The sliced rolls always look so pretty when you order them at a Japanese restaurant, but dining on sushi can be quite expensive. By making your own rolls you can change the ingredients to suit your own taste and also save a lot of money. Even better, they are actually very simple to make and I was surprised at how much fun they were to assemble.
The California Rolls are made of fairly common ingredients like crab, avocado, cucumber and sushi rice, along with a few unique items like nori seaweed and sesame seeds or sesame oil. We went with these standard ingredients for this first batch but in the future the possibilities are endless! I can't wait to try these with different types of fillings.
2 cups Rice Select Sushi Rice
2 1/2 cups Water
2 TB Rice Vinegar
2 TB Sugar
1 TB Kosher salt
1 cup of Water
1 TB Rice Vinegar
1 package Nori Seaweed
1 8 oz pkg Crab Meat or Imitation Crab Sticks
1 Avocado, thinly sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning
1 Cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
Sesame Oil (or Sesame Seeds, optional)
Place the rice in a mixing bowl and cover with water. Swirl the rice in the bowl and pour off the water when the water becomes milky-white. Add more water and repeat the process until the rice water is clear. This will take 3 or 4 rinses.
After the final rinse, place the rice in a medium saucepan with 2-1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 18-20 minutes, until water is absorbed, remove from heat and let rest covered for 5 minutes.
Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a glass bowl and microwave mixture for 40 seconds. Stir mixture until salt and sugar are fully dissolved and set aside. Place the rice in a large non-metallic bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Stir the vinegar mixture into the rice, carefully stirring to coat all of the rice. Allow the rice to continue to cool to room temperature.
Now you are ready to roll. For quick preparation, place the bowls of ingredients in a row in front of you and place a bamboo mat on the counter, covering the mat with plastic wrap. Combine the 1 cup of water with 1 TB of rice vinegar in a glass bowl and set this nearby. This will be used to keep your hands moist while making the rolls.
Using a sharp knife, slice 1 sheet of nori in half and place it on the covered mat. Dip your hands in the water/vinegar mix and then spread a layer of rice over the nori, pressing the rice all the way to the edges. The rice will be about a 1/2-inch thick. Now carefully turn the rice-covered nori over so the nori side is now facing up.
Spread a thin smear of sesame oil across the center of the nori from left to right. Now place a layer of crab, again working left to right, followed by a layer of cucumber and a layer of avocado.
Start rolling the mat up and over the ingredients, pressing the filling inwards, and roll almost one complete turn, stopping to press and firm the roll and the ends. Complete the roll, making sure the plastic wrap doesn't get rolled inside. Remove the wrap and carefully move the roll to a cutting board. Slice in half and then cut each half into 3 slices, for a total of 6.
Place the slices on a plate with a serving of pickled ginger, a small dollop of wasabi and a dish of soy sauce for dipping.