Sushi has been a household favorite. Being the frugal family we reserved the restaurant sushi for special occasions and went with store bought for the occasional easy meal. However, our fondness of sushi has grown much more since we started rolling our own about a year ago.
Making the California Rolls at home mean sushi without having to run out to the grocery or warehouse store and eating your fill without breaking the bank.
Fortunately, keeping a stock of ingredients and utensils is rather minimal:
- 5 cups cooked white Calrose Rice (e.g. Botan Musenmai Calrose Rice)
- Sushi Nori (we specifically use ONE ORGANIC Sushi Nori[*])
- Rice Vinegar
- 1-3 Avocados, depending on size.
- Imitation crab meat
- Mayo (Hampton Creek, Just Mayo, Original, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Egg Free[*], because all the listed “frees” are compatible with our household food allergens/sensitivities, otherwise any quality mayo will work)
- Bamboo sushi mat and rice paddle.
You’ll want to cook the rice at least far enough ahead of time to allow it to cool to at least “slightly warm”. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup of the rice vinegar with 1/2 cup of white sugar to a simmer in a small pot until you can stir in the sugar. Migrate the rice into a non-metallic bowl, pour in the sugared vinegar and mix together.
To prep the filling, chop the imitation crab meat (thaw first if frozen) into a container, season with salt, pepper, and other optional seasonings to taste. Integrate mayo into mix to desired consistency.
Slice your avocado. I’d recommend cutting avocados as you need them.
Now that we finished Mise en place, its time to get rolling. Set up your workbench conveniently, wrap the sushi mat with plastic wrap, and lay a sheet of nori on the covered mat.
Making sushi is one of those things that as much as you can read and watch how-to videos, the best way is to try and learn tips and techniques that work for you. So the following is what I’ve learned to do. Follow or modify as fit.
With the rice paddle, lay some rice on the nori.
To help with spreading the rice across the nori, dip the paddle in water and using the back side gently apply pressure to spread the rice. Holding onto corner of uncovered nori helps with sliding around. Work to cover the nori with a thin surface of rice while leaving about 1/2 inch from the top.
Place avocado slices to cover a row about in the middle of the rice section. Top with a layer of the meat filling
To roll: pick up the mat at the bottom (edge closest to you) to fold the nori+rice over the avocado+filling. Tuck back any excess bamboo mat that would otherwise start rolling into the sushi.
Pick up the mat at the top (edge initially farthest from you) such that the rice layer meets up with the sushi filling.
To complete the nori overlap, continue rolling the top of the rice+nori while unrolling the bottom part of the sushi mat.
With the sushi rolled onto itself, wrap the top edge of the bamboo mat along the sushi and overlap it with the bottom edge of the bamboo mat.
Pick up the bamboo-mat wrapped roll and give it a gentle-to-moderate squeeze evenly along the roll. Unwrap bamboo to reveal finished sushi roll.
Remove roll from mat. Using a wet knife, slice the roll.
Serve with dipping condiments. Soy sauce is a good choice.Coconut Secret Organic Raw Coconut Aminos Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce[*]
is an alternative if wheat and soy is a concern.
The ONE ORGANIC Sushi Nori[*] is the strongly recommended item to get, if only for the value. It’s been a hair under $12 for 50 sheets ever since we found out about it, and I *just* now noticed they’re offering a 100 sheet pack (2x 50 sheets package) for slightly less unit price. There’s only been a few local grocery stores around us that even stock full-sheet nori, and at about $5 for 10 sheets, don’t come near as low-cost as the ONE ORGANIC.
We’ve been fortunate to have discovered the Hampton Creek, Just Mayo, Original, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Egg Free[*] since egg allergy has surfaced in our home. We’ve been able to locally source this mayo at a better price than on Amazon, even though store inventory has occasionally been spotty. (yes we hold on to extras in our pantry).
The Coconut Secret Organic Raw Coconut Aminos Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce[*] has been a good soy sauce dipping sub-in for those in our home with wheat and soy allergy/sensitivity. Pricing here is fairly in-line with available local vendors.
I’d suggest picking up the Botan Musenmai Calrose Rice from a brick-and-mortar store, unless you’re not within practical access to a shop that stocks it, or you already use Amazon Prime Pantry.
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