California Hand Rolls

(Post sponsored by Veetee Rice, however all opinions are my own)

When making California rolls, I’ve learned not to fuss over details. I used to exhaust myself making mediocre sushi, but now I’m a hand-roll convert. These days, I simply set out bowls of rice, fillings, and nori - and dinner is served. 

No other food has captured the modern imagination like sushi, and no other dish is as polar. On one end of the spectrum, we believe “real” sushi should be crafted by a Japanese sushi-master, who wields a razor-sharp blade like a samurai. And on the opposite end, we happily buy cold, pre-made packages of mayo-laden rolls

Opinions abound about what constitutes authentic sushi, but at its core it’s just vinegar-seasoned rice with fish. Authenticity aside, I love sushi in all its forms: from deep-fried, cream cheese filled maki rolls to traditional nigri. And after making it at home, I have great respect for people who have mastered the art of sushi. 

Historically, my sushi-making attempts have ended with a sad plate of mangled pieces. They tasted fine, but the perfectionist in me couldn't help but be disappointed.

So when my cousin mentioned his wife’s amazing California rolls, I was impressed. But I was even more impressed when we had them for dinner one night. She served thin slices of avocado, cucumber, and crab then instructed us to build our own hand rolls. It was a simple but smart idea, and was a revelation to me. Not only could we customize our own pieces, but the rolls were really fun to eat.

Since that meal, sushi has gone from being a labor of love to being incorporated into my easy-dinner repertoire. 

What makes this meal even easier is microwavable rice. In two minutes you can have perfectly cooked rice ready to go. Then just 10 more minutes of prep, and you have everything you need for a fun California roll dinner. This may not be authentic sushi but it’s a great meal, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. 

California Hand Rolls

Ingredients: 

Note: This serves about 2-3 people. The amount of each ingredient should be adjusted according to your preferences.

  • 2 trays Veetee brown or white rice (about 4 cups)
  • 2 avocados cut into thin slices
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 3 inch long pieces
  • Imitation crab meat sticks cut into thin 3 inch long pieces (about ½ pack)
  • 10 sheets of nori cut into 2” X 3” rectangles
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼  cup rice vinegar
  •  ¼  cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Soy sauce and wasabi for dipping (optional)

Instructions:

Make sushi seasoning – Combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Remove from heat

Add about 4 teaspoons of vinegar seasoning to the cooked rice and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate the leftover seasoning for the next time you make sushi. Slice avocado, cucumber, and crab meat. Cut nori into rectangles (2” X 3”).

To eat, scoop a little rice onto a piece of nori. Place a slice of cucumber, avocado, and crab over the rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Roll - Eat - and Repeat!