My kids are allergic to everything under the sun. You name it, they are allergic to them. Except for rice. Not surprised, right? It’s hard to find foods that do not contain wheat, eggs, and dairy, their worst allergens. So lunch or on-the-go foods are tricky.
Then, what do I feed them when they need to take something for the road? California Roll. It’s healthy, simple, and a great finger food. But the store-bought ones contain fake crab meat that has wheat in it. It doesn’t even taste like crab and they use flour to bind whatever they use to make the ‘thing.’ A sophisticated word there, eh? Well, that’s what it is since it doesn’t taste like anything.
Anyway, I started making California Roll at home because it’s cheaper, healthier, and quite easy to make. It’s funny to me that just because it has a wee bit of avocado, it’s called California Roll. Just sayin’ Regardless what “supposed” to go inside, when you make them at home, you can put whatever you want and better yet, use up whatever veggies that are lying around in your fridge. But I know what you are thinking… How on earth do you get the rice on the outside the nori (seaweed)?
Ah….glad you asked. Well, I traveled to the most remote fishing village in Japan to learn from the best sushi guru, Moritmoto San and…..No… I’m kidding. I didn’t. I watched a sushi chef at my favorite Japanese restaurant make it and it looked really easy so I tried it at home. The hardest part was cutting all the veggies in strips but besides that, it was easy peasy.
Watch the video I made below showing you how I make California Roll.
Just in case you didn’t get all the ingredients in the video, here is the recipe. Enjoy!
How to Make a California Roll
*This recipe makes one roll so use your judgment in preparing the veggies depending on how many rolls you are going to make.
- 1 Cup Cooked med grain rice long grain rice is not sticky enough but Kokuho Rose Rice is best. In fact, Kokuho company reassured me that their rice is not contaminated with high levels of Arsenic when I wrote to them last year.
- 1 8 "x5" Sheet of Toasted Sushi Nori. The sheet comes as 8"x8". Nori comes in all different variety and you don't have to buy this particular brand or this quantity but whatever brand you buy make sure it's toasted and it's for sushi. Frankly, I never bought organic nori since it's grows in the ocean but check the package to make sure it's grown in 'safe' waters. If not, buy organic to be safe.
- 1/2 Tsp of Rice Vinegar
- Strips of slightly cooked vegetables such as, carrots, cucumber, avocado, asparagus, etc.
- Salt to taste
- A pinch of sesame seeds to sprinkle on the outside
- Directions: Watch the video for more detailed info.
- Cook rice according to the direction. Add rice vinegar and salt to taste. Set aside.
- Cut veggies in strips. I blanched the carrot strips for about 1 minute, just long enough to make them a bit limp.
- On a flat surface, like a dry cutting board, lay the bamboo mat down, then parchment paper on top.
- Using one spoonful of rice at a time, evenly spread rice across the parchment paper. I usually wet my hands with some rice vinegar and spread it using my fingers.
- Lay the sushi nori on top of the rice and gently press down to the rice.
- Arrange the strips of veggies across the middle of the nori.
- Gently, lift the corners of the bamboo mat and evenly roll it forward, while taking the parchment paper and gently press in all the ingredients and rice as you roll.
- Take the roll, and put it on the board.
- Take a sharp knife, run it under cold water, gently slice the roll in about 1/2" in thickness. Make sure to use a slicing motion and not cutting it straight down. Otherwise, you'll smoosh the rice down and it won't be pretty.
- Put the cut pieces on a plate and sprinkle sesame seeds on top and enjoy!
Parchment paper, cut in size about 8"x5" - most people use plastic wrap but you know how I feel about that. Parchment paper works just as well.
There you have it. So make it today and come back and tell me how you like it.
Oh, pair your California roll with some piping hot homemade miso soup. Yummm! If you are squeamish about miso soup, let me tell you, if you buy organic miso and you don’t eat it every day, you should be fine. Like I am. Like all Asians are. But if you feel an immediate reaction, then, discontinue eating soy. Simple as that. But don’t go around bashing soy just because you had a reaction to it. We live fermented soy. We don’t eat soy as a whole every day nor drink soy milk every day. Like everything else in life, moderation is a key but more than that, everyone reacts differently to different foods. So please, don’t bash soy. People eat unhealthier things than soy to get them sick. Soy is not your enemy. This could be a post in itself…