Asparagus Maki Sushi

As you might have already noticed here, messy and clumsy – but delicious – maki sushi are my speciality. They are cheap, quick, healthy and if I don’t put too much rice, they are also very light. They offer an endless list of combinations, not necessarily with extremely fresh raw fish, difficult to have where I live. I have already written (click here) about the most frequent maki (or precisely futomaki) fillings I prepare, namely canned tuna+gochujang+mayonnaise, avocado+cucumber  and avocado+cucumber+canned tuna mixture. I must say these are the most frequent versions of my maki sushi, but I like to change the filling according to what I have in the fridge. Some using-up – leftovers combinations are surprisingly good.

Recently I have been admiring the infinite variety of sushi and maki sushi on the Shizuoka Gourmet blog, which has become the source of my virtual culinary  trips to Japan (or rather to the Shizuoka prefecture!). A couple of days ago, while browsing through the impressing variety of temaki sushi, I found an excellent idea for a new maki sushi filling. (Temaki sushi, ?????, include nori seaweed, rice and some kind of filling, like maki sushi, but they are cone-shaped,  rolled in hand and eaten in hand.) The temaki filling which particularly appealed to me was composed of  dried bonito/tuna (katsuobushi ?????) flakes, mayonnaise and asparagus, one of my beloved vegetables. Even though I am a big fan of shaved bonito, I would never dare combining it with asparagus. I needn’t have worried, since its smoky taste was perfect. I added grilled white sesame seeds (I add them wherever I can) and my maki sushi were so good, I made them twice in hardly a couple of days and have mentally put them on the top of my maki fillings’ list. Oh, and they are probably the most beautiful maki rolls I have ever prepared. Thank you, Robert-Gilles, for this wonderful idea! I start seriously worrying about the end of the asparagus season…

I always prefer maki with less rice, but if you prefer the “standard” rice amount, count 500g rice and not 350g.

Special equipment:

rice cooker (unless you know how to cook the rice in a ?normal? pan)

maki rolling mat or a special futomaki roller

Preparation: 20 minutes (+ 1 hour for rice cooking and cooling)

Ingredients (serves 2 ? 3):

5 nori seaweed sheets

350g sushi rice (or 500g if you prefer more rice in your maki)

Rice mixture:

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt


15 green thin asparagus spears (about 1 cm diameter), 3 for every nori sheet

25 tablespoons katsuobushi


(grilled white sesame seeds)

soy sauce+wasabi

a bowl of rice vinegar

(marinated ginger)

Cook the rice in the rice cooker (or in a pan if you know how to do it!). Put the hot rice into a bowl and add the rice mixture ingredients. Stir well and leave to cool down.

In the meantime cut off the toughest lower part of the asparagus spears (usually the lower 20%).

Cook the asparagus spears (about 3 minutes) and let them cool down.

When the rice has cooled down to the room temperature (it can?t be completely cold! otherwise it won?t be sticky enough), put a nori sheet vertically on the rolling mat, shiny side down.

With fingers dipped in a bowl of rice vinegar spread 1/5th of the rice evenly, leaving a 1 cm gap on the top, far edge.

Arrange the filling ingredients on the rice, in a horizontal line, close to the bottom edge.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Roll the maki starting from the bottom edge, gently pressing after each turn.

Moist the upper edge with rice vinegar before doing the last turn.

Press gently the roll and put it aside.

In order to obtain more or less similarly sized pieces, cut the roll first in two parts, then put them in a row and cut them in two parts, etc..

(It is easier to cut maki rolls with a moist knife blade.)

Arrange them on a plate and serve with wasabi, soy sauce and marinated ginger.

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