i love california rolls, but they cost a lot at my local market, so i decided i would make my own. this entailed a few trips to local asian markets. this was slightly awkward since i am not asian and don't speak any language but english, but was worth it for the end product.
Step 1: Get All the Ingredients!
in order to make maki sushi rolls, you need:
short grain rice (calrose)
nori (toasted seaweed)
some sort of filling, i used crab and avocado.
a makisu, or woven bamboo mat is extremely helpful for rolling the sushi, but is not *entirely* necessary. i have used a sheet of stiff plastic before with good results.
Step 2: Prepare Some Sushi Rice
After burning pots of rice, i decided to make the rice in the oven. it comes out perfect every time, and cannot burn. so, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. measure out two cups of the short grain rice, and put in a fine colander or large sieve. rinse it until it runs clear. make sure to drain it well. you can let the rice rest and absorb some of the residual water at this point to improve the texture, but i usually don't. put the rice into an 8x8 pyrex dish, and boild two cups of water. pour the boiling water over the rice, and cover the dish tightly with foil. place the dish into the middle of the oven, and let it cook for twenty minutes.
Step 3: Add Sushi Vinegar to the Rice
take 1/4 cup rice vinegar in a small saucepan and mic in 2 tbsp sugar and 1 1/2 tsp salt. mix on low heat untill it all dissolves. do not allow it to boil. i actually just mixed the appropriate ammounts of sugar and salt into my whole bottle of vinegar, so i don't have to prepare it every time. after the rice comes out of the oven, let it sit, covered, for another twenty minutes. when it is done, uncover and sprinkle a few tablespoons of the vinegar mixture onto it. use a wooden spoon to carefully fold it in. do not stir, fold. this keeps the rice grains from smashing. it will become very sticky. cover with a damp towel to avoid letting it dry out.
Step 4: Mix Up Some Filling to Put in the Center
there are a vast number of things that you can put in sushi, not just raw fish. i used some crab salad and some avocado, but anything from teriyaki chicken to spam to hamburger can be a sushi filling. smoked salmon and cream cheese with chives is good, crab is good, think outside the box if you want, or make something more authentic.
Step 5: Spread the Rice on the Nori
take your bamboo mat and cover it with plastic wrap. then place a sheet of nori on it so the loger sides run parallel to the bamboo. make sure the rough side is facing up. take about a cup or rice and place on the nori, and work it so that it completely covers it with a thin layer of rice, and press it on. do not press too hard.
Step 6: Place Your Favorite Fillings
flip the rice covered nori over so that the rice side is down if you are making california rolls with crab and avocado. place your fillings on the nori in a stripe. put a substantial amount, but not too much, or it will not close well.
Step 7: Roll Your Sushi
take your mat and begin to roll over the nori on the fillings. when you get all the way around, lift the edge and roll the rest of the way. apply firm pressure to the roll with the mat, but do not squeeze it to death. then transfer the roll to the cutting board. add some sesame seeds if you have them, or some tobiko.
Step 8: Slice Your Sushi Roll
take a sharp, preferrably serrated knife, and slice the sushi rolls into either six or eight even slices. how many you slice it into is up to you, but i usually go with eight. wet the knife and clean it a little after each slice so the rice doesnt stick to it. this helps keep your roll together.
Step 9: Enjoy!
top with some pickled ginger and or wasabi and soy sauce, and enjoy your homemade makizushi.