Sunday, June 5, 2011

California Rolls

California Rolls
It's been a long time since I've made California Rolls, and quite frankly, the last time I made them, they were awful.  But, a friend had a birthday yesterday and one of his favorite meals is Sushi, especially California Rolls.  So I made some again.   And you should have seen them disappear at the party.    I would consider them a success.   The pictures I took aren't really great, but should serve to show a little of the process.   I have to say, taking pictures with sticky hands is not easy.

And as usual, got busy with the actual making of the rolls and forgot to take pictures along the way.     I have to admit to going to Foodgawker and searching for California Rolls so I could make sure that this time around they would be edible, and they were.
Basic list of characters:
California Rolls
Nori, rice vinegar, rice and bamboo mat

A couple of tricks first.   Rinse the rice before cooking it, it seems to help it develop the sticky factor you need.   And do not stir the rice after adding the rice vinegar/sugar mixture.   Cut and fold it as if you were adding flour to egg whites, you don't want to mash the rice, just make sure the rice vinegar is incorporated into the rice.   Use the bamboo paddle and make sure that the shallow bowl you put the cooked rice in is big enough that you can do the cut and fold without doing a 'rice mash'.  
Rice tossed with rice vinegar and sugar
I'll show you my pictures, but I have to say they're not as pretty or as descriptive as these here;  Annie's Eats
She puts some different stuff in there but the pictures are worth looking at.
Toasting Sesame Seeds
Toast the sesame seeds while waiting for the rice to cool down enough to work with.  Set them aside.
Grate some carrots, and make some pickled carrots to serve with the sushi or put some into the sushi.
I did a fine grate and added some rice vinegar and a little freshly grated ginger.    Not very much, just enough to taste.    Set those aside.    Open a can of crab or get your fresh crab out and rinse and make sure there aren't any nasty pieces of shells in there.   You don't want to cut the avocado until you are ready to start rolling.   They tend to turn a nasty shade of brown.

First off, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the bamboo rolling mat.   You're going to sprinkle some sesame seeds down first and they tend to fall through the mat otherwise, and also the rice grains get stuck there as well, and that makes the mat hard to clean. 
Then put a thin layer of rice on top.   Pat it down with your wet hand.
If you notice there is a bowl of water to the right of the bamboo mat, this is very important, you need to keep your hand wet, otherwise the rice sticks to everything.  
Then add a sheet of Nori,
Then add your fillings, some avocado and some crab:
California Rolls
Roll it up using your sheet of plastic wrap.     Shape it a little so it's nice and round and place in the refrigerator.
Take out a little later and slice.
California Rolls
Continue using the rest of the rice and Nori.   I alternated by putting a sheet of Nori down first, placing a thin layer of rice on that with the fillings and then rolling those up.  (I did say I forgot to take pictures, I was on a roll.)
Here's a picture of the finished platter with the wasabi, carrots and sesame seeds to go with them.  You also need some soy sauce for dipping.
California Rolls

California Rolls

4 cups cooked sushi rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and sprinkle over the rice, folding it over itself, so you don't mash it.    Set aside to cool.
1 avocado cut in strips
1 can crab or sushimi or whatever you like
3 small carrots, shredded and dressed with rice vinegar and fresh ginger
2-4 spring onions
thin strips cucumber if you like, I didn't but that's because so many people I know can't tolerate cukes.
toasted sesame seeds or
black sesame seeds

Layer the rice on the nori, place a couple pieces of avocado and some crab, roll it up and place in the fridge in some plastic wrap.   Continue with a roll with some spring onions and carrots, or whatever you like inside.
Slice thinly, each roll makes about 8 pieces, and serve with some wasabi, soy sauce, sesame seeds and carrots.

I'm going to make this again, now that I've got the rolling bit down, and hopefully next time I'll remember to take more pictures.
Personally, I think these were the best California Rolls I've ever had and judging from how quickly the plate emptied I think everyone at the party thought they were good as well.   (by the way, a few pieces were left for the birthday boy, and he appreciated that).

For more recipes go to  Sid's Sea Palm Cooking 


  1. You made California Rolls! I am so impressed. Also one of my favorites. :)

  2. Thanks. I know one thing this isn't the last time I make these. They're great for parties, and for dinner.

  3. thanks for the recipe, chose this one for Secret recipe club...yummy and so easy this time around