The California Roll was born in the 60’s in LA. It was created by Ishiro Mashita, a Japanese chef working in a local sushi bar. He substituted the Toro (a noble piece of tuna) with avocado and began to roll his maki with the rice outside, to please his customers who didn't like the texture and look of nori. (more on Wikipedia)
What I really like about this roll is the sweetness of the flavors: the creamy avocado, the crunchy cucumber, the soft crab taste. It’s a very “sunny” roll, obviously, it’s from California where the sun always shines !
To make this maki, we need:
First, prepare your sushi rice by following this recipe. During the cooking, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients: cut the nori sheets in half, peel and cut the cucumber, the avocado too. When cooking, it’s important to always see one step ahead so you don’t waste time doing nothing.
So, your rice and ingredients are ready? Let’s roll!
Take a half nori sheet and pose it on the makisu (the rolling bamboo mat), rough part above. Cover it with a thin layer of rice, well distributed. Cut a piece of plastic film about the size of your makisu, and put it on top of the rice. Press softly, and now the dangerous part... the flipping! Put down your hand on the plastic and taking the nori sheet from above, flip it the other way. It may seem hard but the sushi rice is sticky, so you have little chance it falls down.
Now it’s time for filling. If you wanna add a touch of wasabi or mayonnaise, this is the moment. Put the crab stick cut in half, two pieces of avocado, two pieces of cucumber on the middle of the nori sheet. Don't fill it too much or rolling the maki will be difficult.
Start to roll your maki calmly but firmly. When arrived to the point where the makisu touches the nori sheet, apply a first pressure. Doing this assures you to have a tighter roll, easier to cut and it’s not gonna fall apart everywhere in your soy sauce! Now relieve a little the plastic so it doesn’t go inside your maki, and finish to roll, always with firm hands. Now apply some more pressure (it’s the moment you can give him a shape, squared or round) and you’re done with rolling your California Roll.
But wait, it’s not over! (I hope you didn’t put it in soy sauce yet ^^). Undo the plastic around your maki and parse sesame seeds on top. You can also use fish roe, which gives a nice orange color.
A couple of cuts with a wet knife (in half first and then in 3 parts) and here you go: a homemade California Roll ready to eat. (Tip: for the cutting you can leave the plastic around if you’re not sure about yourself so it keeps the roll well tightened)
Just a little more time to do a nice presentation, with some wasabi and ginger, and finally you can rest yourself, putting these little pieces of sunshine in your mouth!