Temari Sushi 手まり寿司

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  • Celebrate happy occasions with these colorful ball-shaped Temari Sushi! Easily the prettiest sushi you can make at home. They make the perfect sushi to serve if you’re hosting a party or potluck. 

    Temari sushi on a plate.

    Here are the cutest and daintiest sushi you can easily make at home – Temari Sushi or Temarizushi (手まり寿司). Adorned with a variety of colorful toppings, these sushi balls are often served during happy occasions like Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day) in Japan.

    What is Temari Sushi?

    Temari (手毬), which means “handball” in English, is a traditional Japanese embroidered ball, which people used to play with. 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)

    As you may have guessed, Temari Sushi was named after these brightly colored Temari balls. A fine example of food imitates everyday objects.

    Temari sushi in a black lacquer box.

    How to Make Temari Sushi

    Temari Sushi basically consists of 2 parts:

    • sushi rice as the base
    • ingredients of your choice as the toppings

    1) Make perfect sushi rice:

    For all sushi, the rice is just as important as the toppings or fillings. Once you master the secret of making the rice, you will be ready to dish up all kinds of mouth-watering sushi recipes. So start with this step-by-step sushi rice guide.

    2) Choose your ingredients:

    From raw fish to assorted vegetables, you can literally work with an array of ingredients for Temari Sushi.

    If you love raw fish, pick the freshest sashimi-grade seafood like salmon, tuna, and tai (sea bream).

    Not a fan of raw fish? Use boiled shrimp, smoked salmon, boiled crab, grilled meat, or anything that’s cooked.

    For vegetarian or vegan, you can make Temari Sushi with your favorite vegetables.  They can be fresh, grilled or roasted.

    You can also layer the ingredients with thinly sliced cucumber, avocado, kinshi tamago (shredded eggs), and herbs to make the sushi more colorful.

    Temari sushi on a plate.

    Tips to Make The Prettiest Temari Sushi 

    Here are some useful tips to dress up your Temari Sushi:

    • Use contrasting colors like red (tuna) and green (avocado).
    • Think textures. Ingredients such as octopus sashimi, kinshi tamago (shredded egg crepes) are great for creating textures.
    • Make use of translucent ingredients such as super thinly sliced cucumber and tai (sea bream). When you place other ingredients underneath these materials, it creates a unique sheer to the presentation.
    • Decorate Temari Sushi with colorful garnish that pops such as ikura (salmon roe), flower-shaped carrots, nori (seaweed) strips, thinly sliced lemon, chives, or microgreens.
    • The key is to mix, match and layer.

    Unlike nigiri sushi or sushi rolls, you don’t need any practice or expert skill to make Temari Sushi. The sushi balls will naturally form a nice round shape with the help of plastic wrap. You don’t even have to worry about getting your hands sticky.

    As you can see, the possibilities are endless for Temari Sushi. Let your creativity shines and has fun making homemade Temari Sushi!

    Temari sushi in a black lacquer box.

    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 Salmon + Lemon
    Shrimp + Ikura
    Avocado + Tuna
    Lotus Root + Carrot
    Shiso + Lotus Root + Carrot
    Egg + Nori Seaweed + Ikura
    Hamachi (yellowtail) + Kaiware Daikon
    Salmon + Ikura

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.83 from 17 votes
    Temari sushi on a plate.
    Temari Sushi
    Prep Time
    30 mins
    Cook Time
    30 mins
    Total Time
    1 hr

    Celebrate happy occasions with these colorful ball-shaped Temari Sushi! Easily the prettiest sushi you can make at home or bring to a party or potluck!

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: rice ball, sushi
    Servings: 4 (28 Temari Sushi)
    Author: Nami
    Your Selection of Sashimi:
    1. Remove the part of lotus root to make it look like flower pattern.
      Temari Sushi 3
    2. Cut out carrot slices to look like flowers.

      Temari Sushi 4
    3. In a small saucepan, bring Seasoning to a boil and add lotus root and carrot. Cook until soft.
      Temari Sushi 5
    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.

      Temari Sushi 6
    5. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the scale and measure 30g (2 Tbsp) of sushi rice and make a round ball. Transfer to a plate and measure the next batch. Make sure to cover the rice ball with saran wrap and sushi rice with the damp towel to prevent the rice from drying.

      Temari Sushi 7
    6. Cut Sashimi into thin slices.
      Temari Sushi 8
    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.
      Temari Sushi 9
    8. Continue with other ingredients.
      Temari Sushi 10
    9. Garnish with ikura, kaiware daikon, and other miniature greens.
    Recipe Notes

    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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