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Make sushi at home recipe: California Roll with Real Crabmeat

Updated: Aug 27, 2023


Total: 35 - 40 minutes

Sushi Rice: 30 - 40 minutes

Rolling: 5 minutes

When I founded Breakthrough Sushi in 2012, my goal was to offer authentic Sushi Classes that showcased the true essence of sushi-making. One of the first things that caught my wife’s attention was using imitation crabmeat (Kani Kama) in California Rolls. It led me to question why we couldn't use real crabmeat, especially since San Francisco is abundant with Dungeness Crab.

My wife's curiosity mirrored my own, and it sparked a journey to create a Dungeness Crab California Roll that would elevate the flavors to new heights. The result was magnificent - the rich taste of Dungeness Crab infused with traditional sushi elements made for an unforgettable sushi experience.

While some may prefer Kani Kama due to its affordability and extended shelf life, I highly recommend using sustainable crab meat like Blue Crab or Dungeness Crab. The exquisite taste and fresh flavors are genuinely worth it. However, I understand the convenience of using imitation crab for its wide availability and cost-effectiveness.

Kani Kama, the imitation crab, is derived from a Japanese fish cake called Kamaboko. It is made from ground white fish (surimi in Japanese), egg white, potato starch, and sometimes crab essence. Available in stick, flake, or shredded form, Kani Kama was created in Japan during the 1970s and is considered one of the significant post-WWII food innovations, alongside instant ramen and retort curry.

Pro Tips for the Perfect California Roll:

Variety in Texture and Taste: Kani Kama comes in various forms - sticks, flakes, and shredded. Each offers a different texture and taste, so feel free to experiment and find your preference.

Add Some Mayo Magic: Enhance the flavor by adding mayo or pre-mixing it with Kani Kama, which can add a delightful creaminess to the roll.

INGREDIENTS (for one roll):

  • 200g Sushi Rice

  • 1 Nori Seaweed, half sheet

  • 2 Sticks, Kani Kama/Imitation Crab Meat

  • 2 -3 pcs Avocado, sliced ½ inch thick

  • 10 g Sesame Seeds)


  • Mayonnaise


  • Cutting Board

  • Knife

  • Makisu, Sushi Rolling Mat


(How to spread rice for Inside Out Rolls, Step 3 - 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 Kani Kama, Avocado in the center of Nori. If you want to add mayonnaise, spread it on Nori first, then place Kani Kama and Avocado.

  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 wrap on the roll, then Makisu rolling mat.

  18. Squeeze the Makisu and remove the plastic.

  19. Cut into eight pieces.

  20. Plate and serve.

(California Roll, Steps 14 - 19)


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