It is the most popular sushi roll outside of Japan, a vegan sushi roll, or the so-called California roll and for excellent reasons.
If you can’t have raw fish, or simply don’t like this is the sushi roll for you! It is super easy to make and tastes delicious.
Today, we’re making a variation of sushi roll. The traditional and the California roll. Along with sushi rice and sheets of seaweed (nori), California rolls require only a few ingredients: crab meat (or imitation), avocado, and cucumber.
If you like, mix the crab meat with a little mayo to create a creamy consistency. To this essential list of ingredients, we’ve added sliced carrots and cooked shrimp…because that’s how we (sushi) roll.
Before we go further, a quick note on sushi rice, you can’t use just any rice for sushi. Sushi rice is a special preparation of rice flavored with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. It’s made from short-grain rice (Japonica), typically made in Japan and parts of California and Italy.
With homemade sushi rice, you’re aiming for rice that’s fluffy and a little sticky but not too sticky. Give it a try — you’ll get the hang of it. See how to make sushi rice.
Your Sushi Making Kit
To make sushi at home, you’ll need a few essential tools for making sushi:
- Bamboo rolling mat (makisu)
- Plastic wrap
- Sharp knife
Traditional Sushi Roll
- Sushi rice
It is the traditional way to roll any type of rolled sushi, which is called maki sushi. There are two options for this method: moving with the sushi rice on top of the sheet of nori, as we do here, or with the nori flipped over, so the rice ends up on the outside of the finished roll (uramaki sushi).
1. Place the rolling bamboo mat on a cutting board, so the bamboo strips are running horizontally to you. Spread a strip of plastic wrap over the bamboo mat. Then place a sheet (or a half sheet) of nori on the plastic wrap.
2. Spread a thin layer of sushi rice over the nori. (See below for more about making perfect sushi rice.)
Don’t use too much rice. With a little practice, you’ll get a feel for how much rice to use. We’re spreading about 1 cup of rice per the whole sheet of nori, leaving a small space at the top edge of the nori so you can seal up the roll.
PRO TIP: wet your fingers as you spread the sticky sushi rice over the nori.
3. Add your ingredients toward the center of the rice-covered nori. Don’t overpack it. If you’re making a roll with the rice on the outside, simply turn the nori over, placing it rice-side down on the rolling mat. Then add your ingredients to the top of the nori.
4. Gently lift the bottom of the mat up and over the sushi. Press and shape the ingredients into a tube. Roll with pressure, so you get a firm roll.
5. Roll until just an inch of nori shows at the top. Seal the edge of the nori with a little cold water. Firm it up by squeezing the mat around the roll until it feels uniformly snug. Be careful not to press so hard that the ingredients are smashed or come oozing out the sides. It’s a fine line; with practice, you’ll get the feel of it.
6. Slice the sushi roll in half with a sharp knife on a cutting board. Then cut each half into thirds — so you have six pieces of sushi. To get a nice clean cut, wet the knife with water each time you make a slice.
7.Line the slices of sushi up on platters or sushi plates. Enjoy with soy sauce, wasabi paste, and pickled ginger, and a little chopped daikon if you like.
The California sushi roll is perfect for those who don’t care much for raw fish. The main ingredient is imitation crab sticks (made of cooked Surimi fish meat), and so this sushi roll is easier to make and is safe for pregnant women to enjoy.
Yield: 12 sushi rolls.
- 2/3 cup (sushi rice.)
- One nori sheet
- Six sticks Surimi (Imitation crab)
- 1/2 Avocado
Variations may include:
Cover the bamboo mat
Wrap your bamboo mat with plastic wrap.
This is necessary to prevent the rice from sticking to the mat and to allow easy clean up between rolls. You only need to do this once before you start making sushi, and replace it once finished – the surface is now much easier to clean in between rolls with a kitchen or paper towel.
Take a nori sheet, and break it in half. If it doesn’t break easily, you can toast it for a few seconds or use scissors to cut it. Place one half on the mat, with the shiny side facing down. In this example, I actually used the entire nori sheet to get a larger role, although it’s more common to use half.
Grab a handful of prepared sushi rice, and spread it gently over the nori – about 1 cm high
There’s no need to press the rice down onto the nori, only spread it to cover the sheet. Cover the entire sheet if you are using half a nori, and about 80% of it if you are using full nori.
Anything on top?
Sprinkle a spoonful of Masago or sesame seeds evenly over the top half of rice if you are using full nori, or on all of it if you are using half a nori sheet.
The old Fliparoo
Flip the nori so that the rice is now facing down on the bamboo mat. Next, we are going to place the ingredients on top of the nori (and not the rice).
First the crab sticks.
Line up the crab sticks along the near end of the nori. The ones I have in the picture below are perfectly shaped for sushi. You might have to cut yours to fit it well into the roll.
Then the avocado
Next to it, line up 1-2 thick slices avocado. You can use as much avocado as you won’t – just remember you need to be able to close the nori around it so don’t overdo it.
Tip – if you’re not serving the dish immediately, you might want to squeeze a few drops of lemon on the avocado, to prevent it from turning brown.
Now simply roll it inside out. You can find detailed instructions on how to roll inside our sushi here. Cut into 8 equal pieces. For best results first cut in half, then cut each half into two, and then again.
Best served with soy sauce, pickled ginger (gari), and wasabi.
You would like to know how long does sushi last?
How long you store sushi will depend on how it was prepared. If the sushi is raw fish, then you should not store it for more than a 24-hour period. If the fish is cooked, you should not store it for more than three days.
If you store it for a longer period of time, it becomes less safe to eat and loses moisture. That is why it is advised that you eat sushi as soon as possible.
Enjoy your Sushi Roll!