Thursday, August 26, 2010

California Rolls, yum!

*Photo from

When I lived in Austin once in a while (okay well, once) we had a pre-birth (of Ivy) party and Gretchen made these yummy California Rolls. I thought I didn't like oriental type food until I had these. I ate about ten, which is saying something since when I made them last night Blaine could only eat about four (they are super filling). My rolls didn't turn out looking as pretty as Gretchen's did, but they tasted great and were surprisingly easy to make!

Japanese Sushi Rice (Vinegar Flavored Rice)

by Gretchen Smith

Note: Sushi simply means “cold rice.” This recipe for sushi rice said it was specifically for Maki-zushi (California roll style sushi) but can be used for other sushi.



2 ½ cups short grain rice (short grain or medium grain important so it will stick together, I usually use Calrose rice)

2 ½ cups water

2 ½ inch strip of konbu (I don't usually bother with this – I can't really tell a difference if it is left out) Konbu is a long dark brown to grayish-black seaweed, sometimes simply called kelp. The seaweed is sun-dried and folded into sheets. Konbu has a natural white-powder covering that delivers flavor. Therefore, the surface should be lightly wiped off, not washed.

Vinegar Dressing:

4 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. plain rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. salt


1. Cook the rice the same as you would normally would (rice cooker or stovetop). The only difference is that you add the konbu and boil it together with the rice. The konbu should be removed as soon as the water reaches a vigorous boil. Take the konbu out quickly so the lid can be replaced as soon as possible.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients to make the vinegar dressing, making sure the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.

3. After turning the heat off for the rice, allow the rice to steam an additional 10 minutes, then empty into a large, flat pan or tray. (If you're not a perfectionist, a very big will do just fine.)

4. Sprinkle the vinegar dressing over the rice. While using a fan or blow dryer on cool setting, mix the rice in a cutting motion (to keep from mashing the rice grains) with a wet wood or plastic spatula. Quickly cooling the rice gives it a glossy texture.

Serves 4 people

Japanese Maki-zushi (California Roll Style Sushi)

by Gretchen Smith

Note: A variety of fillings can be used for sushi, so feel free to experiment. The following is a list of the ingredients I usually use because they are more traditional and easier to find and prepare.

5 sheets toasted nori (dried seaweed)

3 eggs

1 tablespoon sugar

soy sauce


imitation crab (I use the “leg style” kind that comes rolled in plastic and separates into long thin little strips)

To prepare ingredients for center of rolls:

1. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon sugar and a dash of soy sauce. Cook egg like one large pancake. Cut into ½ inch wide strips.

2. Cut up the cucumber into ¼ strips, removing the seeds.

3. Separate the crab strips in half.

To make the rolls:

1. Place nori shiny side down. Spread 1/5 sushi rice on nori evenly over the nori, leaving 1 inch uncovered at the top.

2. Place ingredients in horizontal strips on sushi rice closer to the bottom than the top. Moisten fingers in vinegar water and run along the exposed leading edge. Roll the nori into a roll.

3. Using sharp knife cut roll into slices. Wipe knife with wet cloth after each cut to keep it from sticking to rice inside the roll.

4. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, ginger, and toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

Other possible fillings:

- dried Chinese black mushrooms, softened, cut into strips, cooked into soy sauce and sugar

- boiled spinach w/ soy sauce

- daikon or radish sprouts

- pink powder/flakes made with sugar and fish (I forget what this is called)

- cream cheese

* When I made them I used avacado, cucumber, and imitation crab for the filling, and then I added some cream cheese should do that, just cut it in to thin strips and roll it up with your rolls.


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