The lazy cook’s California rolls

April 29, 2008

DIY California Rolls


I’ve decided to feature my children’s favorite meals this week, starting with my daughter’s.  She has always had a fairly sophisticated palate, choosing an aged Asiago over American, a hard crusty Italian bread over Wonderbread, chorizo before a hot dog, and freshly steamed hard shell crabs over fish sticks.  So what does this little foodie say is her favorite meal?  California rolls.  Ok, I know California rolls are to sushi lovers what beefaroni is to pasta gourmets, but she’s seven.  And I serve it family style, meaning everyone makes their own, which she adores.  I offered to make the real deal for her birthday, rolling and cutting into the traditional individual pieces.  Nope – not interested.  She wanted to make her own, as she always has done.

Serendipitously, this also happens to be a no-cook dinner (other than the rice, which I don’t even count as cooking since I have a rice cooker).  You do have to season the cooked rice, and the only other “cooking” is the miso soup, which I usually serve with California rolls.  You can buy the dry soup packets and just add boiling water.  I make my miso soup with miso paste, water, tofu and a garnish of scallions – it takes all of 3 minutes.  Once you cut up the cucumbers, imitation crab meat, avocados and nori, dinner is ready! 


Make your own California rolls

(serves 4)

2-3 ripe avocados

8 oz. imitation crab meat sticks (about 10)

1 English (seedless) cucumber

8 sheets of nori

2 C. seasoned sushi rice

soy sauce for dipping

prepared wasabi for soy sauce


Cut avocados and cucumbers into strips about 3 inches long, 1/4 inch wide.  Shred or cut crab meat into about 3 pieces per stick, also about 1/4 inch wide.  Using scissors, cut nori sheets into quarters.  Place each ingredient (avocado, cucumber, crab meat, nori, and rice) onto its own plate.  Everyone takes their own nori, puts a bit of rice, one piece of cucumber, crab and avocado on it.  Roll it up and dip in wasabi soy sauce.


Seasoned Sushi Rice

2 – 2 1/2 C. cooked Japanese or Korean rice

3 Tbs. rice vinegar

2 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. salt

Once the rice is cooked, let cool slightly.  Mix in rice vinegar, sugar and salt.  Mix well and serve in California rolls immediately.

One Response to “The lazy cook’s California rolls”

  1. hi came across your blog via the korean food tag. nice photos!
    my mom used to make this for us — almost exactly like yours but she added omelet strips. i now make my own DIY version substituting grilled or raw salmon for the crab and i leave out the omelet.

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