• Bamboo mat for rolling (available at area grocers and ethnic specialty stores)
• Nori sheets (dried sheets of laver, a kind of seaweed)
• Precooked sushi rice (a short grain style; toss the warm rice gently with the “su” or seasoned vinegar*; keep warm.
*Suggested mixture is 1/4 cup vinegar mixed with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1-1/2 teaspoon of salt. Different vinegars offer different tastes.)
1 Place an oval of rice, which has been tightly packed with palms of hands, in center of nori sheet. (If using bare hands, moisten hands with water to help in handling the sticky rice.)
2 Press rice evenly over surface of nori sheet using finger tips and spreading to edge.
3 Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over surface of the rice.
4 Flip the rice-covered nori sheet over as shown here (not to worry, the rice will stick).
5/6 Arrange the fillings in a narrow row across the top third of the sushi rice. Leave a space of rice so filling ingredients don’t reach the edge. Avocado, crab stick and cucumber are used here in the California Roll.
7/8 Fold sushi mat over roll. Grasp the rolling mat with both hands, thumbs underneath, and fold the close edge of the nori sheet so it overlaps the sushi rice and ingredients. Continue to roll tightly with firm pressure as you continue lifting the raised mat edge and pulling it away as the sushi rolls.
9 Use the rolling mat to shape and square up the sushi roll by pressing gently along the tops and sides of the roll until squarely formed.
10 Slice the sushi roll, which has been placed side down on a cutting board, with a swift straight cut. Cut one stretch; don’t “saw.” Lawrence Wong of Sushi Nishiki says sushi is best cut with a Santoku knife.
11 Place slices on their side on desired serving tray or platter. Presentation is complete garnished with a mound of wasabi, gari (pickled ginger) and soy sauce on the side.
California Roll is a basic form from which one can master other varieties of sushi. A complete array of sushi is available at Sushi Nishiki (41st Street NW Rochester) and Impiana (318 South Broadway) where owner Sammi Loo or Chef Lawrence will be delighted to address all your questions and interest.