Homemade California Rolls

I’m SO excited for this post because sushi is my absolute favourite food. I would consider going vegan but I don’t think I could give up sushi! That sashimi- or raw fish- is just too good. Going out to sushi restaurants is always so fun, but right now depending on where you live you might not be able to go to a restaurant. So in this post I’m going to detail how to make your very own sushi at home!

Making sushi can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a few simple ingredients that you can find in the International or Asian aisles!

  • Sushi Rice – this is usually a Californian or Japanese short or medium grain rice, but will be labelled as sushi rice. It’s important that you use sushi rice because it’s more starchy and sticky than regular rice, which is important when spreading it onto your nori.
  • Sushi Nori (roasted seaweed) – these are rectangles of roasted seaweed that the rice gets spread onto, and everything gets rolled inside.
  • Rice Vinegar – rice vinegar is used to season up your sushi rice! If you’re making your sushi gluten free, make sure you purchase a gluten free rice vinegar.

With those ingredients as your base, you can proceed to choose any fillings you’d like. I went with some avocado, cucumber, and canned (not imitation) crab to make some great California rolls. There are so many delicious combinations you can try though- and I hope to get my hands on some sushi grade fish soon!

Some more roll ideas include:

  • Vegetarian- fill your rolls with mushrooms cooked in soy sauce, just avocado, carrot, or cucumber, or some combination of the four.
  • Sushi Grade Fish- slice up some sushi grade salmon or tuna and pair it with some creamy avocado.
  • Cooked Shrimp, Crab or Tuna- fill your rolls with cooked shrimp, canned crab, or canned tuna mixed with soy and avocado (see my Tuna and Avocado Poke Bowls)

Ok, so now we’ve got all of our ingredients rounded up- now it’s time to make some rolls! The first and most important step is cooking your rice.

It’s very important to rinse your rice first, to get rid of some of that starchiness. Otherwise, your rice with be too mushy. I placed mine and a bowl and rinsed and drained it about 4-5 times, swirling it around with my fingers, under the water is clear when I mixed it. I then filled the bowl with more water and let the rice soak for about 10 minutes.

Once the rice is good to go, it goes into a pot with some more water and simmers for about 10-15 minutes, until it’s cooked all the way through. I then let it cool for a bit before mixing in some rice vinegar for flavour.

Get ready to get rolling! To roll your sushi rolls, you’ll need a bamboo sushi mat- these are easily found on Amazon for around ten dollars or so. I got out my mat, covered it with a piece of plastic wrap, and placed one sheet of nori down.

I then scooped out some sushi rice onto the nori, and spread it around with my fingers to cover the whole sheet in a nice, even layer. You don’t want to see too much of the nori underneath, but you also don’t want the rice layer to be to thick, so find a good middle ground. Leave about a centimetre strip at the top empty, however, so that it can seamlessly seal the end of the roll. This picture does not illustrate this very well- do better than me!

For the rolls, you can choose if you want to have the rice on the inside, or the outside. In this demonstration I flipped my nori over so that the rice would be on the outside, but in the photos I took of my final product were of my second batch of rolls, where the rice was on the inside. I found that these were easier to roll and held together more nicely, but you can choose whichever you like best! Here I proceeded to add in my filling right on top of the rice in a straight line, leaving some space at the bottom.

To roll up the sushi, you’re going to fold over the bamboo mat from the bottom, until that overhang you left at the bottom covers the filling ingredients to form a roll. Press firmly so that everything gets held together, and keep rolling until the full sheet of sushi covered nori is rolled into a nice cylinder. You may need to pause a few times to adjust the plastic and the mat during this process. Once everything is rolled up, you can use a bit of water on your finger to seal the nori on the outside of the roll.

All that’s left is to cut the sushi into nice even pieces, dip em into some soy sauce, and enjoy! It can take a little while to get a hang of the rolling, so don’t be discouraged if your first few rolls aren’t turning out so nice- my first rolls were a bit rough. Making sushi is an art that takes years to perfect, but these homemade rolls are great for a little something different at home, and they’re super fun to make as well!

Definitely play around with filling combinations, dipping sauces, and toppings too, to make these rolls your own. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment! Enjoy:)

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

Homemade California Rolls

  • Servings: 2-4
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Ingredients

-3/4 cup sushi rice

-1 cup water

-3 tbsp rice vinegar

-1/4 of an avocado, sliced

-1/4 of a cucumber, julienned

-1 170g can of real crab meat

-2 sheets of sushi nori


Directions

1. Add the rice to a small bowl, fill it with water, and swirl it around with your fingers. You should see the water turn white and cloudy as the starch from the rice is released. Drain the rice and repeat this process 4-5 times, until the water remains clear.

2. Fill the bowl with water once more and let the rice soak for 10 minutes to remove additional starch. Drain and add the rice to a pot.

3. Add the 1 cup of water to the pot and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and let the rice simmer for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside and let cool before mixing in the rice vinegar.

4. Lay your bamboo sushi mat flat on your counter and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap. Place a sheet of nori down, and proceed to spread out about half of the rice on it in an even layer, leaving an empty space of about one centimetre at the top for sealing.

5. Either flip the nori over so that the rice will be on the outside of your sushi, or leave it so that the rice will be on the inside. In a straight line about an inch away from the bottom of the nori, lay down half of the crab, cucumber, and avocado.

6. Begin rolling the sushi by folding over your mat from the bottom, an pressing firmly to make a tight roll once the empty space at the bottom of the nori has completely encircled the filling. Continue to roll your sushi by rolling the mat, pausing to adjust the plastic or the mat when needed.

7. Seal the roll by brushing a little bit of water onto the nori with your finger. Slice into 8 even rolls.

8. Repeat steps 4-7 with your remaining ingredients.

9. Serve with soy sauce.


Coconut Curried Vegetable Rice

Hi friends! It seems that there’s a theme running through my recipes this week, and that theme is SIMPLE DELICIOUSNESS. Maybe you don’t think of curry being that simple. But guess what, this one is. We’re making good use of the stuff you’re already got in your spice cupboard and pantry and we’re making it into something super tasty.

I wanted to make some sort of curry paste for this, but I didn’t have many of the traditional curry paste ingredients. So I made my own take on a curry paste, using common ingredients that I DID have. We’re talking chilli powder, ground ginger, soy sauce, basil, curry powder, lemon juice, and a bunch of other good stuff. I like the concept of this paste because if you don’t want to make curry out of it right away, you can put it in the fridge for a few days until you’re ready to use it.

It’s also great because it acts as your flavour bomb for the whole curry! All of the spices and flavour you need for the whole dish is found in it, making for a super easy single application of amazingness.

All of the veggies in this dish really sing too. I love a good rainbow in my curries, and almost any veggie would work in here, so feel free to do some substituting with what you have and what you like. I personally found my own heavenly combo of mushrooms, onions, bok choy, red peppers, and carrots to be very nice.

The vegetables get cooked down together in some coconut oil, then sauteed a bit more when the curry paste is added, and then everything simmers together in some coconut milk. To make this heartier and more of a one-pot meal, I thought, why not add in some rice? So brown rice gets thrown in too and cooked in all of the delicious flavours.

Once this curry is done, your house will definitely smell really good and you’ll have a few meals worth of awesome curry rice stocked up in your fridge. I love how flavourful this is, and how it has just the perfect amount of spice! Plus, it goes great with any protein you choose to add, and is so hearty and comforting.

Hope you enjoy!

Coconut Curried Vegetable Rice

Serves: 3-4

Total Time: 70 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Curry Paste:

  • 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 of a white onion, diced

For the Coconut Curried Vegetable Rice:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 of a white onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 4 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 stalks of baby bok choy, cut into halves
  • 1 serving of Curry Paste (above)
  • 1 400ml can of coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup brown rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. To make the Curry Paste, combine all of the curry paste ingredients in a blender or food processor until a paste-like consistency is reached. Don’t worry about small chunks of onion; these will be cooked in with the curry. Use immediately to make Coconut Curried Vegetable Rice or store in the fridge for up to 3 days before using.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep skillet. Add in all of the veggies for the curry and cook until the onion is translucent and the peppers are beginning to soften, about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add the curry paste to the pan and sautee for another 2 minutes.
  4. Dump the coconut milk into the pan and give everything a good stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper, and stir in the brown rice.
  5. Bring the contents of the pan to a simmer and turn the heat to low, covering the pan and letting the curry cook for 35-40 minutes, until the rice is completely cooked through.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat season more to taste with salt and pepper, serve warm and enjoy!

I love this recipe so much and I hope you guys do too! See you Friday:))

Yours Truly,

Olivia;))

Ginger Spiced Brown Rice

Hey guys! Hope you all had an awesome weekend and are ready to slay the week ahead🙌 (I’m writing from my phone today so we get emojis👍) Today I have a VERY good brown rice recipe that’s a great base for any of your bowls, or an amazing side on its own. It uses fresh ginger, which is so fragrant and delicious!

All of the steps to make this rice are purposely done to extract maximum flavour👌 You start by frying up the ginger and garlic, and then toasting up the brown rice so it gets a bit browned. Carrot gets added in for sweetness, and then that super tasty curry powder! It adds great colour to this dish as well:) This all gets simmered together in a combo of water and almond milk. It might sound a tad weird but it makes the rice a bit creamier!

After about 25 minutes of cooking, the rice should absorb most of the liquid, but not be completely cooked through. So at this point, you add a bit more milk and simmer for a bit longer. When it’s all cooked and seasoned with a generous amount of salt and pepper, this rice tastes like heaven. Legit.

My advice is to make a huge batch of this and store it in the fridge for meal prep all week. Making a bowl? Use this rice. A salad? Use this rice. A burrito? Use this rice. Snack time? THIS RICE. Honestly it’s so flavourful and reminds me of a better version of Uncle Ben’s. Except way healthier and more tasty. Yep, I said it. I love that this uses brown rice too, because brown rice has more fibre, magnesium, and a bunch of other nutrients than white rice. Delicious and nutritious. What a win-win! You can have your rice and eat it too.

I hope that you enjoy this awesome recipe! Can’t wait to see what you use it as a base/side for.

Ginger Spiced Brown Rice

Serves: 2

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and ginger and fry for about 2 minutes, until aromatic.
  2. Next, add in the grated carrot and cumin, and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Dump in the brown rice and toast for 2 more minutes.
  3. Pour in the water and the 1/4 cup of almond milk. Stir, season generously with salt and pepper, and reduce the heat so that the mixture is at a simmer. Cover and let cook for 25 minutes.
  4. At this point, the liquid should be absorbed, but the rice not cooked all the way through. Add in the 1/2 cup almond milk, stir, cover, and continue to let it simmer for another 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked all the way through (not too hard when you bite into it).
  5. Remove the rice from the heat and adjust with any more seasoning. Serve warm and enjoy!

Have a great week everyone! I have some great holiday baking recipes coming soon so be sure to check them out:)

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))