We decided to start small and simple and learn to make California Roll first. We figured since that is using the imitation crab sticks and avocado and cucumber, it would be an easy one to try out, and if we were successful with that we could move on to more complicated recipes. So that is why I named this post as a sort of a beginning of a category, because I honestly would love to try making a spicy tuna roll or some other kind after the success we have had with this California Roll. I wish I had thought to take tutorial type pictures because this recipe is very simple as far as ingredients, but a bit trickier with the process/technique. Instead of my own tutorial pics, I will link you all to a very helpful YouTube video we found and used last night. The above picture is an actual picture of my finished product from last night.
Go here for the tutorial video of how to put everything together if you can't understand what I will be giving as directions. And now for the recipe...
California Roll Sushi--makes 6 rolls, or 48 pieces
Sushi Rice (recipe below)
1 avocado, sliced (I also recommend sprinkling a bit of lemon juice on it to prevent discoloration)
1 cucumber, quartered, seeded, and sliced into thin strips length wise
9 imitation crab sticks
1 pkg Nori seaweed (it's the dehydrated seaweed sheets, found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
optional: toasted sesame seeds, tobiko (fish roe)
for serving: pickled ginger, wasabi paste, and soy sauce. All of these should be in your Asian section of your local grocery store.
Tools needed: sushi mat, plastic wrap, and you may want some cooking spray so the rice doesn't stick to your hands, and a good sharp knife.
Sushi Rice recipe
4 c rice
4 c water
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned, and it's in the Asian section.)
2 tbsp salt (yes, I said TBSP--that's a TABLESPOON, not a teaspoon. It's the right amount.)
Rinse your rice in a strainer til the water runs clear. You'll want to swirl the rice around in the sieve or strainer in cold water, and just keep running the water over it til it runs clear and you cant see any white starchy stuff in it. Then put it in your rice cooker and add the 4 cups of water and set to cook til its done. When it's done cooking, immediately transfer it to a large glass bowl. Mix your vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl, and microwave the mixture for 45 seconds. Stir to make sure its all dissolved together, then pour that over your rice, and stir the rice to make sure every grain is coated in the vinegar mixture. Let stand to cool to room temp, takes roughly half an hour. This is a good time to prep your veggies and set up your sushi station.
Wrap your sushi mat in plastic wrap so it is covered on both sides. Place a sheet of the Nori seaweed on the mat. When your rice is cooled to room temp, then spread it onto the seaweed sheet and press down so it sticks. Cover the whole sheet with the rice in a thin layer. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if you like, if not, then just flip your seaweed over so the rice is facing down.
Cut 3 of the crab sticks in half, and leave the other 6 sticks in tact.
Place your avocado slices in the bottom center of the seaweed, then cucumber above it, and then lastly the crab sticks (take 1 1/2 of the sticks) above the line of cucumber. (see video for a clearer image of this description) Using the mat, roll the sushi up and as the mat is rolled around the sushi roll, move the mat so it doesnt get rolled into the sushi roll. (I hope this makes sense--again, see video for clearer image/demonstration) Continue to roll it til the whole thing is rolled into a log shape. If any of your ingredients from the center are coming out of the roll, tap the ends to push it all back in.
With a sharp knife cut the roll in half, and then each half in half, and then each of the quarters in half again to make 8 pieces. Repeat process again til you have completed all 6 rolls. Serve with wasabi paste and pickled ginger. Enjoy!