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California Rolls, the easy way

So easy and so delicious. Where would my lunchtimes have been without the humble California roll? I think their ease of eating lies in their versatility of ingredients, egg, tuna, salmon, beef, chicken, roe or just cucumber and avocado. Something that’s simple and healthy, you can even just lay the ingredients out when serving a lot of people and let them make their own. Here’s the old favourite, tuna.


  • sushi rice (or arborio if you can’t get it)

  • sushi seasoning, liquid

  • or if you can’t find the seasoning

  • white sugar

  • sushi rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

  • sheets of nori (seaweed)

  • tuna (canned in water)

  • mayonnaise

  • cucumber, peeled and julienne

  • soy sauce

  • wasabi

  • pickled ginger

  • bamboo rolling mat, i just use my chopping board and hands


  • 1.

    Give the sushi rice a quick rinse under the tap and then cook as per usual. I find the best way for me is in the rice cooker, if you don’t have one, boil in lots of water for a good 12 to 15 minutes or until the rice still has a bite to it. Take the rice out of the cooker or strain into a colander and put in a bowl, ideally wooden but ceramic is fine, just don’t use a metal one. Give it a quick fold over but don’t go at it till it turns to sludge, we want to cool it as we add the other ingredients. If you have sushi rice vinegar, check out the instructions on the side, I just pour in a splash until I’m happy. If you’re going the other way, sprinkle over a scant tablespoon of sugar and a splash of white wine vinegar. As you fold the rice should take on a nice glossy finish. Give it a taste at this stage and add a bit more vinegar if it needs it.

  • 2.

    Put the rice aside and get the fillings ready. For tuna, just drain of the brine or oil and put in a bowl with enough mayonnaise to make a sandwich filling consistency, add a grind of pepper if you wish. Slice the cucumber into long matchsticks and put them aside.

  • 3.

    Ok, now get the seaweed sheet and put it on the bench SHINY SIDE DOWN. Spoon on the rice and spread to the edges, leaving about 2 cm at the end furthest from you. Now about an inch in, put a line of tuna across the rice, some cucumber and a scant spread of wasabi. You can put the ginger in there too if you want, I do. Roll up the edge closest to you and roll it over till you reach the gap you left at the top, keeping it tight and compressed. Put some water across the top lip and roll it completely over, the water will stick the edges together. There you go, now make another one. Serve with soy sauce to dip in.

  • 4.

    If you want to cut the rolls smaller, dip your knife in water first. Try experimenting with different fillings, once you get the hang of it you can make them all the time. If you’d like an egg filling, just make an omelette and fold it over itself till its fairly thick, then slice and add as a filling.


take your time and keep the nori sheets dry

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