Okay, let’s face it…some folks love to make sushi. Rolling perfect cylinders with their little bamboo mats, slicing perfect rings with their razor sharp Yanagibas (sushi knifes), and topping them with brightly-colored little garnishes of this and that.
Some of us, however, just love to EAT sushi.
And no sushi is more ubiquitous to the Western sushi-bar than California Roll.
First appearing in Los Angeles in the 1960s, the California Roll is a maki-zushi, a kind of sushi roll, usually made inside-out, containing cucumber, crab meat or imitation crab, and avocado.
Though there are many variations of additional ingredients, these are the “mainstay” of the California roll.
As one of the most popular styles of sushi in the US market, the California Roll has been influential in sushi’s global popularity
Ichiro Mashita, a sushi chef, first substituted avocado for toro (fatty tuna) in hope that removing the raw fish would make it more palatable to Western customers, and realized the oily texture of avocado was a perfect substitute for toro. He also made the roll “inside-out” (with the rice on the outside), because Americans didn’t like seeing and chewing the nori on the outside of the roll.
By the 1980s, the California Roll was the single most popular item in the sushi craze that was sweeping across the United States.
Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.
This recipe allows for the same flavors and textures of the traditional California roll, without requiring the skills or equipment necessary to create the more familiar rolled presentation, with Furikake seasoning replacing the traditional nori (seaweed sheets).
Furikake seasoning can be found in Asian grocery stores, or can be ordered from our Amazon.com store.
Deconstructed California Roll Salad
1 batch sushi rice (recipe below), room temp.
2 Tbsp. Furikaki seasoning
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 small cucumber
8 oz. imitation crab or lobster
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for serving (opt)
Mise en Place
Prepare the rice (recipe below). Peel, seed, and cut cucumber into half-rounds. Break imitation crab into bite-sized portions. Peeled and pit the avocado, and slice 1/4-inch thick.
Prepare the Dish
Divide the cooled rice between two plates, and sprinkle with 1/2 of the Furikaki seasoning and 1/2 of the toasted sesame seeds. Top with crab, cucumber, and avocado, the sprinkle with remaining Furikaki seasoning and sesame seeds.
Serve immediately with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce (all optional).
1 cup sushi or short grain rice
1 cup water
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
Rinse rice in a mixing bowl 2 to 3 times, or until the water is clear.
Place the rice and 1 cup of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Combine the rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture.
Allow to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi or sashimi.
Makes 2 cups