Learn how to make sushi rolls at home and experience the "Setsubun" tradition!
What is "Setsubun"?
The word Setsubun (節分) literally means the division of two seasons: Winter and Spring. Setsubun involves a lot of bean eating and bean throwing to ward off evil spirits that bring disaster, misfortune, and bad health. It also marks the end of winter. It is celebrated at home but some famous public events at temples are fun to xvisit as well.
Rituals vary throughout Japan, but one of the more common and well-known rituals is Mame-maki (豆まき) Bean Throwing. People throw roasted soybeans called Fukuyama (福豆) Fortune Beans outside the house or at an Oni (鬼) Demon to drive away the bad spirits/bad luck. Oftentimes, one of the house member wear Oni Mask, and kids throw beans at Oni.
Another famous ritual is eating Ehou-maki (恵方巻き) sushi rolls. Ehou-Maki means “lucky direction roll” and it is a sushi roll that is specially eaten on Setsubun day. Its name comes from the tradition of eating whole/uncut sushi rolls facing towards the Ehou (恵方) "lucky direction”. Each year has a different Ehou and this year 2023 is 南南東 “south-southeast”.
We will show you how to make Ehomaki sushi rolls.
Watch To See How Ehou-Maki Is Made
Ehou-Maki Sushi Roll Recipe
You can use any fillings you like for Ehou-Maki just like any other sushi roll! Traditionally, use 7 fillings for good luck for the Ehou-Maki but substitute or add your favorite filling to make it fun.
Sushi Rice 2 Cups Short Grain Rice 2 1/4 cups Water 4 Tbsp Sushi Vinegar
Assemble Sushi Roll 4 Whole Nori Sheets 2 Eggs (For Atsuyaki Tamago/Japanese Omelette) 1 Japanese Cucumber (Quartered lengthwise) 1 Pkg Seasoned Kanpyo 4 Kanikama (Half lengthwise) 1/2 Cup Sliced Shiitake (cooked with soy sauce and mirin) 3 Tbsp Tobikko or Masago Seasoned Fish Eggs 1/2 Bunch of leafy greens such as Yu-choi, Komatsuna or Spinach
Tool Bamboo Sushi Mat
Sushi Rice 1. Cook 2 cups of Japanese rice in a rice cooker. 2. When the rice is done, pour the sushi vinegar over your rice and quickly but gently mix. Try not to smash rice grains. Allow sushi rice to cool slightly.
Fillings 1. Cut quartered Cucumber and Seasoned Kanpyo in a similar length to Nori width. Cut Kanikama in half. 2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the leafy greens for 1 minute. Drain and rinse in cold water. Squeeze excess water out and seasoned with a little soy sauce. 3. Lightly beat two eggs in a bowl and season with a little salt and sugar. Pour egg mixture into the heated pan to make "Atsuyaki Tamago" Japanese omelet. Cool the omelet and cut it into 1/4-inch square sticks. 4. Cook sliced Shiitake mushrooms with 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp mirin sweet rice wine.
Assemble Ehou-Maki 1. Place one sheet of nori, shiny side down, on a bamboo sushi mat. 2. Gently spread a thin layer of sushi rice on top, leaving about the top inch of seaweed empty. 3. Arrange the prepared ingredients on the rice slightly below the center of the sushi mat. Fillings should not take up more than 1-1.5 inches of space on your sushi mat. 4. Lift the bottom edge of the sushi mat while holding the fillings with your fingers, then carefully start rolling. 5. Gently press down over the sushi mat once you finish rolling it into a cylinder shape. 6. Repeat with the remaining. 7. Traditionally, Ehou-Maki is eaten uncut but you may cut rolls into one bite-size for your children or elders to avoid choking.