Wednesday, March 14, 2007

California Rolls - How to Make Sushi Rolls

Sushi is my absolute favorite food but I did not always love it. In my teenage years I was appalled by the thought of eating something raw so I only ate "cooked" sushi, such as the California roll. The California roll represents my stepping stone into the world of sushi and it's something that I am still very fond of.

Maki (sushi roll) is fun and easy to make at home. The only equipment required is a bamboo rolling mat. I purchased mine at an Asian market for a little over $1. Nori (toasted seaweed layer) can be also be purchased at Asian markets. You can experiment with many different ingredients to fill your sushi rolls.

California Roll
4 C cooked sushi rice
6 sheets nori
8 oz imitation crab meat
1 large ripe hass avocado, 1/2 in sticks
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into sticks

bamboo mat
bowl of water
rice paddle/spatula

toasted white sesame seeds

Prepare sushi rice.

Cut the avocado and cucumber into strips. I peel the cucumber then cut it in half lengthwise and deseed with a small spoon, then each half into quarters, and finally each quarter in half again for 8 strips of cucumber.

You can use imitation crab chunks or sticks. Sticks are a bit easier to manage but for you can cut each chunk and half and line them up. Although imitation crab meat is usually ready to eat, I like to blanch it in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute to bring it up to a warmer temperature.

Optional step: toasting nori sheets
Hold a sheet of nori with tongs and pass it over a medium heat burner a few seconds each side. Nori burns very easily so be careful when doing this. This will help the nori stay crisp after adding the rice.

Place a sheet of nori shiny side down on a bamboo mat. If there are any lines on the nori they should be horizontal (the longer side of the nori sheet should be horizontal). Spread 2/3 C of sushi rice on 3/4 of the nori; it is easiest to use a paddle or spatula but you can use your hands (wet your hands with water before spreading the rice otherwise it'll stick everywhere). The rice should be spread to the bottom, left, and right edges but not all the way up to the top. Room is left on top for sealing the roll later.

Place filling (cucumber, avocado, and imitation crab strips) on the rice about 3 in from the bottom of the sheet.

Using the bamboo mat, roll the bottom of the sheet tightly over the filling. Continue to roll keeping the mat as tight as possible, pulling back the mat as you go, until you reach the top of the nori sheet where there is no rice. Use some water and dab along the top to wet the nori sheet then finish your roll. The water will help seal the roll.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll down the middle. Then cut rolls about 1 1/2 wide from the middle to the edges. Usually the edges are uneven, with bits of filling sticking out, so I eat those myself before I serve the sushi (a little snack for the cook) or you can push the filling back in and serve those rolls with the end face down to hide the imperfection.

Yields: 6 maki logs, around 40 rolls
Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger

Other sushi rolls that I like to make at home are the Philidelphia/Seattle roll (salmon, cream cheese, avocado or cucumber) and the Unagi/roasted eel roll (unagi, egg, cucumber). Feel free to mix and match with whatever you like.

A different rolling guide and instructional video for making sushi rolls from Food Network.

Another maki sushi link from Coconut & Lime.


Anonymous said...

your instructions were perfect and easy to follow!

Anonymous said...

I recently started thinking about seriously making sushi at my house. I even bought some great sushi knives I am landlocked so the fish market pickings are slim, and I wondered if anyone had tips for vegetarian sushi ideas. Thanks


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