Temari Sushi 手まり寿司

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Temari Sushi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

One of the easiest and the cutest sushi that you can make at home is called Temari Sushi (手まり寿司).

These colorful ball-shape sushi with various toppings are often served during happy occasions like Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day) in Japan.

Temari Sushi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

What’s Temari Sushi?

First of all, let me explain what’s temari?  Temari (literally means “hand ball” in English) is a traditional Japanese embroidered ball, which people used to play with in Japan.  These days, temari balls are treated more as decorative ornaments in the house rather than a children’s toy.

TemariBallsTemari Balls made by 90 year old lady in Japan
Photo Courtesy of NanaAkua (click for more photos)

Temari Sushi was named after these temari balls as temari sushi’s round shape and colorful toppings resemble them.

Temari sushi basically consists of 2 parts: the bottom part with sushi rice and top part with ingredients of your choice.

Temari Sushi Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com

Ingredients for Temari Sushi

If you love sushi, use your favorite sashimi (raw fish) as the topping.  Sashimi fish like salmon, tuna, tai (sea bream) work great!

If you are not a fan of raw fish, use boiled shrimp, smoked salmon, boiled crab, grilled meat, or anything that’s cooked.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can make temari sushi with your favorite vegetables.  They can be grilled/roasted first (so they are tender), or use fresh vegetables as well.

Whether you use fish or not, you can always layer the ingredients with cucumber, avocado, kinshi tamago (shredded eggs) and herbs to make it more colorful.

How to Make Temari Sushi

Unlike nigiri sushi or sushi rolls, you don’t need to master the art of making sushi to make this temari sushi.  Here are the basic guidelines.

Very easy right?  You don’t need to worry about your hands getting sticky with rice or having uneven shapes because your sushi ball will naturally become nice ball shape with the plastic wrap.

Temari Sushi | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Tips to Make Your Temari Sushi Even More Beautiful

Here are some useful tips to dress up your temari sushi.

  • Use contrasting colors like red (tuna) and green (avocado).
  • Use ingredients with texture, like octopus sashimi and kinshi tamago (shredded egg crepes).
  • Use translucent ingredients such as super thinly sliced cucumber and tai (sea bream). If you put ingredients underneath these materials, you can still see through.
  • Garnish temari sushi with ikura (salmon roe), flower-shape cutout carrot, nori (seaweed) strips, super thinly sliced lemon, chives, kaiware daikon (radish sprout), or microgreens.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different kind of ingredients and try layering them.  Let your creativity side shine and have fun making homemade temari sushi!

Temari Sushi Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com

From top, left to right:

Egg + Shiso + Carrot
Avocado + Tuna
Smoked Salmon + Lemon
Egg + Nori Seaweed + Ikura
Shiso + Ikura
Uni (sea urchin) + Nori Seaweed + Ikura
Shiso + Tai (Sea Bream)
Sakura Denbu + Shiso,
Smoked Samon + Lemon
Shrimp + Ikura
Avocado + Tuna
Lotus Root + Carrot
Shiso + Lotus Root + Carrot
Egg + Nori Seaweed + Ikura
Hamachi (yellowtail) + Kaiware Daikon
Salmon + Ikura

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Temari Sushi
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 (28 Temari Sushi)
  • Sushi Rice
  • ½ inch lotus root
  • ½ inch carrot
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 lemon slices
  • ¼ avocado
  • ¼ cup Sakura Denbu
  • ½ sheet of nori seaweed
  • 3 shiso (Perilla)
  • Kaiware daikon (radish shoot) for garnish
  • ½ cup dashi stock
  • 1 tsp. sake
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. usukuchi (light color) soy sauce (or replace with 1 tsp. regular soy sauce + ¼ tsp. salt)
  • A pinch of salt
Your Selection of Sashimi
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Tai (Sea Bream)
  • Hamachi (Yellowtail)
  • Uni (Sea Urchin)
  • You can also use cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, etc.
  • For US residents, you can buy sashimi grade raw fish at Catalina Offshore Products.
  1. Remove the part of lotus root to make it look like flower pattern.
  2. And cut out the carrot slices to look like flower.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring Seasoning to a boil and add lotus root and carrot. Cook until soft.
  4. In a non-stick frying pan heat oil over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk egg and salt together. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and make sure the egg is spread evenly. Flip once the bottom side is cooked. When the egg is cooked, take it out and chiffonade the egg into thin strips.
  5. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of scale and measure 30g (2 Tbsp) of sushi rice and make a round ball. Transfer to a plate and measure next batch. Make sure to cover the rice ball with saran wrap and sushi rice with the damp towel to prevent from the rice drying.
  6. Cut Sashimi into thin slices.
  7. Place a sheet of plastic wrap and lay down the sashimi of your choice. Put the sushi rice ball on top, wrap the saran wrap around the rice ball. Twist and close the wrap tightly make a ball shape.
  8. Continue with other ingredients.
  9. Garnish with ikura, kaiware daikon, and other miniature greens.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
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  1. Nami, these are just way too adorable! I also feel a bit gitty because I got a preview of your posting a couple of weeks ago! Hope you had a wonderful weekend, Trini and I had an all girls weekend because Jon went camping with a couple of guys, he’s starting a new job today and we thought it would be good for him to take a short trip and explore the great outdoors, the weather was beautiful and they really enjoyed themselves! Trini and I hung out, went to a fun birthday party and visited my parents, I didn’t do much work at all and just chilled! So yes we definitely enjoyed a great couple of days also. Hope you have a great week!

  2. Hi Nami! I’m blown away by your Temari sushi!! What a cute idea, and every single one looks so playful, beautiful, and delicious at the same time! Lotus root is such a great ingredient for these here. The pattern is just naturally beautiful.

    By the way, I love the recipe index!! It’s like an online magazine. Great job to both you and your husband on that one.

  3. Sandra

    This is amazing Nami, you are so talented. And congrats on having your recipe on celebrations.com
    I love that site and will look for you there.

  4. Susie

    Everything you make always looks amazing. My mother has seen your blog when I get the email updates and always comments on how good everything looks that you make. I think she would trade me for you at least for one dinner lol.

  5. Tracey

    Nami-san, Dumb question… Do we leave the balls of goodness wrapped in plastic wrap until we eat them? I would think so because they’d come apart in transit, but I just want to make sure.

    • Hi Tracey-san! :-) Good question! If you make the temari sushi really tight, it won’t break so easily and it will actually stays for a long time. However, it’s better off to keep it wrapped until you serve so that rice and fish (or other ingredients) won’t dry up. Thanks for asking! :-)

  6. Nami – welcome back :) First of all, I love this temari sushi – and will definitely be attempting to make it! Secondly, i have had a quick peak at your recipe index and it looks fantastic. What a great idea – it really has made your menu so accessible to people who may not be so familar to Japanese food. I love it. All that hard work has paid off X

  7. Mika

    I need to make 4 orders for this Sushi!!!

    I checked your recipe Index. Some reasons some charaters are under pictures and can’t read. I’m wondering if this is just for my computer setting… Other than that, it looks super cool!

  8. Nami, these are just works of art! What beautiful sushi!!! Great tutorial, too.

    PS…nice work with your recipe index. Your blog is so well done :)

  9. These are so beautiful!! You are so incredibly talented. I don’t care what you say about not needing a ton of skill, mine would not come out nearly as gorgeous. I love the story behind them as well. And congrats on being featured on celebrations.com!! Well deserved.

    Also I LOVE the recipe index – it looks great!! I’ve been wanting to do something similar and haven’t been able to find a plugin for WordPress. Did you use a Plugin or was this just coded by your husband?

    • I was hoping there’s a plugin, but couldn’t find it – it’s coded by my husband. Hope someone will make a plugin for food blogger’s recipe index!

  10. Nami, this is wonderful! You’re so gifted! I dream about making sushi of my own…
    But at least tonight I had for the first time a decent susghi and a decent Japanese meal at a local restaurant… but nothing compared to your meal! :)

  11. Wow wow wow!!!! Love it! So creative Nami…such little pieces of art and they look perfect! Thanks for introducing temari sushi to us. I’ve never come across them before.

  12. OMG!!!!! Nami!!! These sushi are amazing and soooo lovely. I can’t bear to eat these. And thanks for all the details steps hope i can lay my hand in making a few too. I love the avocado topping . Great!!! Thumb up for all.

  13. Nami, it is so lovely done and I know it is sure to be delicious; because I love sushi! Hope one day I can give this a try too. Really gorgeous looking sushi.

  14. Nami, you amaze me, you impress me, I have no words to say what I thought when I opened this post! I cannot believe these are home-made sushi, or rather I can believe, given that they are featured on your blog! You are capable of making miracles!
    I have never heard of temari sushi. It is so cute and creative! (and sounds very difficult…) Each ball looks completely different, real masterpieces. I think you would win any sushi contest in the world. Please promise me, you will put this photo (or photos) in your printed cookery book.
    Congratulations for guest post, but I think it was rather a huge honour for them to publish such amazing photos and recipe!
    I love the new recipe index. When I think that I don’t have even a basic one… (I started of a couple of months ago and then stopped).
    Congratulations Martha!

  15. Nami, you are such an inspiration! Well done to you and your hubby on getting your site all sorted out and congratulations on being featured on celebrations.com.
    Your sushi and step by step photography is beyond remarkable – absolutely brilliant!
    Have a happy day.
    :-) Mandy

  16. I wish my husband knew what he was doing when it came to writing code! Because I do a whole boring, cut and paste jobby on my index and it’s not even finished. Beautiful sushi!

  17. I think I’ll “never” surprise again reading ur blog post, becoz as I can imagine u’ll always post a tasty recipe with great photos following it, but now… look at that!!
    amazing sushi – stunning photos!!
    Tq for sharing the recipe nami, even I’m not win the giveaway still happy for the winner 😀
    TQ!! 😉

  18. Nami, these are so pretty and creative! You are so talented! Congratulations on being featured on celebrations.com. I must say I love the new recipe index. It is so much easier to browse for recipes now. Thank you!

  19. Ohhhh Nami! This sushi looks fantastic! I love your presentation… it is just so beautiful!!! Amazing job… it looks like a painting!!! :-)

    Great job also on your archives… I know how time consuming it is… I am doing some work on that too and it is taking me forever… and I am not even doing any coding (I would have no idea how to do that! LOL)!!! :-)

  20. Wow, Nami. These are incredible. What gorgeous colours and flavours. Congrats on the article and well done on the recipe index. What amazing work and great team you both make! Lol – “just cut and paste”. Yeh, right. 😉

  21. Pretty sure my jaw just dropped, Nami. That sushi is so perfect it almost doesn’t look real. Someone needs to put these photos in a magazine right now! Absolutely gorgeous. xx

  22. Nami, you must be kidding when you say “casual”…they are so cute and elaborate…love the pictures and would love to try them out.
    Thanks for this nice post and have a great week :-)

  23. They are just such gorgeous little things! Almost too pretty to eat…but not really. They are surely all so delicious. Using cling film is such a nifty trick. Good job, Nami.

  24. Oh my gosh, those are just precious darlings, Nami!!! And congrats!!!! I can’t think of anyone who deserves the honor more than you. You put so much passion and effort into your blog, and it shines. It’s seriously one of my favorites. <3 <3

  25. Great job on your recipe index, Nami…and a big congratulations on being featured on celebrations.com! I love the look of your temari sushi! They’re so festive and colorful just like the temari balls!

  26. Oh my gosh, these are like little works of art, Nami! Your attention to details brings tears to my eyes…I mean it. The temari sushi look too beautiful to eat! I’ve missed so many wonderful posts on your blog, I know you took a week off, but didn’t realize the week was up so quickly. Love the recipe index, btw!

  27. Hi! I wanted to ask if I could use the beautiful pictures in this post for my blog. I read in your About Me that you wanted to be informed if people used your work, so please let me know if I should take down the pictures. Thank you!

  28. I am just planning a Brazilian-Japanese fusion sushi dish for one of my next posts. This will be one interesting dish…It will be delicious although not as artsy as yours. I intend to use your sushi rice recipe, if you permit. Have a blessed week!

    • Hi Katy! If you use sushi rice (vinegared rice, not just steamed rice), it lasts longer due to the use of vinegar. But I’d say 1 – 1 1/2 days… Rice gets harden in fridge, so cover with dish cloth and then store in fridge. That way rice won’t get hard. :) Hope that helps!

  29. dyah

    Hi Nami san, you are realy amazing, I’m so impressed. Very beautiful dish, simple, atractive, colourful, and delicious. Thanks fou your amazing recipe.

  30. Jenny

    lovely! your blog is outstandig. just discovered and now i’m totally flashed. will come back soon and try some recipes!
    thanx Nami