The California Roll is one of the most popular sushi rolls that came over from the US. This sushi roll is so popular that it is now standard on every sushi menu. I personally think it is one of the tastiest sushi rolls around and I am happy to share my recipe with you in this article so you can make that delicious California Roll at home yourself!
A California Roll, of course, is full of deliciously flavorful sushi rice and a nori seaweed skin. The filling of this blissful sushi consists of surimi (which is imitation crab), cucumber and avocado. On the outside you will often find white and/or black sesame seeds or an orange layer of Tobiko or Massago. I personally prefer to use orange Tobiko.
What are those orange little eggs on the outside of a California Roll?
The orange ingredient you see on the outside of a California Roll is Tobiko. Tobiko are fish eggs from the flying fish and are frequently used by many sushi chefs as a garnish for sushi. These eggs are crunchy and and taste a tad salty.
You can also use Massago instead of Tobiko. This is roe from the Lodde. A ray-finned fish from the muskie family that is common in the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic. Its eggs are a lot smaller and less flavorful than Tobiko, but, on the other hand, is also a lot cheaper.
Both Tobiko and Massago give a nice “bite” to your sushi. The eggs are crunchy and plop gently in your mouth when you take a piece of sushi.
How did the California Roll get its name?
In the 1970s, this delicacy was invented in the city of Vancouver, Canada, by Japanese chef Hidekazu Tojo.
Hidekazu noticed that his customers did not like the raw fish and seaweed traditionally used in sushi, so he decided to make some modifications and turn the roll inside out to hide the black seaweed. Many of his customers were from Los Angeles and they loved this roll. That’s why this sushi roll was named the California roll. The first inside-out roll (Uramaki) was born and revolutionized the sushi world.
Instead of raw fish, chef Tojo used surimi, better known as imitation crab. Along with avocado and cucumber, this is the basis of this sushi roll.
How do you make your own delicious California Roll at home?
Making a California Roll yourself at home is easier than you think. Anyone can do it and you certainly can too! Get the ingredients and get started with this instructional video in which I show you step by step how to make a California Roll.
Ingredients California Roll
- Sushi rice
- Surimi (imitation crab)
- Orange Massago (or Tobiko)
- Nori skin
Recipe California Roll
First, take a ripe avocado, cut it in half and remove the stone. Then remove the skin and now cut your avocado into nice, straight strips. Put a little bit of lemon or lime juice on it so the avocado doesn’t turn brown.
Next, take a cucumber, wash it and cut it in half. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Then cut the cucumber lengthwise into thin strips.
Of course, you will need sushi rice for the California Roll. Prepare the perfect sushi rice according to these instructions.
For this sushi roll, you will only use half a nori sheet, so fold it neatly in half and cut or tear the nori sheet into two parts. A nori sheet has one long side and one slightly shorter side. Look closely, as a nori sheet is 20 by 18 centimeters. Fold your nori sheet so that you are left with two halves of 10 by 18 centimeters.
A nori sheet has a rough side and a smooth side. Lay the rough side up on your bamboo mat. That’s where we’re going to put the sushi rice.
Wet your hands a little bit so that the sushi rice doesn’t stick to your hands. For that, use the water and rice vinegar you made.
Spread a thin layer of sushi rice all over your nori sheet. Then grab both corners of your nori sheet with your hands and turn your nori sheet over at once. The rice will now end up on the bottom. Rest assured. Nothing will fly through your kitchen because the rice will stick to the nori sheet.
In the center of your nori sheet, place your crab sticks, cucumber and avocado. Make sure the whole thing is not too thick or you won’t be able to fold the roll closed. We are now going to roll the sushi.
Rolling the California Roll
Place your thumbs under the mat and fold it over the filling, while holding the filling (the crab, cucumber and avocado) in place with your thumbs. These should not shift. Pick up the mat and gently roll on. Pause a few times to strengthen the roll by applying pressure along the length of the bamboo mat. Roll or fold the mat a little further and reinforce the roll again. Continue like this until the rice touches and you can close the roll. Then roll the mat all the way out so that your sushi roll appears.
Now it’s time to put the orange Massago (or Tobiko) on top. Using a teaspoon (or your hands), spread the small eggs over your sushi roll. Turn a few times and make sure your entire sushi roll is covered.
Now cover the roll with clear cling film. Use the bamboo mat to press the foil against the roll. The cling film will fix the roll and the rice. Shape the sushi and also perfect the ends of the roll.
We are now going to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces. Keep the foil on, as this will make cutting easy. Wet your knife a little bit. This will keep the rice from sticking to your knife. Use a razor sharp knife, otherwise it will be a difficult task and that’s a waste of all your work.
To make equal-sized pieces, cut the sushi roll in half, then into quarters, then into eighths. If, while cutting, you notice that your knife gets sticky and starts to drag, clean your knife and dampen it again. Cutting your roll is done in one smooth motion through the roll.
When you have cut all the pieces, quietly and carefully remove and discard the foil. Your California Roll is ready to be served!
Serve your sushi with tasty soy sauce, a sprinkle of wasabi and some pickled ginger.
Enjoy your meal!