Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Recipe: reversed California maki minus the roe

I dunno anymore if you can still call this California roll if the rice and the nori are in reverse and if it doesn't have roe (those tiny, translucent, orange spheres). But anyway...

During a sleepover in Airis's house a few years ago, her mom served us homemade California maki with the nori outside instead of the rice outside. I love Japanese food (and my family does too) so after that sleepover, I got the idea that I can actually make California rolls at home. I just searched the internet for tips on how to make them.

Of course it's not the same as how the Japanese make their sushi but I guess we can make do with it if it's just to appease our sushi cravings at home. California rolls sold in random places outside are also quite expensive but my homemade version is cheap, I promise. :)

What you need:
Short-grained rice. I was able to buy Japanese rice at SM Hypermarket for Php63/kilo.
Vinegar. You can buy vinegar imported from Japan in SM or Landmark. I don't know the brand, it's was written in kanji. But you can also use just any vinegar.
 Iodized salt.
Mangoes sliced into sticks.
Nori (dried seaweed).

Cook the rice first. While it's still hot, sprinkle vinegar and salt. Mix the rice thoroughly. The Japanese fan their sushi rice while mixing in wooden bowls with wooden spoons (I learned this from Cooking Mama, the Nintendo game hahaha). I don't have a wooden bowl but that's okay. I also mix in front of the electric fan to cool the rice faster.

Slice and peel the mangoes. You don't really need to slice the crabsticks.

Now you can assemble the California roll. People usually use those bamboo mats but I don't. Lay down the nori and spread the cooled rice evenly on the nori using a spoon. Don't spread the rice if it's still hot or the nori will break. Also, don't spread rice on the whole nori. Leave a bare strip one inch thick at the top edge.

Place the mangoes and crabsticks and then roll up to the bare strip you left at the top. Wrap firmly. Not too tight because the nori will break. Not too loose either because the California roll will break when you slice it. The moisture from the rice will bind the nori and seal your roll.

You now have these black tubes!

Finally, you can slice your California roll! When slicing, dip your knife in water first so that the rice won't stick too much to the knife. The water also aids in cutting the nori.

Prepare your dip! Soy sauce with calamansi or lemon. I buy wasabi paste from SM or Landmark. They come in slim green boxes labeled わさび (wasabi). Oh, don't buy too much wasabi that you can't consume. They expire quickly. After making your dip, dig in! I love making these rolls when Dad comes from field work in Davao and he brings home tuna sashimi with him. :))

Rolling takes practice. Before, I'd usually break the nori because my rice was too hot or I wrapped the roll too tightly. But yesterday, I was able to make ten rolls problem-free. So yeah, just practice. :) Next time, maybe I'll buy a bamboo mat and make California rolls "properly" (i.e. not reversed).

For ten rolls (around 100 slices, depending on how thick your slices are), I only spend around Php360. That's Php3.60 per piece, not bad at all.

It's still my dream to eat at a sushi bar with conveyor belts and color-coded plates. I've seen one at the food court in Taipei 101 but I think Sakae Sushi (there's a branch in SM North) also has conveyor belts so maybe I should try that soon. :)


  1. Claaaaaaire!!!!! Waaaaaah!! I just tweeted kagabi that I was craving for some california maki. And now, you teach us how to do it!! What is an angel!!! (grabe tuwang tuwa talaga ako hahahaha!)

    ang mahal nga kasi sa labas! natatakaw akoooooo. gosh. +_+

  2. Wow ang husay ng timing ko? =)) hahaha! Aabangan ko ang pag-try mo! :D