Sushi (California) Rolls for Sushi Beginners

My 244C classmate, sweet Jamie, loves California rolls (that’s just my only favorite sushi ).    And I like Jamie to forget the expensive store-bought sushi rolls, and instead to try my easy-to-follow California maki recipe.  With merely few ingredients and few materials, Jamie wouldn’t be scared of making sushi…she’d be rolling out sushi like a pro.

And it always begins with making sushi rice.

Cooked and seasoned sushi rice    5 sheets Roasted Nori
1 large cucumber   2 – 3 ripe avocados     10 pieces imitation crab sticks
Pickled ginger and soy sauce, for dipping

Materials:      Bamboo Sushi Roll Mat       Sharp Knife      Clean Cutting Board
Wooden Spoon or Plastic Rice Paddle

1)  Cook sushi rice.  Wash and rinse well 4 cups of uncooked Japanese sweet rice (choose the round shaped grains).  Place in electric rice cooker pot and add 5 cups cold water and cook.  While rice is cooking, heat (don’t let boil) seasonings (8 tablespoons rice vinegar, 6 tablespoons sugar and 4 teaspoons salt) in a small saucepan, whisking until solids are dissolved.   Carefully pull out the cooked rice with rice paddle onto a large glass/wooden (nonmetallic) bowl (Note:  leave out any burnt or stuck rice in the pot).   Lightly drizzle the seasoning over the rice while carefully cutting the seasoning in with a wooden spoon (not stirring, but chopping the spoon horizontally through the rice).   Set the rice aside and let it cool to room temperature (bring out your handheld battery-operated fan here to quickly cool down the rice). Don’t refrigerate the rice, keep the rice covered with a clean damp cloth until you are ready to make your sushi rolls.   Sushi rice is ready when it has a nice sheen and a bit of stickiness.

2)  Prepare fillings.     Peel (de-seed if you want to) the cucumber and slice into thin strips.   Cut crabsticks into matchstick sized slices.    Cut avocados in half, remove its large seed, peel and slice in matchstick sized slices (spritz a little lemon or lime on the avocado to prevent browning).

3)  Unroll bambo sushi roll mat (I purchased mine for a dollar) away from you on the cutting board.  Lay 1 nori sheet on mat, lining up short edge with bottom of mat, with rough side facing upwards.

4)  Moisten hands with water.   Spread a cupful (or less) of cooked-warm sushi rice evenly over the nori,  slightly pressing with wet finger tips, and leaving 1 inch border at the top edge for sealing.

3)  Arrange small portion of sliced avocados, cucumber and crabsticks in a horizontal line down the center of the rice (only if you like, smear tiny bit of wasabi in the filling; nah, TOO intense for me!).

4)  Time to roll.   Place your thumbs underneath the bamboo mat, gently lifting it up.  Grab the ingredients with the rest of your 4 fingers to secure it.  Roll mat forward and using both hands, give it a gentle but firm squeeze to make sure the roll is tightly packed and secured.  Seal the border with wet finger tips.

5)  Remove the bamboo sushi mat and using a moist and very sharp knife, slice roll into eight pieces.

6)  Serve with sushi dip (pickled ginger mixed with soy sauce).  And it’s time to practise your chopsticks skills.


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