I’m talking about the infamous California roll.
The California roll was invented in the 1960s/1970s when Japanese chefs came to the US in seek of a better life. They began substituting avocado for toro (fatty tuna belly) and found that it was the perfect alternative due to its oily texture and mouthfeel. Because Americans did not like seeing the nori on the outside of rolls like in traditional maki, they began to roll sushi with rice on the outside (uramaki) to appeal more to North Americans. And thus, the California roll was born. Thanks Wikipedia!
I don’t quite recall exactly what or where my first experience having a California roll but I do remember the sensation of me thinking that this was real sushi (oh, how naive of me!). It was kind of a life-changing moment. You see, I had been allergic to seafood for many, many years and the most adventurous sushi I had prior to California rolls were kappa maki (cucumber). And that’s it. Because California rolls are made out of pollock, a white fish, and not real crab, I thought I would give it a go (and my mom had my Benadril pills on-hand nearby). And it was so good! Although I have moved on to “real” sushi, I still have a sweet spot for California rolls on the off chance.
California rolls are pretty easy to make. They are basically made out of kamaboko (imitation crab), avocado, and sometimes cucumber. I kept mine simple with kamaboko and avocado and began my rolling process. I was actually quite nervous when I was making this because I’ve never made it before. I was so scared the rice was going to fall apart everywhere — it didn’t! The trick is to make sure you press the rice together firmly (but not too firm because you don’t want your rice to be all gummy and disgusting) and act quickly when flipping it over. Easy as pie. Enjoy!
What you’ll need:
– 2 sheets nori
– 1 1/2 cups of cooked sushi rice (how to cook sushi rice here)
– 2 rolls/slices of kamaboko, cut lengthwise
– 1/2 avocado, sliced
– Japanese mayonnaise, as much as desired
– Sesame seeds
What you’ll need to do:
1. Cover and wrap your sushi mat with plastic wrap completely. This is to prevent sushi rice from sticking all over and throughout your mat.
2. Take a sheet or nori and place shiny side down, rough side up, facing you. Take 3/4 cup of rice and press it onto the sheet of nori. Make sure to leave 1″ of space at the top of the sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and press them gently into the rice.
3. Carefully but quickly flip over the nori. Take your fillings and place it into the middle of the nori. Start rolling and keep everything tight.
4. Repeat with the other roll. Slice with a sharp, non-serrated knife. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and Japanese ginger. Makes 2 rolls.