Makes 6 rolls (36 pieces)
To make dressing
Place sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over moderate heat until golden and seeds begin to jump. Grind in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Combine with soy sauce and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. If mixture is too thick, add a little water, stock or sake.
Cut each nori sheet in half lengthwise, parallel with the lines marked on the rough side. Place one half nori sheet lengthwise on bamboo mat about 3 slats from the edge closest to you, shiny side down. Dip both hands in finger bowl, shaking off excess. Spread one sixth of rice evenly over nori, leaving a ¾ inch (2cm) strip on long side farthest away uncovered. Gently rake fingers across grains to spread rice.
Build a small mound of rice along edge nearest the uncovered nori strip to help keep fillings in place.
Spread sesame dressing across centre of rice. Arrange slices of red pepper and asparagus along centre making sure they extend completely to each end so there will be filling in the end pieces when cut. Using your index finger and thumb, pick up edge of bamboo mat nearest you. Place remaining fingers over fillings to hold them as you roll mat forward tightly, wrapping rice and nori around fillings. The strip of nori without rice should still be visible.
Press gently and continue rolling forward to complete roll. Gently press mat to shape and seal roll. Unroll mat and place roll on cutting board with seam on bottom.
Wipe a sharp knife with a damp cloth and cut roll in half. Pick up one half roll and turn it 180 degrees so cut ends are on the same side. Cut rolls to make 6 pieces, wiping knife between cuts. Repeat for remaining rolls. Serve with remaining wasabi and soy sauce.
Recipe from The Complete Book of Sushi, By Hideo Dekura, Brigid Treloar and Ryuichi Yoshii, Published by Apple Press. Click here to buy the book.
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