks of 5. Cut waxed paper into 8in x 7 in sheets and fold one sheet over each stack before placing them inside the container.
For a dazzling display of the ingredients, fill large bowls (or a large metal bucket) with crushed ice. Tuck clear, disposable plastic glasses into the ice and fill each with a different ingredient. (Ingredients can be replenished throughout the party from the refrigerator. Alternately, have several glasses prefilled and ready to swap as ingredients get low.) Insert spoons in glasses that contain mixes such as spicy tuna. If needed, provide small tongs. To keep guests informed, print ingredient names on clear mailing labels and affix to cups.
For ease and cohesiveness, place soy sauce, spicy mayos, sweetened eel sauces in squirt bottles or glass oil and vinegar jars. To minimize soy sauce spills, provide guests with inexpensive paper snow cone cups. Once a hand roll is placed inside the cup, a little soy sauce may be poured or squirted across the top.
Getting the party started. Those unaccustomed to making their own sushi may need a little help in the beginning. Print step by step photos of the hand roll making process on cardstock and place around the table. (Download my free sushi booklet and photo copy the black and white pictures or print directly from te-maki page for color photos.) Or, take your own step by step photos with a Polaroid camera.
Also, provide inspiration for guests by creating two or three signature rolls. Place a menu with roll ingredients on the table as well as an invitation for guests to concoct their own creations.
Game Day Sushi for 10
Gather a group of friends around the big screen with ice cold beers as you root for your favorite team. Instead of the usual game day snacks, let guests make their own hand rolls during time outs and commercials. (You’re Tivo-ing all the action anyway, right?) No matter what team wins the game, you will have created a winning party tradition!
Cucumbers (2 peeled, seeded and cut into thin sticks)
Spicy Tuna Mix (3 pounds)
Crabsticks (30 imitation crabsticks)
Shrimp (30 pieces, boiled on skewers so that tails remain straightened)
Cooked Bacon (about 25 pieces or 1 package)
Spicy Tofu, Mix only (1 pound)
Romaine lettuce (1 head, washed and cut into 1in x 4 in strips)
Mango (2 mangoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks)
Cream Cheese (8 oz, package, cut into 20 thin strips each placed on waxed paper)
Green Onions (2 bunches finely chopped)
Toasted sesame seeds (about 1 cup)
Masago or your favorite tobikko (about 2 cups)
Tomato wedges (20 wedges)
Smoked salmon (2 pounds, cut into thin strips or coarsely chopped)
Avocados (4 ripe but firm)
Asparagus (1 bunch, blanched and cut into 4 in stalks)
45 sheets of nori (4in x 7in sized)
Edamame (2 bags) in shells, boiled and salted (For extra zing, squeeze a lime half over the bowl.)
Salad on a Stick (Your favorite salad combo served on skewers drizzled with a ginger or mustard vinaigrette. 2 –3 skewers per person)