C.J. and I have started to really enjoy sushi. I was reluctant to try anything at first, but I now like a few things. Although I would absolutely love to enjoy all types of sushi, I just can’t get myself to like anything with raw fish. Thankfully there are many sushi options that are free of raw fish.
Sushi can get expensive when eating out, and after making sushi at home I now am perfectly alright with what they charge at restaurants. Sushi is a lot of work, and while I am sure that the people making it at my favorite sushi place could make each sushi roll with their eyes closed, it is still a lot of work.
We made two different types of California rolls, nothing fancy. I would not call this recipe hard, but I would like to tell my readers that it is technique heavy. Do not expect to be perfect at the techniques right off the bat. My sushi did not look very beautiful, but it did taste good. I am hoping that with practice I can make sushi that looks presentable.
Intimidated? Don’t be. You can’t get better at something if you never try it in the first place.
Ingredients for Sushi Rice:
- 2 cups Japanese short or medium grain rice
- 2½ cups cold water
- 5 Tbsp Sushi Vinegar
(Make your own sushi vinegar by combining the following 3 ingredients and dissolving them together over low heat on the stove, then let the mixture cool):
- 4 Tbsp Rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt (I used sea salt)
Ingredients for California Rolls:
- ½ lb Imitation crab meat (the “log” shaped crab meat is the easiest to work with)
- 1 Avocado, ripe but still firm
- 1 Mango, ripe but still firm
- ½ medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into long julienne strips
- Toasted Nori Seaweed
- Toasted sesame seeds
- A sushi rolling mat (If you don’t have a sushi mat, try using parchment paper instead)
How to Cook Perfect Sushi Rice (do not add salt while cooking rice)
- Wash the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well. If you have a rice maker, follow rice maker instructions and cook on the white rice setting then skip to step #4.
- Put drained rice in a heavy sauce-pan and add 2 cups cold water. Cover tightly and set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium and let cook covered until all the water is absorbed (7-8 min). Do not remove the cover to check, but listen for the bubbling to stop.
- Once you hear a faint hissing sound, reduce the heat to very low and cook another 6 min. Remove from the heat and let stand 15 min covered. This is the basic white rice eaten with japanese meals.
- Transfer the hot rice to a large bowl and break it up to get rid of all the hot clumps.
- Let the rice cool down until it is just warm, then stir in your cooled sushi vinegar
Assembling your California Rolls:
- Wrap your sushi matt in plastic wrap before using it (this makes it re-useable and you don’t even have to wash it!).
- Fold the pieces of nori in half to split them.
- Toast your sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden. Slice up your veggies and mango.
- Spread a generous handful of sushi rice onto the ½ sheet of nori. Use your WET FINGER TIPS (keep your hands wet to prevent sticking) to spread the rice evenly over the entire surface of the nori.
- Flip the rice covered piece of nori over so the rice is facing down (this way, your rice will be on the outside). Place your fillings across the center of your rice in the middle of the sheet (don’t overfill or the roll won’t seal). I made some of the rolls with crab/cucumber/avocado and the other rolls with mango/cucumber/crab. You can make whatever combinations you would like.
- Start rolling away from you using your matt to firmly keep the roll in place. Apply some pressure to make a tight roll. If its not tight enough, it will be difficult to cut. Once the roll is complete, sprinkle the roll with toasted sesame seeds while it is still on the mat so you can turn it easily.
- Run your sharp knife through a damp paper towel before slicing so the rice won’t stick as much. Cut the roll in half, then line the two halves up and slice even 1-inch rings.
They definitely are not pretty…but they tasted great!