Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sushi Basics - California Roll

(img from California Sushi & Teriyaki)

So today I'm going to post something basic, something that I probably should have put up first to help you guys get into it quicker.

Everyone knows what a California roll is, in my mind it's like the peanutbutter & jelly of sushi, but it's simple and pretty much everyone likes it. 
For those of you who don't know, it contains:
-Crab or Kanikama (kanikama is like crab salad, usually made with mayo. Also "kani" means crab.)
-Cucumber cut into strips

Very simple list of ingredients. (excluding the rice, nori and sesame seeds, but that's found in pretty much all rolls.) Also there is no raw fish in this so it's an easy starting point for people who are new to eating sushi. 

You will need-
 Nori 1/2 sheet
4 oz sushi rice
Roasted sesame seeds
Avocado (2 - 3 slices)
Cucumber cut into strips
Crab/kanikama (about 2 oz)
Sushi mat
Sharp knife.


Remember to spread the rice over the rough side because it will better stick to the nori. You also want the rice to stay soft and fluffy, so don't press it down too hard. Once you've evenly spread the rice out, sprinkle some sesame seeds over it and then flip it over, seaweed facing you. 
Next step is pretty self explanatory. make sure all of your fillings are spread evenly across the seaweed.
Almost done! Now gently pick up the edge facing you and roll it over the fillings. You want to stop part way so that the opposite edge is still showing because that little bit will help seal the roll. You should squeeze it slightly so that everything is tight and then finally finish rolling it over so the seam is on the bottom.
After you're happy with your rolling - take the sushi mat (flat side down) and shape the roll. I usually press inwards, making the roll a bit taller and keeping the top rounded. Some people make their rolls square, others make them round. It's really up to you. You can also shape them into triangles and so on, I'll post about that later.
So finally you're going to cut your roll. Usually rolls are 8 to 10 pieces. The easiest way to get even sized pieces is to cut your roll in half, then quarters and then eighths. The actual cutting motion can be tricky for some people. It's a rocking, heel to toe motion. Heel being closest to the handle and toe being the tip of your knife.

And now you can plate it! :)

A cool little tip to make handling rice easier:
A lot of people use water on their hands, but cooking spray works great! Just spray a bit into one palm and then rub it in both hands.

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