California Roll カリフォルニアロール

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California Roll | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Today I’m guest posting my recipe on Rasa Malaysia.  The author Bee shares over 400 easy Asian recipes on her website, and her first cookbook Easy Chinese Recipes will be published on September 10th, 2011 in the US (it’s already published in Asia).

California Roll | Easy Japanese Recipes at

When she had asked me to guest post on California Roll for her readers, I was extremely delighted!  I had been wanting to share this popular sushi for a while and it was perfect timing.

Please click here to read more about California Roll and the recipe.  While you are there, make sure to check out her beautiful collection of Asian recipes.

California Roll | Easy Japanese Recipes at

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California Roll
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 8 rolls
  • Ikura (salmon roe)
  • Tobiko (flying fish roe)
You will need:
  • Bamboo mat, covered with plastic wrap
  • Tezu (vinegared hand-dipping water): ¼ cup water + 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  1. Crab meat: combine the crab meat with Japanese mayonnaise and mix together.
  2. Cucumber: Peel and remove seeds. Cut into thin long strips, same length as the nori sheet.
  3. Avocado: Peel, pit, and cut into ¼" (0.5 cm) thick slices (See How To Cut Avocado). Squeeze the lemon juice over the avocado to prevent browning.
  4. Nori: Cut off ⅓ and use ⅔ sheet of nori.
  5. Prepare the bamboo mat, covered with plastic wrap and Tezu (vinegared hand-dipping water).
  1. Lay a nori sheet, shiny side down, on the bamboo mat. Wet your fingers in tezu and spread 1 cup of the rice evenly onto nori sheet.
  2. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds or tobiko.
  3. Turn the nori sheet over so that the rice is facing down. LIne the edge of nori sheet at the bottom of the bamboo mat. Place the cucumber, crab meat, and avocado at the bottom of the nori sheet.
  4. Grab the bottom edge of the mat while keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, roll it into a tight cylinder, tucking the fillings in firmly.
  5. Lift the edge of the bamboo mat slightly and roll it forward while keeping gentle pressure on the mat.
  6. With a very sharp knife, cut each roll in half and then cut each half into 3 pieces. Remember to clean the knife with a damp cloth after every few cuts.
  7. You can use the left over ⅓ of nori sheet to make Ikura Sushi. Cut the nori sheet into half lengthwise. Make small balls with sushi rice and wrap it with nori sheet. Place ikura on top.
Cover the sushi rice and the completed rolls with a damp cloth at all times to prevent from drying.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
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  1. this is something i really like to order when i visit a japanese restaurant in Singapore so thanks for sharing the tips for making the perfect roll! it might be time for me to pick up some of your skills as i don’t dine in japanese restuarants as often over here. 😉

  2. Oh God Nami, These are so pretty and delicious looking rolls. I wish I was living near you, I would have come to your home right now… You make them look so easy to make.
    I have never tried roe but these looks like precious jewels. Yummm…
    Love it Girl, as always you rock.

  3. Oh my God have outdone yourself with this so pretty pictures! I am not sure whether I ll be ever able to make and roll these as beautifully as you did but something I ll thoroughly enjoy! That sushi ginger (which is new to me) looks like little candy waiting to be picked up by me..
    Have a fun weekend, my dear girl!

  4. Hey there my friend! Nom nom nom! You know what I miss about the US is the fusion-esque sushi, spider and cali rolls ne? I have not cooked all week, been living off of S&B curries, did I tell you my friends left for home? I’m having my own pity party right now. Love the vibrant colors Nami, do you use a 50mm lens?

    • Elle Marie, you live in Tokyo… how often do you see Americanized rolls in sushi restaurant there. The sushi bar we go…they don’t have those. How about your sushi bar/restaurants?

      I use my 60mm 2/f macro lens and 28-75mm f/2.8. :-)

  5. Fabulous! We buy California Rolls all the time…If I ever try to make them, I’ll definitely use your “step by step”. Your photos are flawless :)

  6. Ohh… Nami this looks so good!
    To be honest I don’t eat raw fish or raw egg fish… I ever try calofirnia roll at the japanese restaurant & the restaurant is keep their recipe so autentic -so japanese , so it’s not fusion or like, nahh… I try it – 1 roll it’s ok, second roll I smell something wierd , third roll I sand anymore… hahaha
    There’s a raw shrimp on the roll < I knew it then asking the waiter at the end 😀
    From that on I only order the "cooked" sushi or fried one… hehe he
    But I definetely will try another sushi with the "raw" thing – we should give our palate some "adventure" didn't we? 😉
    Good job Nami! U tempting me! 😉

    • I grew up with sushi and sashimi, so it is interesting how other people think of it. Thanks for sharing! I hope you enjoy this California roll (they don’t have raw fish in there this time! 😉 )

  7. Hiragana Mama

    Nami, you could seriously open your own restaurant! Sushi is my favorite food, and I especially love ikura. I wish ikura was more widely available in stores. Did you buy yours at a Japanese grocery store?

  8. Nami, I didn’t think your photos could get better, but they are even more beautiful now! You did a awesome job with the CA roll too, it looks so much better than what you see in a restaurant! I’m terrible at rolling sushi, so I fake it at home and have everybody make their own temaki…lol I really wish that we lived close to each other, so we could have food parties all the time :(

  9. I LOVE California rolls! The photos look so wonderful and I am so hungry for some rolls it’s ridiculous! I am also a fan of spicy tuna rolls, do you have a good recipe for that? Have a good weekend Nami!

  10. Nami, Im so happy to be back from my travels and catch up on your blog! I love sushi and making it at home but mine never comes out nearly as beautiful as this!!! The photos are just wonderful too!

  11. Wow, Nami! I’ve been away from blogging for a while now, and what a treat to come back to this! I love these rolls and I really wish I could have some! Beautiful photographs too! Just gorgeous… The step-by-step photography must have taken you so much time to do, and I am sure your readers really appreciate it! I know I do! :) Great job, fabulous post! :)

  12. Nami, I know I have already said your matcha ice-cream was the most beautiful photo and my favourite on your blog, but now I’m completely lost! These maki rolls are so amazingly arranged and photographed, I couldn’ decide! Your photos become real masterpieces. Together with the step-by-step instructions this post is outstanding! And even the leftover nori option, ikura sushi, is painfully seducing (I say painfully because I haven’t had my breakfast yet and, you might not believe me, but sushi/maki rolls is my perfect idea of a Summer breakfast). Congratulations Nami for the guest post! I’m sure it brightens the whole Rasa Malaysia website!
    PS In Switzerland, to make it cheaper, they call California rolls, the maki rolls with surimi… (false crab sticks). Nothing to do with the crab meat :-( Actually I never buy them.

  13. Ooooooo! I’ve been waiting for this!!!!!! What an awesome post Nami! Seeing that beautiful tobiko made me miss working at the sushi restaurant I worked at in Boston! Maybe I’ll get sushi for dinner tomorrow night… but I know it will not be as good as yours! HUGS!

  14. Sushi is one of the things I LOVE but never got to make myself. I think it is because I am not sure if the fish I get is fresh enough for this purpose. It’s a mental thing I think, because I do eat it at the restaurant and god knows where they get it from.

    Your step by step pictures are awesome! Make it seems sooo easy. My absolute hand on favorite is with soft shell crab. It’s a must eat when I’m in the States.

  15. I love the vibrant colors of these rolls. You shot this very well and your lighting is perfect. Congratulations, Nami for another great guest post at Rasa Malaysia. You are becoming a regular on Bee’s site. I am very happy for you my friend and I wish you more success.

    Have a great weekend!

    ~ ray ~

  16. WOW! What can I say that hasn’t already been said!?!?! Gorgeous pictures, breathtaking. Thanks for the play by play. We were given a sushi making kit a while back and it’s still in the box. Probably time to pull it out. Beautiful post!

  17. Nami, these are so beautiful and I was so excited seeing your post on making California rolls. I have made them before, but not like this…I love the tobiko and salmon roe, it really makes them shine! My daughter love sushi too and has since she was little, of course she’s been exposed to it since she was little. She started by just eating sushi rice, and now she loves sushi and even when she eats rice she always adds some furikake because she says it makes it taste like sushi.

    Your instructuions are so helpful.

  18. Nami!!! This is the BEST post EVER! Your step by step pictures and explanation make it look so easy! And your pictures and food styling skills are breath taking! I LOVE it! Look at that ikura… you make it look like pearls!!! Buzzed!

  19. とってもきれいな色ですね。写真がすてき!本当に美味しそうだわ。

    I’m going to make purin with your purin recipe. I only have porcelain ramekins but is OK to use?
    Thanks again for your kind comment on my blog.

  20. I wish I had the patience to make sushi, Nami. Folks here in my household are mad about sushi. They are so delicious. I love california roll and salmon roe. I love the way it pops in the mouth.

  21. Thats exciting guest posting in Rasa Malaysia, I like that site I guess I told you already. Your california roll looks nice, I remember the first time I tried it was in Philippines and they used mangoes on it as well.

  22. Such beautiful pictures Nami, the salmon roe is shining like precious jewels!! Congrats on Top 9 I’m sure it will stay at number one. I will pass the recipe on to “The Washer Up” he’s the sushi king in this house, he’s never made the rolls with the rice on the outside though!!

    • Thank you Mike! Japanese mayonnaise is made with egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and apple cider (or rice) vinegar instead of distilled vinegar. Over all it is creamier in both color and texture.

  23. Nami, these are the most beautiful photos of sushi rolls I have ever seen in my life! (And I’ve eaten a LOT of sushi). I like how the light is captured in the fish roe. You should have your own TV show on the Food Network, just cooking beautiful Japanese food. You can be the next Nigella-san! LOL. Love the guest post, you rock, my friend!

  24. I need to make sushi, but It always seems so daunting. I have the seaweed, the rice, the fish, the mat, the little paddle board…i need to try it! thank you!

  25. Nami saaaaaan, I loooove how you make that temaki! So beautiful! And I just realized that you made it to the first rank in the Food Buzz top 9! Congrats!!
    Btw, that`s a clever idea to wrap the bamboo roll with cling wrap before using it. Nice!

  26. What a great site! I can’t wait to try your California Roll! I think others would benefit from this too so I put it on my Chatty Gourmet Facebook page – thanks for sharing!

  27. California maki is the very first sushi I tried and I loved it immediately! 😀
    I did tried making my own California rolls few times, but they just didn’t tasted right! Now I know why…
    bcoz I used imitation crabsticks instead of canned crab meat! lol 😛
    Tks for sharing this great recipe! 😀

    PS: I didn’t know that all these Uramaki (inside-out roll) are Americanized rolls! Thot all sushi are originally from Japan… lol 😛

  28. Wow Nami! That looks better than sushi I get at most sushi restaurants! I love your how-to tutorial also – next time I post about sushi, I’ll be linking to this for sure =)

  29. Ohh.. my gosh.. Nami.. these look so classic. ONly a real expert can bring such fullness to this dish.. I love it already.. 😀 Amazing.. hats off to you :)

  30. Another spectacular post by Nami. California rolls are my favourite type of sushi… and these are just so gorgeous – well illustrated and *stunning* photography.

  31. Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it explained that well before. Thanks for the post. We’re saving this one for a Friday night in. Do you have any other post that show how to make with out seaweed paper?

    • Hi Brad! I’m glad you think this post is helpful and I hope you will enjoy making your own California rolls. So far I don’t have any other post on sushi without using seaweed paper (nori). Are you talking about nigiri sushi? I’m not an expert in making sushi, but I’ll think about it for my future post. :-)

  32. Thank you SO much for posting this recipe and a photo step-by-step! Sushi is right up there on my list of top food loves but I’ve always been intimidated to try making it myself. This is very helpful and definitely motivating– I think I will do it sometime in the near future. By the way, congratulations on making the Top 9!

  33. A big hug, dear friend, for a great post like this!! This is so useful for non-Japanese people like us who appreciate California rolls, but don’t know how to make them. The picture is fantabulous! the roe is looking like small coloured pearls!!

  34. Hi Nami, I really want to make these, I have tried before but they didn’t come out quite right. I am going to give it a go again, especially the rolls with the rice on the outside. Your photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  35. Great step by step shots on how to make these. The crab sounds like and interesting addition. Looking forward to trying this. Anytime I do not have to use the oven or stove in this heat is all good with me.

  36. Lorna

    Hi Nami,
    I’m making California Rolls and want to take them to work the next day. I always think they taste best the very day they are made and at room temperature. How are they supposed to be served (room temp or cold) and is there any special way to store leftovers? —-Lorna

    • Hi Lorna! We eat right away too but at Japanese stores they sell at refrigerated counter.  The avocado usually change color (dark color) next day.  If you don’t mind the look it should be ok next day.  Make sure to keep it chilled and served at room temp. :)

      Hope this helps!

  37. looks very nice, you could get a slightly better finish if you place cling film over the sushi roll when you cut it, this helps keep all the individual rice grains in place.
    Over all very nicely presented recipe.

    • I have never seen sushi chefs doing that in Japan but they still make very nice sushi rolls. I think it’s just lack of my skills. 😉 Thanks for your advice!