Sushi, California Rolls


I was asked for this recipe the other day.   Apparently some people really liked it when I made it and served it at a couple of different parties.     Oh, I’m talking about Sushi.   At least the kind of Sushi that’s for the not so adventuresome among us.   Which would be me.   I’m leery of raw fish, unless I’m the one who’s working with it.  Which is why California Rolls are perfect for me.

It also doesn’t hurt that I like Avocado, Crab and Rice either.   Or that I like trying to make new recipes all the time, and Sushi or rather California Rolls are one of my favorites.

The Cast of Characters:

Most of the characters, at least the basic cast, without the extras.

A couple of tricks first.   Rinse the rice before cooking it, it seems to help it develop the sticky factor you need.   And do not stir the rice after adding the rice vinegar/sugar mixture.   Cut and fold it as if you were adding flour to egg whites, you don’t want to mash the rice, just make sure the rice vinegar is incorporated into the rice.   Use the bamboo paddle and make sure that the shallow bowl you put the cooked rice in is big enough that you can do the cut and fold without doing a ‘rice mash’.  It’s best to do this while the rice is still warm as it absorbs the vinegar best this way.

Toast the sesame seeds while waiting for the rice to cool enough to work with.  Set them aside.
Grate some carrots, and make some pickled carrots to serve with the sushi or put some into the sushi.
I did a fine grate and added some rice vinegar and a little freshly grated ginger.    Not very much, just enough to taste.    Set those aside.    Open a can of crab or get your fresh crab out and rinse and make sure there aren’t any nasty pieces of shells in there.   You don’t want to cut the avocado until you are ready to start rolling.   They tend to turn a nasty shade of brown.

First off, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the bamboo rolling mat.   You’re going to sprinkle some sesame seeds down first and they tend to fall through the mat otherwise, and the rice grains get stuck there as well, and that makes the mat hard to clean.  Trust me on this, they are not easy to get out.   Really.

Then put a thin layer of rice on top.   Pat it down with your wet hand.

If you notice there is a bowl of water to the right of the bamboo mat, this is very important, you need to keep your hand wet, otherwise the rice sticks to everything.
Next add a sheet of Nori,

Then add your fillings, some avocado and some crab:

Roll it up using your sheet of plastic wrap.
Shape it a little so it’s nice and round and place in the refrigerator.

Take out a little later and slice.
Continue using the rest of the rice and Nori.   I alternated by putting a sheet of Nori down first, placing a thin layer of rice on that with the fillings and then rolling those up.  (I did say I forgot to take pictures, I was on a roll, did you get it?, on a roll?, umm, never mind. )
Here’s a picture of the finished platter with the wasabi, carrots and sesame seeds to go with them.  You also need some soy sauce for dipping.

California Rolls

4 cups cooked sushi rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar dissolves and sprinkle over the rice, folding it over itself, so you don’t mash it.  This should be mixed together while still warm.    Set aside to cool.
1 avocado cut in strips
1 can crab or sushimi or whatever you like
3 small carrots, shredded and dressed with rice vinegar and fresh ginger
2-4 spring onions
thin strips cucumber if you like, I didn’t but that’s because so many people I know can’t tolerate cukes.
toasted sesame seeds or
black sesame seeds

Layer the rice on the nori, place a couple of pieces of avocado and some crab on there, roll it up and place in the fridge in some plastic wrap.   Continue with a roll with some spring onions and carrots, or whatever you like inside.
Slice thinly, each roll will makes about 8 slices, and serve with some wasabi, soy sauce, sesame seeds and carrots.

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