Have you ever had a craving for sushi?
I was at the local market handling a perfectly ripe avocado when the craving hit. I immediately added the avocado to my basket along with some of that fake crabmeat (surimi) made out of pollock. A fish with such an unappealing name surely needs to be processed into something else.
I had a 5-sheet package of "fancy" grade sushi seaweed in my cupboard at home, some Kokuho Rose brand sushi rice, a bottle of seasoned rice vinegar, and that weird Japanese mayonnaise in a squeeze bottle (Kewpie mayonnaise). Those are the makings for California Rolls!
Here's my recipe--actually I don't really use a recipe, I just kind of wing it, but this time I measured for your sake!
JUMBO CALIFORNIA ROLLS
these ingredients are the basics for a California Roll but you can kick it up a few notches by using the optional ingredients
3 cups cooked short-grain rice (white or brown) [I used Kokuho Rose brand]
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar [this comes prepared in a bottle]
2 cups surimi (fake crabmeat)
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 package sushi seaweed [I used a fancy grade 5-sheet package--the more expensive the seaweed generally, the tastier it is]
optional: these ingredients will definitely make your rolls tastier!julienned English cucumber, tobiko for garnish, toasted sesame seeds, real crab meat
This is surimi. I know it's fake, but it's delicious!
You can substitute real crab meat if you're made of money. But if I were you, I'd rather splurge on the seaweed.
- In a large bowl, combine the seasoned rice vinegar with the hot cooked rice. Set aside to cool. Toss gently occasionally.
- Using a bamboo sushi mat, lay the roasted sushi seaweed glossy side down. Usually there are little indentations on the seaweed--these should run vertically on the mat.
- Spoon about 1 cup of the cooled seasoned sushi rice onto the seaweed. Spread the rice evenly over the seaweed. I often use a little paring knife to help me spread...I know, it's not orthodox but it keeps my hands from getting sticky! Real sushi chefs wet their hands in clean water continuously so the rice doesn't stick. They just use their hands to spread the rice.
- Take whatever filling you desire and line it up along the bottom edge of the seaweed/rice mat. Of course if you use other fillings, you won't have a California roll. I've used canned salmon or tuna, cucumber, cooked egg (scrambled), red peppers, teriyaki shitake mushrooms and the list goes on and on. Pretty much anything goes. If you want, you don't have to use raw fish at all. At this point, you can also add the mayonnaise or other thick sauces as well.
- Using the bamboo mat, roll the sushi away from you. Use the mat to help press close the roll.
- Slice the sushi rolls with a sharp knife. It helps if you clean the knife sporadically. Often, with the larger rolls, I use a serrated bread knife to cut the rolls. It helps avoid crushing the rolls (I know! also unorthodox and not very Japanesey--I'm not Japanese!) It works. Take my word for it. You won't have smushed rolls.
- Serve with a high grade soy sauce for sashimi/sushi. I like Yamasa. Kikkoman is good too. Pickled ginger and wasabi will only make it better.