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Homemade Recipe for Sushi: California Roll with Imitation Crab (Inside Out Roll 8pc)


Total: 35 - 40 minutes

Sushi Rice: 30 - 40 minutes

Rolling: 5 minutes

When I started Breakthrough Sushi in 2021 to teach Sushi Class, the main idea was to use real crabmeat to make a California Roll. It was from a simple question by my wife who asked me, “Why are these California Rolls using Kani Kama? Isn’t California Roll supposed to use Crabmeat? We have Dungeness Crab here in San Francisco.”

She was right. I too wondered why. Since then, I’ve been using sustainable Crabmeat like Blue Crab or Dungeness Crab. Why not use Kani Kama, the imitation crab meat instead, you may ask. The answer is quite simple: Dungeness Crab California Roll tastes fantastic!

But, I do understand why some choose to use imitation crab. First, it’s cheaper than real crabmeat. Second, the shelf life is a lot longer. Kani Kama can be stored frozen. Third, it’s available at many supermarkets around the US (and the many parts of the world).

The imitation carb is called Kani (Crab) Kama. Kama, not to be confused with the “Collar,” it comes from a Japanese fish cake, Kamaboko. A popular recipe for Kani Kama calls for Ground white fish (called surimi in Japanese), egg white, potato starch and sometimes crab essence like juice. There are stick types and flake. Kani Kama was invented in Japan during the 1970’s and is recognized as one of the three biggest post-WWII food inventions. (instant ramen and retort curry.)


Sticks, flakes

Kani Kama comes in several forms. Sticks, flakes and shredded. Anyone is fine, but it will give you a different texture and taste.

Mayo is always a good idea

Adding or premix with mayo is also good as some Kani Kama can be blend.

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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