Sushi is a fun and interactive meal where the whole family can participate. When you had your first bite of sushi, more than likely you tasted a California roll. This iconic sushi roll is made with a combination of crab meat, cucumber and avocado. If you are intimidated by making sushi at home, practice with vegetable rolls, like an avocado roll, and then move on to more complicated rolls that include expensive cuts of fish including albacore, yellow fin tuna and salmon. California rolls are a great roll to begin with because the ingredients are widely available and affordable.
For better or worse, most California rolls are made with imitation crab meat. Often called "krab sticks," imitation crab meat is a blend of fish, known as surimi, that has been finely pulverized and shaped to look like snow crab legs. You can find imitation crab meat in the frozen section of the grocery store. If you are like me and prefer the taste of real crab, feel free to make the substitution. Lump or back fin crab meat are best for California rolls.
Before attempting to make California rolls, it is important to toast your seaweed sheets, also known as nori, prior to assembling your roll. You can do this in the oven or over an open flame on your stove top. Only one side needs to be toasted for our purposes. Sometimes you can also find already toasted nori sheets at the Asian market.
California rolls are the perfect roll to help ease your way into homemade sushi. These three different serving ideas will hopefully jumpstart your culinary creativity and motivate you to craft your own rolls.
Imitation crab or crab
Seaweed sheets (nori)
Cooked short or medium grain white rice
Seasoned rice vinegar or sushi vinegar
Pickled ginger and wasabi paste for serving
Bamboo mat covered in plastic wrap