Homemade Sushi Rolls with Crab Sticks, Cucumber & Avocado

Sushi is so much part of our lives these days and is easily accessible from not only Japanese restaurants but can also be bought ready made from the myriad of sandwich and Asian chains in London as well as supermarkets. Sadly, the quality of mass produced sushi is mostly a sheer drop from what the authentic small independent restaurants produce. Strangely enough, although so present in our lives like pasta, pizza, burgers and the rest of the popular mainstream dishes we all enjoy, sushi is something that is rarely attempted at home.

I am pleased to say that with the correct store ingredients, making sushi is easier than you think. You can also make a lot of it at a reasonable cost; especially maki rolls. You can use stock items from your fridge and mix and match as to what you have. I am always finding half avocados, half a cucumber, peppers and such the like that need attention before sell by dates so making maki rolls is a great way to deal with that.

Ingredients ( for 6-7 rolls, making 48 – 56 individual pieces)

For the rice:
250g Sushi Rice ( I use Yutaka brand)
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar (white granulated is fine)
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon dashi powder (optional and if you can get it)
330ml water

Method
1. Wash the rice thoroughly. At least 4-5 times until the water is clear then add to a pot, add the water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on then turn off the heat. Leave to cool with the lid on (do not peek inside). After 30 minutes is will be done.

2. Whilst the rice cools. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a jug. Transfer the rice to any wooden bowl (it will still be warm) and pour over the liquid slowly to cover all the rice. Using a wooden spoon, slice through the rice to mix in the liquid. Do not mash and bash the rice, treat it gently. Place a damp tea towel over the bowl touching the rice and leave for another 30 minutes. You are ready to go now.

For the California Roll (inside out roll)
2 Crab sticks per roll
2 slices of cucumber lengths ( to fit the cross section of the nori)
2 slices avocado lengths – same length as cucumber and crab sticks
White and Black sesame seeds
Pickled ginger (store bought)
Wasabi paste or powder (store bought)

1. Place the seaweed wrap (1/2 sheet & rough side facing upward) onto a sushi rolling mat that is covered in cling film

2. Wet your hands and take enough rice to cover the seaweed, roll out the rice across the seaweed to cover and do not press to hard as you want the individual grains to keep their beautiful shape. Sprinkle sesame seeds. Fold the mat and turn the seaweed over so that the bare side is now facing you.

3.Place two crab sticks alongside each other to fit the breadth of the seaweed closer to your end, place the cucumber strips in front (away from you) close to the crab and then the avocado in front of the crab (toward you). You are ready to roll. Tuck the contents in with your fingers as you roll. Once you sense it has come full circle apply pressure to the whole width of the roll to keep the rice together.

4. Roll off the mat and slice the roll in half, place them alongside each other and make 8 individual pieces.

5. Plate with pickled ginger and wasabi.

Cucumber and Avocado maki (rice inside, seaweed out)
2-3 strips of avocado per roll
2 strips of cucumber per roll

Same as above but only place the filling on the rice and then roll.

Suggestion: I like to sprinkle a little Nanami Togoroshi ( Japanese spice mix) on two off the individual rolls to give a little colour burst as well as heat.

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