While the exact time and location of California rolls’ creation remain disputed, everyone agrees that it was invented in North America by a Japanese sushi chef sometime between the 1960s and 1980s to adapt to Western tastes. To make the traditional Japanese dish more appealing to western palates, a complete overhaul was needed.
First of all, the raw fish had to go. Tuna was substituted by avocado to give an oily texture, and crab to give a seafood taste. The second change was to hide the seaweed. Many American consumers thought the seaweed was inedible and often peeled it off, so the California roll does away with the outer seaweed, replacing the outside nori with vinegared rice and hiding the seaweed on the inside. Other common ingredients of this inside-out sushi roll include cucumber, sesame seeds, and fish eggs. Sometimes a little mayo is added too.
While some claim it was invented in Vancouver, the earliest mention of the ‘California roll’ in print was in the Los Angeles Times in 1979. In any case, the California roll has always been a big hit in LA and soon became one of the most popular types of sushi in the United States. With its creative mix of Asian and Western culinary traditions, this dish is fusion cuisine at its best.
All that talk of sushi is making me hungry! Let’s jump to the recipe!
Ingredients (for 24 pieces):
- 460g cooked sushi rice
- 60ml seasoned rice vinegar
- 4 half sheets sushi-grade nori
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
- 8 crab sticks
- 1 small cucumber sliced finely into matchsticks
- 1 thinly sliced avocado
How to Make California Rolls:
- Season the sushi rice with the rice vinegar. Fan and stir until room temperature.
- Cover your rolling mat in cling film. This means you won’t even have to wash it later.
- Place one sheet of nori on a rolling mat, with the rough side facing upwards.
- Wet your hands and put a handful of rice on the nori. Spread the rice evenly on the nori without mashing it. Season rice with sesame seeds (optional), then flip it over so the nori is facing upwards.
- Put the crab followed by a row of avocado and a row of cucumber in a horizontal row 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom.
- Grabbing the nori and the mat, roll the mat over the filling so the extra space at the bottom touches the other side, squeezing it down to make a tight roll. If it’s not tight enough it will be difficult to cut.
- Transfer the roll onto a cutting board. Rub a knife on a damp towel before slicing the roll into six equal portions.
Yum, yum! Making sushi may seem complicated at first, but once you’ve got the knack of it, it’s quite simple and fun. Let us know how your sushi creations go!
Make it Vegan
Want to make this recipe without the animal products? Veganize your recipe easily by replacing the crab sticks with either: marinated smoked tofu, marinated mushrooms or seitan sliced into lengths and mixed with a little vegenaise.
Pair Your California Rolls with California Wine
And don’t forget to wash down your sushi rolls with some California wine. Drinks&Co offers a huge range of California wines from the world-renowned Napa Valley to up and coming regions such as Santa Rita Hills. Browse our huge collection of wines today and we’re sure you’ll be California dreamin’ in no time.
This versatile sparkler pairs perfectly with a wide range of seafood.