Sushi Rolls: California Rolls and Cucumber Roll
Hands-On Time: 45 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 1 1/2 hours
For The Sushi Rice:
2 ½ cups Calrose medium grain rice
2 ½ cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
For The Sushi Roll Fillings:
1 seedless English Cucumber
8 sheets of Nori (seaweed)
Toasted sesame seeds (white and black)
Crab (you could use 1 cup of real crab meat, (or use imitation crab which is less expensive and commonly used) mixed with ¼ cup mayonnaise
You will need a sushi mat, also knows as a makisu, and small bowl of water on hand for rolling.
Prepare the sushi rice, which you want to be sticky. Rinse the rice really well in a small mesh strainer, until the water runs clear to remove excess starch. Then, soak the rice by placing the strainer in a medium size bowl with enough water to come up the side of the strainer for 15 to 30 minutes.
While the rice soaks, in a measuring cup combine the rice vinegar, salt and sugar. Set aside.
After 15 to 30 minutes, remove the rice and drain it really well to remove excess water.
Place the rice in a rice cooker, along with the water and cook for 20 minutes. (You want to use equal parts of rice and water.) Remove the rice from the rice cooker, and transfer into medium size bowl. minutes. Add the vinegar mixture.
Using a wooden spoon, mix the rice so there aren’t any clumps. Make a little mountain out of the rice, then stir together in a slicing motion, then fold the rice back together, again to ensure there are no clumps.
Prep your sushi fillings. Cut the English cucumber in quarters. Then, slightly trim the triangular tops across so you have more of a flat and even surface to work with. Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit. The slice the halves into quarters so you can cut thinner, smaller pieces to work with.
Keep a small bowl of water on the side during the assembly process to wet your hands, in order to keep the rice from sticking to you.
To make a California Roll, take a piece of the nori and place it shiny side down.
Wet your hands. Then, gather a medium size scoop of the seasoned rice from the bowl and place it along the middle of the nori. You want to press the rice out, so it covers the entire surface. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Wet the cutting board a little and flip over the nori onto the rice side. Wetting the board will keep the rice from sticking to it. Place several slices of avocado in the center of the nori, then the crab. Wet your fingers again and roll it up tightly.
Next, take your sushi mat. Place it over the roll and press to make the shape it more evenly. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll in half, and cut each half into 4 pieces for 8 rolls total.
Chef’s Note: We also made a Hosomaki style roll, which is a smaller roll in diameter with the nori on the outside with the cucumbers.
To make a Cucumber Roll, also known as Kappamaki, place the shiny side of the nori down on the sushi mat. You will see lines on the nori. For this roll, you want to keep the top line free from rice, so you can roll it more tightly.
Wet your hands. Take a medium size ball of rice, and place it on the lower part of the nori. Sprinkle the rice with toasted sesame seeds. Place one piece of the English cucmber on top, and roll it several times to get a really tight, compact roll.
Slice the roll in half, and then into three pieces per half for a total of 6 rolls.
Chef’s note: Billy showed me how to grate fresh wasabi, which is much more expensive than the commonly used wasabi paste. You only should grate what you want to use, so that the root doesn’t lose it’s potency. Use a spoon, like you would with ginger, to grate away the outer skin of small botton section. Then, hand grate with ceramic or small hand grater. It was a special treat to have this with Billy and Matthew. Wrap whatever you don’t use and pop it in the fridge.
Should you want to explore this option, you can purchase fresh wasabi from Pacific Coast Wasabi: http://www.wasabia.com/