- 20 minutes
- 15 minutes
- 4 servings
It is fun to make California Rolls at home, and the procedure is easy once you learn how. You will need several specific ingredients found in the Asian section of the supermarket. Most importantly, you must use short-grain sushi rice, which cooks into a sticky consistency that holds the California Rolls together. The rice must be cooked in advance to allow time for it to cool. The filling ingredients can be varied. For example, in addition to or in place of the listed ingredients, add radish strips, slivers of green onion, or enoki mushrooms. The assembly process can be accomplished using plastic wrap, but the shape will be more precise if you also use a sushi rolling mat, a useful tool made of skewer-shaped bamboo strips held together with string, which can be found in most gourmet shops. Pickled ginger is a cool, sharp condiment made from thinly sliced ginger roots which have been marinated in seasoned vinegar. It is a traditional accompaniment to be eaten in small bites to enchance the flavors of the California Rolls and to cleanse the palate.
- To make the sauce, stir the powdered wasabi into the water in a small bowl and stir to form a paste; stir in the soy sauce. Cover and set aside at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend.
- To cook the rice, combine the rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed. Remove covered the pan from the heat. Allow to cool.
- When you are ready to assemble the California Rolls, stir together the wasabi powder and water in a small bowl to form a thick paste. Cover and set aside.
- Put the carrot strips into a small microwave-proof dish. Add about 2 tablespoons water. Cover and microwave on high until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well.
To assemble each roll, place a sheet of seaweed, rough-side up, on a cutting board, the longer edge facing you. Using a rubber spatula and hands moistened with water, spread about 1 cup of the cooled, cooked rice over the seaweed in an even layer, about 1/4-inch thick. Leave about 1/2 inch at the bottom of the sheet and 1 inch at the top edge uncovered. Sprinkle the surface of the rice with about 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds.
Cover the rice layer with a sheet of plastic wrap and press lightly, taking care not to crush the rice grains. Flip, turning the seaweed up, rice down. Spread about 1/4 teaspoon of wasabi paste horizontally across the center.
Then, about one-third of the way up from the bottom, horizontally from edge to edge, arrange the strips of cucumber, avocado, carrot, and artificial crab (about 3 strips each).
With the plastic wrap in place, lift the edge nearest to you. Then, firmly and evenly roll the seaweed sheet and rice over the filling ingredients to enclose them. Be sure to keep the ends of the plastic wrap free.
This procedure can be done more easily by rolling the plastic wrap-covered roll in a sushi rolling mat.
- Keep the roll covered with the plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Set aside. Repeat the procedure up to this point with the remaining 3 rolls.
Just before serving, place the rolls on a cutting board, seam sides down. Using a sharp, wet, serrated knife in a sawing motion, cut the rolls in half vertically. Then cut each half into 2 equal portions. Wipe the knife with a wet towel between cuts to ensure neat slices.
To serve, arrange the California Rolls on a platter Accompany with a small dish of the wasabi dipping sauce. Serve immediately.