California Rolls Recipe - American Style Sushi Rolls


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How To Make Perfect California Rolls - How To Make Sushi:

california rolls

Food historians generally credit chef Manashita Ichiro and his assistant, Mashita Ichiro, of the Tokyo Kaikan restaurant in Los Angeles (located on the corner of 2nd and San Pedro) with “inventing” the California roll in the 1970s. The chef, realizing that many Americans did not like the though of eating raw fish, created the now famous California Rolls made with crab, avocado, and cucumbers.

Since then, American sushi chefs have created many variations with unique names such as Spider Roll, Philadelphia Roll, and Rainbow roll. Most people in Japan have never heard of the California Roll, though, and I would advise not trying to order one there.

Making sushi at home is easy to do. Ingredients and equipment can be found at Japanese and Asian foods stores, at most large grocery stores, and online at What's Cooking America's Cooking Store (see green links on right and below).

I did a large amount of reading on how to make sushi rolls before attempting my first ones. Sushi making does requires a small amount of initial practice. Don't be afraid to try! You can use the techniques for making the California Rolls to make other variations with different fillings as sushi rolls are extremely versatile and you can make endless varieties. Think of a sushi roll as a sandwich and it's sure to get your imagination rolling as to what to fill it with. Be creative!  
 



California Rolls - American-Style Sushi Rolls:

Recipe Type: Sushi, Appetizer, Rice
Yield: 40 California Rolls
Rice Soaking Time: 30 minutes
Approximate Total California Rolls Time: 2 hours

sushi making ingredients
Equipment Needed:
Bamboo sushi-roll mat
Clean cutting board
Sushi knife or very sharp knife
Nori seaweed sheets
Rice Cooker (optional)
Wood spoon or plastic rice paddle for spreading rice
Plastic wrap

Rice Ingredients:
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups uncooked Japanese medium-grain sushi rice*
4 cups water

Sushi Ingredients:
5 sheets of sushi nori (seaweed in big squares)**
1 large cucumber
2 to 3 avocados
Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Cooked crab meat or imitation crab sticks***
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)
Soy Sauce
Pickled Ginger

* Only use Japanese medium-grain sushi rice in sushi making. It is a medium-grained rice and gets sticky when it is cooked. Long-grained American rice will not work because it is drier and doesn't stick together. To purchase, see What's Cooking America's Store on right.

** Roasted-Seaweed (Nori)> - Sheets of thin seaweed which is pressed and dried. As a general rule of thumb – good Nori is very dark green, almost black in color. To purchase, see What's Cooking America's Store on right.

*** Imitation crab sticks are the easiest to use. They can be found in Japanese food stores.


Making Sushi Rice:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Heat mixture just until the sugar dissolves (do not let it boil). Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Start preparing the rice approximately 2 hours before you want to make the sushi rolls.

Wash rice, stirring with your hand, until water runs clear. Place rice in a saucepan with water; let soak 30 minutes.

Drain rice in colander and transfer to a heavy pot or Rice Cooker; add 4 cups water. NOTE: To improve the texture of the rice, after rinsing, let the rice drain 30 minutes in the refrigerator before cooking (put the strainer with the rice in a large bowl to catch the water).

If you don't have a rice cooker, place rice and water into a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice rest, covered, for 15 additional minutes.

When rice is done cooking and resting, transfer to a large bowl; loosen rice grains gently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon by cutting and folding (do not stir, as this will crush the rice). NOTE: Either use the rice soon after preparing it, or cover it with a damp cloth to keep it moist. Do not refrigerate the cooked rice.

Sprinkle the cooled rice vinegar mixture over the rice, mixing together as you sprinkle (add enough dressing to coat the rice but not make it damp - you may not need to use all the vinegar dressing). Spread the hot rice on top of a large sheet of aluminum foil and let cool.


Preparing Sushi Ingredients:

Wash, peel, and seed cucumber. Slice in half lengthwise, then cut into long, slender strips.

Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, then remove the pit; cut each section in half again (lengthwise), and carefully remove the peel. Cut the section in long slender strips. Sprinkle the sliced avocado with lemon juice to keep from discoloring.

If you are using snow, crab, remove the crab meat from the thicker portion of the legs and cut in half lengthwise. If you are using imitation crab sticks, remove the plastic wrapping and cut each in half lengthwise.

Place the cucumber slices, avocado slice, and crab slices on a plate; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
 

Making California Rolls:


making california rolls1

(1) Lay the Bamboo sushi-roll mat on a cutting board with bamboo strips going horizontally from you.


making california rolls2

 (2) Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the bamboo mat (shiny side down). Place the Roasted-Seaweed (Nori) on top of the plastic wrap.

 


making california rolls3

(3) Spread a thin layer, 3/4 to 1 cup, of Japanese medium-grain sushi rice over 3/4 of the nori leaving approximately one inch of uncovered nori at each end. It helps to wet your fingers with cold water when you are patting the rice onto the nori.


making california rolls4

(4) Arrange strips of avocado and cucumber along the center of the rice; top with crab meat.


making inside-out sushi roll

Making Inside-Out Rolls -  After spreading the rice on the nori, sprinkle with poppy or roasted sesame seeds. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap on top. Lifting with the bottom plastic wrap, turn over the nori/rice sheet onto the bamboo rolling mat. Remove top plastic wrap and proceed as below.

 


Rolling California Rolls:

Placing your fingers on the ingredients, carefully bring the bottom end of the rolling mat and the plastic wrap up and over the ingredients (tucking the end of the nori to start a roll). Pull back the rolling mat and plastic wrap, as necessary, so it does not get rolled into the sushi. NOTE: Roll tightly with firm pressure.

Continue rolling the sushi and pulling back the rolling mat and plastic wrap, as necessary, until you have approximately 1 to 2 inches of the top of the nori showing. Rub a small amount of cold water on the edge of the nori and bring the nori around so that it completes the sushi roll.

Gently squeeze the rolling mat around the sushi roll until it is firm and forms an even roll (be carefully not to squeeze too hard, as you may crush the ingredients or squeezed them out).

Wrap the plastic wrap around the roll and set aside until ready to cut. Refrigerate or for longer storage. Repeat with remaining nori sheets to make additional rolls.

rolling california rolls

cutting california rolls


Cutting California Rolls:

Place rolls on a flat cutting board and remove plastic wrap. Using a Sushi knife or a sharp knife, slice the sushi roll first down the middle. From there you can cut it into 6ths or 8ths, whichever you prefer (wet the knife between each cut to make it easier to cut and keep the rice from sticking to the knife).

 

Serving California Rolls:

sushi rolls

Turn the cut California rolls on end and arrange on a serving platter or Sushi Plates.

Serve with Wasabi (Japanese Horseradish), soy sauce, Pickled Ginger, and Chop Sticks.

Makes approximately 40 California Rolls.

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Sushi Dining Etiquette:

individual california rollAt most sushi bars, the waitress will offer a hot towel to wash your hands so you can pick up sushi with clean fingers. At home use hot washcloths.

Don't rub your chopsticks together to remove any splinters. It is considered rude!

With your Sushi order, you will be served some pickled ginger, a small mound of wasabi, and soy sauce. Eat a slice of pickled ginger after each variety of sushi to cleanse your palate. It is not proper to mix the wasabi with the soy sauce.

Sushi is meant to be finger food, quick and tasty. It is preferable to eat sushi with ones hands rather than with chopsticks, but both ways are acceptable in America.

Eat the whole sushi roll at once. It is not appropriate to eat part of a piece of sushi and place the other piece back on a plate. Once you have picked something up you should eat all of it. Exception: If the sushi is just too big to eat at once, bite the sushi in half and place the remainder back on the plate.

Do not dip the rice portion of the sushi pieces into the Soy sauce as it becomes too moist and can cause sushi to fall apart. Simply dip the topping or the seaweed (Nori) in the soy sauce before eating.

If a piece of fish is on top of your sushi, put the whole portion in your mouth, holding the sushi so the fish part touches your tongue (turn sushi upside down).
 


 



Sushi Combination Ideas:


Boston Rolls:

Scallion
Crab
Salmon

Egg Salad Rolls:
Hard-Cooked Eggs & Mayo
Green Onion Strips

Holiday Rolls:
Cranberry Salsa
Turkey Strips
Cream Cheese Strips

New York Rolls:
Sliced Apple
Sliced Avocado
Smoked Salmon

Pesto Rolls:
Pesto
Turkey or Chicken Strips
Cream Cheese Strips

Philadelphia Rolls:
Smoked Salmon (thin sliced)
Cucumber, cut into strips
Cream Cheese, cut in long, thin strips

Smoked Salmon Rolls:
Smoked Salmon
Cream Cheese Strips
Cucumber Strips

Summer Melon Rolls:
Prosciutto
Melon Strips

Shrimp Rolls:
Shrimp
Cream Cheese Strips

Texas Rolls:
Sliced cooked beef
Cucumber, cut into strips
Spinach Leaves

Tuna Salad Rolls:
Tuna Salad
Lettuce Leaves

Veggie Rolls:
Pesto
Cucumber Strips
Tomato Strips
Mushroom Strips
Egg, scrambled
Scallions or Roasted Sweet Peppers

NOTE: When using raw seafood in your sushi rolls, if you are unable to obtain SASHIMI grade seafood from your fish market, avoid eating any seafood raw. It is always a good idea to rinse the raw seafood gently in a mixture of salt and cold fresh water before beginning preparation. A salt and water rinse should always be done with Salmon and all varieties of Shellfish.
 


Approximate nutritional breakdown of sushi rolls:

Avocado roll: 140 calories, 11g fat, 33g carbs

Spicy tuna roll: 290 calories, 11g fat, 26g carbs

Shrimp tempura roll: 508 calories, 13g fat, 75g carbs

Philadelphia roll (salmon, cream cheese, avocado): 319 calories, 5g fat, 30g carbs

Spider roll (fried soft-shell crab): 317 calories, 12g fat, 38g carbs

California roll: 255 calories, 8.5g fat, 36g carbs

Cucumber roll: 136 calories, 0g fat, 30g carbs

Tuna nigiri (2 pieces over rice): 240 calories, 1g fat, 27g carbs

Salmon sashimi (2 pieces, no rice): 164 calories, 6g fat, 0g carbs


For more nutritional help with sushi, please check out my Nutritional Food Chart.

 

sushi rolls

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