Sushi Rice and California Rolls Recipe

The California roll; my favorite! I’m not a brave sushi goer (no raw fish for me!), but I sure do love my California rolls. I crave these topped with spicy mayo and dipped in a wasabi/soy sauce concoction… mmm. It’s also pretty inexpensive to make sushi at home. With the right tools and this tutorial, you’ll be a pro in no time.

It’s been an exciting week in my kitchen. First selyodka, now sushi and a bunch of other things in between, just wait until next week! ;). I’m just wild like ‘dat. I’m posting this because I’ve received plenty of requests for a sushi tutorial over the years and I think I make a mighty good Cali roll. My husband agrees 🙂

Ingredients for Perfect Sushi Rice:

2 cups Japanese short or medium grain rice (such as Homai or California Calrose)
2 1/2 cups cold water
5 Tbsp Sushi Vinegar
(Make your own sushi vinegar by combining the following 3 ingredients and dissolving them together over low heat on the stove, then let the mixture cool):
4 Tbsp Rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt (I used sea salt)

Sushi Rice & California Rolls Recipe

I called my favorite sushi place and they told me they use Homai (California Calrose) rice to make their sushi. So I trotted over to the store and purchased the same one. It was perfect!

Ingredients for California Roll:

1/2 lb Imitation crab meat (p.s. the “log” shaped crab meat is the easiest to work with)
1 Avocado, ripe but still firm
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into long julienne strips
Toasted Nori Seaweed
Toasted sesame seeds
A sushi rolling mat + Plastic wrap to cover the mat.  If you don’t have a sushi mat, try using parchment paper instead.

Sushi Rice & California Rolls Recipe-6

Dips/Sauces for California roll:

Soy sauce (regular or low sodium)
Wasabi paste or wasabi powder
For spicy mayo: Mayonnaise (~1 Tbsp) and Sriracha hot chili sauce (~1 tsp)  or to taste

Sushi Rice & California Rolls Recipe-5

How to Cook Perfect Sushi Rice (Rice Maker or Stove-top):

1. Wash the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well. If you have a rice maker (way easier!), follow rice maker instructions (add 2 cups rice and 2 1/2 cups water) (no salt required!) and cook on the white rice setting then skip to step #4

sushi-rice-and-california-rolls
2. For the stove top method: Put drained rice in a heavy sauce-pan and add 2 cups cold water. Cover tightly and set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium and let cook covered until all the water is absorbed (7-8 min). Do not remove the cover to check, but listen for the bubbling to stop.

3. Once you hear a faint hissing sound, reduce the heat to very low and cook another 6 min. Remove from the heat and let stand 15 min covered. This is the basic white rice eaten with Japanese meals.

4. Transfer the hot rice to a large bowl and break it up to get rid of all the hot clumps.

Sushi Rice & California Rolls Recipe-9

5. Let the rice cool down a little. It should still be very warm when you stir in your sushi vinegar.

Sushi Rice & California Rolls Recipe-11

Assembling your California Rolls:

1. Wrap your in plastic wrap before using it (this makes it re-useable and you don’t even have to wash it!).

Sushi Rice & California Rolls Recipe-7

2. Fold the pieces of nori in half to split them.

Sushi Rice & California Rolls Recipe-13

3. Toast your sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden. Slice up your veggies and crab meat.

sushi-rice-and-california-rolls-1

4. Spread a generous handful of sushi rice onto the 1/2 sheet of nori. Use your WET FINGER TIPS (keep your hands wet to prevent sticking) to spread the rice evenly over the entire surface of the nori.

sushi-rice-and-california-rolls-2

5. Flip the rice covered piece of nori over so the rice is facing down (this way, your rice will be on the outside). Place your fillings across the center of your nori lengthwise (don’t overfill or the roll won’t seal).

sushi-rice-and-california-rolls-3

6. Start rolling using your matt to firmly keep the roll in place. Apply some pressure to make a tight roll. If its not tight enough, it will be difficult to cut. Once the roll is complete, sprinkle the roll with toasted sesame seeds while it is still on the mat so you can turn it easily.

sushi-rice-and-california-rolls-4

7. Run your sharp knife through a damp paper towel before slicing so the rice won’t stick as much. Cut the roll in half, then line the two halves up and slice into even 1-inch rings. I have found that it slices easier when you slice quickly.

sushi-rice-and-california-rolls-5

I learned my sushi making skills after reading Mom’s culinary textbook from her college days, a little bit of trial-and-error and picked up some tips (like the wet knife and the plastic wrapped-sushi matt) from Ree Drummond.

sushi-rice-and-california-rolls-4

Sushi Rice and California Rolls Recipe

4.9 from 18 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A tutorial on how to make the perfect sushi rice and a recipe for legitimate California rolls 🙂
Author:
Skill Level: Medium
Cost To Make: $12-$15
Serving: 9 rolls

Ingredients

Ingredients for Perfect Sushi Rice:

  • 2 cups Japanese short or medium grain rice
  • 2½ cups cold water
  • 5 Tbsp Sushi Vinegar
  • (Make your own sushi vinegar by combining the following 3 ingredients and dissolving them together over low heat on the stove, then let the mixture cool):
  • 4 Tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt (I used sea salt)

Ingredients for California Rolls:

  • ½ lb Imitation crab meat (p.s. the "log" shaped crab meat is the easiest to work with)
  • 1 Avocado, ripe but still firm
  • ½ medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into long julienne strips
  • Toasted Nori Seaweed
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • A sushi rolling mat ($2 at Cost Plus World Market) If you don't have a sushi mat, try using parchment paper instead.

For Dips/Sauces:

  • Soy sauce (regular or low sodium)
  • Wasabi paste or wasabi powder
  • For spicy mayo: Mayonnaise (~1 Tbsp) and Sriracha hot chili sauce (~1 tsp) or to taste

Instructions

How to Cook Perfect Sushi Rice (Rice Maker and Stove-top versions): P.S. do not add salt while cooking rice.

  1. Wash the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well. If you have a rice maker (way easier!), follow rice maker instructions and cook on the white rice setting then skip to step #4
  2. Put drained rice in a heavy sauce-pan and add 2 cups cold water. Cover tightly and set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium and let cook covered until all the water is absorbed (7-8 min). Do not remove the cover to check, but listen for the bubbling to stop.
  3. Once you hear a faint hissing sound, reduce the heat to very low and cook another 6 min. Remove from the heat and let stand 15 min covered. This is the basic white rice eaten with japanese meals.
  4. Transfer the hot rice to a large bowl and break it up to get rid of all the hot clumps.
  5. Let the rice cool down until it is just warm, then stir in your cooled sushi vinegar

Assembling your California Rolls:

  1. Wrap your sushi matt in plastic wrap before using it (this makes it re-useable and you don't even have to wash it!).
  2. Fold the pieces of nori in half to split them.
  3. Toast your sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden. Slice up your veggies.
  4. Spread a generous handful of sushi rice onto the ½ sheet of nori. Use your WET FINGER TIPS (keep your hands wet to prevent sticking) to spread the rice evenly over the entire surface of the nori.
  5. Flip the rice covered piece of nori over so the rice is facing down (this way, your rice will be on the outside). Place your fillings across the center of your rice in the middle of the sheet (don't overfill or the roll won't seal).
  6. Start rolling away from you using your matt to firmly keep the roll in place. Apply some pressure to make a tight roll. If its not tight enough, it will be difficult to cut. Once the roll is complete, sprinkle the roll with toasted sesame seeds while it is still on the mat so you can turn it easily.
  7. Run your sharp knife through a damp paper towel before slicing so the rice won't stick as much. Cut the roll in half, then line the two halves up and slice even 1-inch rings. I have found that it slices easier when you slice quickly.

Final Final Picmonkey Hashtag bannersushi-rice-and-california-rolls-2

 

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Olga
    December 12, 2017

    Very delicious! I did already 3 times . Thank you so much for this recipe, Natasha. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 12, 2017

      You’re welcome Olga! I’m glad to hear how much you love the recipe. Thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Graycee
    November 29, 2017

    Hi Natasha,

    Have you ever made the rice ahead of time and then assembled the sushi a day or two later? I’m curious if the texture would be wrong if it sat in the fridge a couple of days. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 29, 2017

      Hi Graycee, it will change the texture of the rice if you wait. The rice is softest and easiest to work with on day one and tends to seem dryer as time goes on. Reply

  • September 14, 2017

    This is one of the best sushi roll recipes I have ever seen. I love sushi and I love to know and try different types of sushi. I was wondering to make sushi roll at home with the help of my sushi tools. I am definitely gonna try this. I hope it will taste good and kids will like it. Thanks for sharing such an amazing sushi recipe. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 14, 2017

      You’re welcome Steve! That’s quite the compliment! I’m happy to hear how much you enjoy the recipe! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Reply

  • Melodie
    June 14, 2017

    How long would this last in the fridge? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 14, 2017

      Hi Melodie, I personally think sushi tastes best fresh when the rice isn’t firm with refrigeration but it will last as long as your veggies and avocado inside are fresh (1-2 days) Reply

  • March 29, 2017

    Hi Natasha,

    You may want to try my favorite Sushi, which is….. A deep fried tempura softshell crab sushi. came across this at a little place in Woodbridge Va. I have now perfected it. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2017

      Mmmm that sounds fantastic!! Reply

  • Julie
    January 21, 2017

    Hi Natasha! Made this sushi today, also I deep fried it in tempura batter and it was amazing! Thanks for the recipe! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 21, 2017

      Wow that does sound amazing!! 🙂 Reply

  • Tatyana
    December 28, 2016

    My all time favorite combo is
    Flake crab meat mixed with spicy mayo and scallions. Put that on the rice and then add blanched asparagus and roll. Has such a great taste and crunch to it. Yummmmmmmm. I’ve been making sushi for probably 6 years now and still it’s my fave . Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 28, 2016

      Mmmmm! That does sound good! Reply

  • November 3, 2016

    Good, step-by-step recipe, great for those who make sushi for the first time! However, the phrase “makes 9 rolls” confused me – and I literally understood 9 rolls that one person can eat; I doubled the amount of rice, and later I found out that it’s meant 9 strips of rolls…We ate rice the whole week … Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 4, 2016

      Hi Lidia, yes 1 sushi roll usually has 6 to 8 sushi pieces depending on how thickly you slice them. Doubling it would definitely make a lot of sushi! Reply

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