California Roll

California Roll

Namiko Chen


  •   Two 0.6-ounce cans crabmeat, drained
  • 1/2 Cup  Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1/2  English cucumber
  • nori sheets
  • avocados
  •   Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 Cup  water
  • 2 Teaspoons  distilled white vinegar
  • 9 Cups  cooked sushi rice
  • 1/4 Cup  white sesame seeds
  •   Wasabi, for serving
  •   Pickled sushi ginger, for serving
  •   Ikura (salmon roe), for garnish (optional)
  •   Tobiko (flying fish roe), for garnish (optional)

Ever wondered how to make this classic staple of sushi bars everywhere in America? Look no further. Now you can make this classic at home, too. To make life easier, you'll need a bamboo mat (like the kind used to serve cold soba noodles at Japanese restaurants), some plastic wrap, and a very sharp knife.

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Combine the crab with the mayonnaise in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Place the cucumber next to 1 nori sheet and cut off the edge of cucumber so the length of cucumber is same as the width of nori sheet. Peel the cucumbers, leaving some skin in a striped pattern. Then, cut into long thin strips. Set aside.

Peel, pit, and cut the avocados into ¼-inch-thick slices. Squeeze the lemon juice over the avocados to prevent them from turning brown.

Take each nori sheet and cut off 1/3 — we will only use 2/3 sheet of nori. Reserve any leftovers in a zip-lock bag so they won’t become stale. Wrap the bamboo mat with a large piece of plastic wrap and mix the water and vinegar in a small bowl.

Lay 1 piece of nori on top of the bamboo mat, shiny side down. Put about 1 cup of the sushi rice on top, just enough to thinly cover the nori sheet — it’s OK to have some small gaps. Dip your fingers in the water-vinegar mixture and distribute the rice toward the bottom of the nori sheet.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the rice. Flip the nori sheet rice side down and place it at the bottom end of the bamboo mat. Lay down a strip of cucumber, spread the crabmeat, and lay the avocado slices on top.

Use the bamboo mat to roll the bottom edge of the nori sheet over the filling. Tuck in the filling firmly. Lift the edge of the bamboo sheet and roll it forward while keeping gentle pressure on the bamboo sheet.

Take the roll out of the bamboo mat, and with a very sharp knife, cut each roll in half and then cut each half into 3 pieces. Keep wiping the knife with a damp towel after a few slices. (If there is too much rice stuck to the knife, then resulting slices won’t look nice.) Serve with wasabi and picked sushi ginger. Garnish with ikura and tobiko, if using. 

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