California Rolls

Sushi is a food that so many people just LOVE.  I’ve tried it multiple varieties several different times in the past, and though I always thought it was good, I never quite understood the “thing” that people feel for sushi.  It was just okay, but I never craved it.  Then last month, we had dinner at our friends’ house and the hostess served her California rolls.  Next thing I knew, it was a month later, and I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about them.  So recently, we invited them over for dinner and I asked her to teach me how to make California rolls.  I was shocked when I realized how quick and simple they are to make!  

California rolls are probably the most basic and popular of sushi rolls.  They don’t contain any seafood so if you are afraid of raw fish, no worries hear.  You can easily alter the veggies you include in your rolls to suit your personal tastes.  I used scallions, red pepper and avocado but you can make it your own!

My biggest issue was simply finding the nori (seaweed wraps) in a grocery store.  A couple stores in my area have been rumored to carry them, but I searched high and low with no luck.  I ended up finding a large selection in a wonderful little co-op grocery store in my hometown.  Ironically enough, my regular grocery store did carry the bamboo rolling mat, but no nori – what’s up with that?  Anyway, if you are a fan of California rolls in restaurants, now you too can enjoy how incredibly simple it is to make them at home!

 Start out with a bag of sushi rice.  This is not the same thing as regular white rice.  This is the kind I used.  (I like that it is “extra fancy” – LOL.)  Prepare a batch according to the package directions.

Once the rice is cooked, mix in a couple tablespoons each of rice vinegar and white sugar.  Let the rice cool.

I hope you have better luck finding nori than I did!

Lay one sheet of the nori out on a bamboo rolling mat.

Using clean WET HANDS, cover the nori with a thin layer of sushi rice.  If your hands aren’t wet, the rice will stick to you and just be a big mess – trust me.  Press it down flat on top.  (Be careful not to use too much rice.  April tells me this is one of the easiest mistakes to make, and this can result in difficulty rolling the sushi.)

Place scallion pieces on top of the rice in a line near the end of the nori.

Then add a line of red pepper pieces (or again, use whatever veggies suit you).

And a line of avocado pieces (I don’t even like avocado, but I like it in this).

Once all your veggies are lined up at the end, use the bamboo mat to help roll the sushi up very tightly.  (You can wet the far edge of the nori lightly with water to help it stick to the roll, but I haven’t found that to be necessary.)

And keep rolling until it is completely rolled up.

Voila!  Pretty sushi roll.

Use a good, sharp knife to cut the roll up into pieces.  Normally I have cut each roll into 6 pieces, but they are a tad big so I think next time I will do 7 or 8.

Dip the rolls in soy sauce and wasabi, and enjoy!  I’m looking forward to trying more kinds of sushi rolls now that I have the itch!

Source: passed on to me by friend April E.

20 Responses

  1. I’m not a raw fish fan, but I do love a cucumber roll. Thanks for the post – now I know how to make them at home myself! I’m going to try this next weekend.

  2. Welcome to the Sushi Lover’s Club! Before you know it, you will be raving about spicy tuna and rich decadent salmon!

  3. Your sushi-making skills are impeccable!!

  4. These are beautiful! Great job! I love California Rolls with cucumber, avocado & surimi (fake crab), but I can see that any veggies would work wonderfully! I’m scared of the rice….was it easy to work with?

    • Oh Shawna, the rice was so easy! As long as your hands are wet, it’s no trouble at all. You can do it!
      🙂 Annie

  5. I LOVE your first picture – so artistic! I’ve always wondered how to use the bamboo rolling mat. It obviously doesn’t get rolled up with the sushi roll, so does it get rolled up on top of it? I tried looking it up on google but no help 🙂

    • Hi Meghan,
      You just use the mat to help roll the sushi up, but you’re right, it obviously doesn’t get rolled up with the sushi…it just helps it along. You mostly use it to help tightly roll the contents inside, and once that part is done the rest is a breeze. I hope that helps – it’s hard to explain!
      🙂 Annie

  6. Oooh love that you made these! I still haven’t tried sushi yet and I think my first time is going to have to be a veggie roll like this. Unless I’m drunk I don’t think I’ll be brave enough to jump right into raw fish 😉

  7. Oh yum! I will have to try this – we have an asian market not too far from us, so I’m sure I could find the nori….

  8. Love home made sushi – You did great!!! I too have a whole kit and love it!!!

  9. I don’t like sushi but your rolls are beautiful!

  10. A bamboo mat – wow. It literally looks like you are going to do pilates rather than make sushi! Maybe that is why it is called a California Roll?!

    Very pretty indeed.

  11. I have never heard of a California Roll. I’ve shied away from sushi as raw fish does not sound appealing, but looking at these little yummy bites with veggies, I’m definitely trying it. Thanks for expanding my horizons! 🙂

  12. love the picture! Ryan loves to make sushi

  13. Hi Annie! I so enjoy your site and actually stumbled on it by chance from Bobbi+Mike’s blog! So glad I did.

    Our six year old son is obessessed with sushi, California rolls in particular. He also LOVES to help me in the kitchen. Thanks for giving me a project that will thrill him to pieces!

  14. I am relatively new to sushi rolls. I tried them for the first time about 8 months ago. Now I have them every time I have a chance!!! Love ’em. I’m finding that I am not a big fan of avocado, so I usually have Whole Foods substitute the avocado for something else.

    Eating a lunch of sushi rolls at my desk — I feel so cultured! LOL.

  15. You can find nori at Cost Plus (of all places) or asian markets. I am not a huge fan of raw sushi, but a local Indy sushi – Naked Chopstix -does some great rolls with cooked shrimp, crab and lobster. Somewhere out on the web their recipe for the Maui Roll is available – crab, avacado, cream cheese, asparagus, mango and almonds! So, so, so tasty! Thanks for the visual how-to! 🙂

  16. This makes sushi seem reasonably easy, i doubt this is true, but good job 🙂 I may have a go now!

  17. Yum! Thanks for this recipe. I love sushi, but if I eat even a little fish my stomach tells me off. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  18. […] I have yet to tackle making my own sushi, so the sushi rolls that I eat typically come from somewhere local. In this case, it was the local grocery store that has a sushi section, but my favorite is from Yoyogi Sushi in Gaithersburg, MD (their shrimp tempura rolls are awesome!). If you want to give it a go making your own, check out the tutorial on California Rolls by Annie’s Eats. […]

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