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Homemade Recipe for Sushi: California Crunchy Roll 8pc

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Use crab meat instead of shrimp tempura and still make a crunchy roll


Total: 50 - 60 minutes

Sushi Rice: 30 - 40 minutes

Prep (Tempura Flakes): 10 - 15 minutes

Rolling: 5 minutes

I am active on Quora, answering many sushi related questions. As of this writing, I have over 700 answers. Some of the most read answers are relating to “What do you think of American Sushi?”

Crunchy roll is undeniably American. Personally, I believe it’s an American dish, not a Japanese dish. It is inside out roll which was supposedly invented in Los Angeles (there are a few stories). Coating the outside of a roll with tempura flakes and pouring eel sauce over it makes it nothing like a “authentic” sushi like Nigiri in Japan. Some goes as far to say Crunchy Roll is a sushi.

Whether Crunchy roll is sushi or not sushi, I do admit when I first tasted it, I liked it. The first one had tempura shrimp inside (recipe here) and tempura flakes outside. The double crunchiness was a nice departure from other special rolls like Rainbow, which has fish on top. We don’t normally think about it, but texture is great part of what we consider to be the “taste” of the food we eat: crunchy, smooth, mushy, runny are all example of texture.

Just like most of the inside out rolls, we don’t know who and when crunchy roll was invented. In fact, California Roll is just about the only role we know who invented, though, there are now at least three stories claiming different chef invented the California Roll.

Regardless, I say adding tempura flakes to any of your inside out roll makes it taste nice. I highly encourage you to experiment.


INGREDIENTS (for one roll):

  • 200g (1 cup) Sushi Rice (follow this recipe)

  • 1 Nori Seaweed, half sheet

  • 5 - 7g (1/4 oz) Sesame Seeds, Roasted (white or black)

  • 30 g crabmeat or imitation crabmeat (sticks or flakes)

  • 2pcs ¼ Avocado slices

  • 50g Flour

  • 200 ml. (1cup) Rice Bran Oil (or vegetable oil)

  • Eel or Teriyaki Sauce (follow this recipe)


  • Cutting Board

  • Knife

  • Makisu, Sushi Rolling Mat

  • Pot

  • Small Sheet Pans

  • Paper Towel

  • Tempura (or Mesh) strainer

  • Chopsticks (or spoon)


Making Tempura Flakes

  1. To make Tempura Batter, mix Flours with equal amount of water.

  2. Heat the frying oil to 190C/375F. You can check this by dropping some tempura batter in the oil. If the batter hits the bottom, and rises to the surface immediately, the oil is ready.

  3. Using a pair of chopsticks (or small spoon, folk), drop tempura batter into the oil.

  4. Let it cook for 20 - 30 seconds until the color turns to light gold.

  5. Remove the flakes from the oil. Let is sit on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Making Inside Out California Roll

(How to spread rice for Inside Out Rolls, Step 2 - 12)

  1. Make Sushi Rice (follow this recipe).

  2. Wipe the cutting board with a wet towel to moisten.

  3. Place half sheet nori horizontally, rough side facing up.

  4. Wet your hands.

  5. Grab sushi rice, tennis ball size, approximately 200g.

  6. Place the sushi rice on the top left corner, shaping it like a potato.

  7. Using the bottom part of your left palm, apply pressure, spread the sushi rice horizontally.

  8. With your right hand, making a “U” shape, guide the sushi rice so that it covers the top half to 2/3 of the Nori.

  9. Rhythmically, turn your left hand three times to cover the top portion of the Nori with rice.

  10. Clean your hands with a wet towel, dip your fingers in the water.

  11. Using fingertips, apply the pressure, spread the rice to the bottom, from the left, center, and right.

  12. Spread the sushi rice all the way to the top and corners to cover the entire sheet of Nori as even as possible.

  13. Flip the Nori with Sushi Rice so the Nori is facing up.

  14. Place Crab Meat and Avocado, in the center of Nori.

  15. Pick up the bottom edge of the Nori, roll like a Yoga mat. The bottom edge should land below the top edge of Nori.

  16. Seal, then roll another 90 degrees forward.

  17. P­­lace a plastic covered Makisu over the roll and squeeze. Remove the plastic.

  18. Place plastic on the cutting board.

  19. Spread tempura flakes on the plastic evenly.

  20. Pick up the roll, turn the top side down and place it over tempura flakes.

  21. Pick up the plastic. Wrap the roll with tempura flakes.

  22. Roll so that the top part with tempura flakes is facing up.

  23. Keep the plastic, place Makisu. Squeeze tight so the tempura flakes stick to the rice.

  24. Cut into 8 pcs (keep doing halves) with plastic still on (helps to keep the tempura flakes from falling off).

  25. Plate and pour Eel Sauce (or teriyaki sauce).

( Steps 18 - 25)


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