My cookbook, WASHOKU: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2005) provides a solid foundation to the principles and practice of washoku (balance and harmony) in the kitchen and at table. This workshop page enables me to guide you further.  ENJOY!  

Lesson SIX:


Many culinary cultures wrap and roll, envelope and encase, one food in another. Cooks around the world seem to have discovered, independently, that winding one edible item around another produces interesting layers of flavor and texture. Japan’s contribution to the genre of rolled foods is makimono, literally the “wound thing.” In Japan rolled foods are thought of as auspicious – those who eat them are enveloped in happiness.

In WASHOKU there are several recipes that call for winding or rolling: the Pork Swirls pictured below, left (recipe on page 263), Buckwheat Noodle Roll pictured below, center (recipe on page 174), and Rolled Sushi Two Ways, pictured below right (recipe on page 149). In addition, those who have been practicing their skillet-skills making thin omelets (Lesson Three* and page 290) can use your sheets to wrap or enclose seasoned sushi rice to make fukusa-zushi pictured in that lesson.

* Available in the archives. To obtain access to the archives, please register here

Photos (left & center) © Copyright Leigh Beisch, 2005.

Naruto Maki Click below to download

Gingery Chicken and Scallion Spiral Rolls

The Language of Food

Naruto                   Maki    

鳴門      巻き

SPIRAL DESIGN… In the process of rolling one ingredient around others, various patterns can be made. These Gingery Chicken and Scallion Spiral Rolls sport a pattern known as NARUTO, named after the Straits of Naruto that lie between Tokushima Prefecture (on Shikoku Island) and Awaji, a small island in the Inland Sea. In the narrow channel, the waters of the Seto Naikai (Inland Sea) and the Pacific Ocean come together creating a visually dramatic whirlpool. Under some climatic conditions a sound is produced; the calligraphy “naru” (on the left, above) means “crying.” Not unlike Greek legends of sailors shipwrecked due to the alluring call of the Sirens, there are Japanese tales of singing mermaid-like creatures near Naruto Straits.

On menus, or packages of food, when you find the word Naruto you can be sure the food in question displays a swirl. The savory swirling meat rolls I offer you here can be tucked into obentō lunch boxes or served as appetizers; they make a great addition to a buffet spread, too.


I welcome your feedback -- especially captioned photos with a brief description of your kitchen sessions when you try making the recipes above. Those interested in offering feedback, please download
a set of guidelines for submitting and displaying your work.To further teaching goals, I may post some of the feedback to this site, adding my commentary.