Today, we will learn how to make a vegetarian California roll (no raw fish!). My littlest sister not only introduced me to sushi-eating, but to sushi-making as well. She learned her skills while working in a sushi bar from 2 Mexican 20-year-old twins. You must understand that my littlest sister is a buxom, freckled, farm-girl type beauty and these twins took a liking to her. One of the first things they said to her, in a thick Mexican accent, was, "Congratulations! You are BEAUTIFUL!" And thus, her tutelage began, which she graciously passed on to me.
First of all, there are a few tools and ingredients you'll need to have on hand. They are...
-A bamboo sushi roller (can be purchased at any Asian grocery store)
-Wasabi (a hot horse-radish style Japanese mustard...I've purchased this at Wal-mart)
-Pickled ginger (can be purchased at any Asian grocery store)
-Roasted seaweed (I've also purchased this at Wal-mart)
-Roasted sesame seeds (can be purchased at Wal-mart or Sam's)
Okay, now that we've got all of our paraphernalia, let's begin.
Vegetarian California Sushi Rolls
4 cups rice
8 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package cream cheese
Roasted sesame seeds
Step 1: Make the rice. You can use special Japanese rice, but I just use plain rice from my food storage. I always use a rice cooker, because I could never get my rice just right in a pot. If you only have a pot, just follow the instructions on your rice package.
Step 2: After the rice is cooked, add the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, stirring carefully so as not to smash the rice...
Step 3: Let the rice cool. Because I was in a hurry, I spread my rice out on a cookie sheet and it cooled very quickly this way...
Step 4: While you're waiting for the rice to cool, cut up the cucumber (omitting the seeds), the cream cheese and the avocado...
(To easily de-seed an avocado, just press a sharp knife into the seed and twist to remove...)
(To easily slice an avocado, trying cutting it while still in it's peel, like so...
...then scoop the slices out with a spoon...)
Step 5: Lay out your bamboo sushi roller on a hard surface...
Step 6: Place the seaweed on the roller with the shiny side down.
(Not shiny side...)
Step 7: Spread the cooled rice onto the seaweed, leaving about an inch of empty space at the top...
Step 8: On top of the rice, place cucumber slices, avocados, cream cheese slices and sprinkle on roasted sesame seeds.
Step 9: Dip your fingers into a bowl of water...
...then wet the top of the seaweed, like so...
(This will help seal the roll.)
Step 10: Starting at the bottom of the roll, roll the sushi over the ingredients, then press the seaweed under, like so...
Keep rolling until you have formed a tight cylinder, then squeeze it to seal the moistened seaweed edge...
Step 11: Your roll is finished!
Step 12: Now, with a very sharp knife (you can use a special sushi knife...
...making sure it is really, really sharp...)
...cut your roll into one half inch pieces, making sure the seaweed seam is down...
In my case, the ends usually don't turn out very pretty, so I put them on a separate place and eat them myself later.
Step 13: To create your dipping sauce, mix a small amount of wasabi in soy sauce, to taste. If you are not accustomed to wasabi, I would recommend you not use too much, as it can really clear the sinuses. If you do end up getting too much, just make sure you don't breathe through your nose, only your mouth. Trust me!
Step 14: It's really fun to set a Japanese place setting on which to place your beautiful sushi. I used a rectangular blue and white plate, matching soy sauce dish, wooden chopsticks and a chopstick holder my littlest sister gave me for Christmas one year...
(And just to show you how unprofessional this tutorial is, I have not placed the pickled ginger on the plate, which is used as a palate cleanser, because I didn't have any. At least I neatly formed the wasabi to mix with the soy sauce in the upper right corner.)
I really hope you enjoy this and I would love to hear your experience once you try it! Thanks for listening!