Park and Shop Oriental Market

Korean & Japanese Groceries and Gifts

Kimbap (Korean Sushi/Maki/Rice Roll)

Kimbap (Korean Sushi/Maki/Rice Roll)

Kimbap is the Korean version of the Japanese “maki,” or rice rolls. The flavor comes from sesame oil and individually seasoned meats and veggies. But the one particular ingredient that is the heart of Kimbap is “danmuji,” or bright yellow pickled radish you can find at the Korean grocery store in the refrigerated section. Also, everything is seasoned so well that you don’t need to dip it into any kind of sauce.

Beef Kimbap Recipe


6-7 Sheets dried laver seaweed
A 9 or 10 oz bag of ready to use spinach
1 log of yellow pickled radish, or “danmuji”
1 large carrot, or 2 medium sized carrots, peeled
5 Eggs
Kosher salt, divided
Sesame oil, divided
Olive oil, divided
Roasted sesame seeds, divided

Beef Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil

Rice Ingredients:
6 cups cooked (3 cups uncooked) short grain or sushi rice
½ Tbsp Sesame Oil
½ Tbsp Olive Oil
½ Tbsp Sesame Seeds
¼-½ tsp kosher salt, or to taste


For the beef:
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the beef. Mix everything together by hand and set it aside to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients. When all the other ingredients are prepped, and the beef has had time to marinate, heat a large pan with some olive oil and fry the beef until it is nicely browned. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside.

For the spinach:
Add the entire 9 or 10 oz bag of ready to use spinach in salted boiling water. Boil for 30 seconds, and drain. Run cold water over it to stop the cooking, and squeeze out all the excess moisture with your hand. Transfer to a bowl and season with 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and a couple pinches of kosher salt. Mix well. Set aside.

For the “danmuji,” or pickled radish:
Slice the log of radish into ½” thick slices. Cut each slice into strips, so that you end up with thin long strips, about ½” thick in diameter. Set aside.

For the carrots:
Peel and slice your carrot(s) thinly on a diagonal. Lay the slices flat and run your knife through them lengthwise to create thin julienned slices. Saute them in a pan with some olive oil and season with a couple pinches of salt to taste. Set aside.

For the eggs:
Break 5 eggs and add a couple pinches of salt. Whisk well. Heat a large pan with olive oil over medium low heat. Use a paper towel to wipe the pan so that it is evenly coated. Pour in the eggs and let it cook until the bottom is firm and light golden brown. Flip the egg over and cook until light golden brown. Remove to a plate and cut the egg into half-inch strips. Set aside.

For the rice:
Mix the rice last. After all the ingredients are prepped and the beef is cooked, place the 6 cups of cooked rice into a large bowl, along with the other ingredients for the rice. Mix gently, and get everything ready for assembly.

Assembly and slicing:
Place a sheet of dried laver seaweed, shiny side down, on a bamboo mat. Starting from the bottom, spread some rice in a thin even layer, filling about ⅔ of the seaweed sheet.

All of the filling that goes on top of the rice should start at 1” from the bottom, and have 2” of rice above it. Place the danmuji and egg first, leaving a gap in between them. In that gap, add your beef in a neat row. On top of the beef, place the carrot and spinach side by side, also in neat rows.

Starting from the bottom, roll the seaweed sheet, using the mat. The first roll should land right where that excess rice is. That will help it stick together. Gently push and squeeze down on the bamboo mat. Move the mat a litttle further away from you, allowing the kimbap to roll with it. Again, squish down and press with your hands. Then wrap and roll the entire kimbap up in the mat. Squeeze firmly across the entire length of the mat to make the sure the kimbap is tight. If you’re having trouble keeping the seaweed shut, add a few grains of the rice at the edge of the seaweed sheet.

Use a brush or a gloved hand to put some sesame oil on the surface of the kimbap rolls. This adds flavor and helps keep the kimbap shiny. It also helps to add a little sesame oil to your knife blade. With a sharp knife, slice the kimbap into thin half inch or bite sized pieces. Kimbap is characteristically sliced thinner than Japanese maki. You can then sprinkle with some more roasted sesame seeds if you want. Pop it into your mouth and enjoy your hard work!

TIP: For the summer time, instead of the marinated beef, you can use strips of cooked ham, and instead of spinach, you can either use thin strips of cucumber, or julienned perilla (sesame) leaves to lighten it up and keep it easy!



Kimchi Fried Rice


2 tablespoons oil
1 large egg
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup kimchi, cut into small pieces + 1 tablespoon kimchi juice
2 cups overnight steamed white rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce or to taste
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes black pepper
1 stalk scallion, cut into small rounds


Heat up a wok with 1/4 tablespoon oil and cook the egg sunny side up. Dish out and set aside.

Add the remaining oil into the wok. Sauté the garlic and onion until aromatic. Add the kimchi and do a few quick stirs before adding the rice. Stir to combine well. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, and scallion. Stir a few times to blend with the rice. Dish out and serve immediately with the egg on top of the rice.


Japchae (Chap Chae)


8 oz noodles
4 oz spinach
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water, stem removed and sliced
1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
1 stalk scallion, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt to taste
1 heaping teaspoon toasted white sesame


4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar


Cook the sweet potato noodles in a large pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the noodles under cold running water. Cut the noodles using a pair of scissors into about 6-inch lengths. Set aside.

Heat up a pot of water and bring it to boil. Blanch the spinach until they are wilted, about 1 minute. Drain the water and rinse the spinach under cold running water. Form the spinach into a ball and squeeze it to discard  the remaining water. Cut the spinach ball into half.

Heat up the oil in a skillet or wok and add the garlic, onion, mushroom, and carrot and cook for about two minutes. Add the scallion and stir-fry for another minute. Turn the heat to low and add the noodles and spinach into the skillet or wok, follow by the sesame oil, the Sauce, and salt to taste. Stir to combine well. Dish out, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and served at room temperature.



Bulgogi; Grilled Marinated Beef;불고기

For most of my friends, getting to eat bulgogi is a treat because they have to go out to a restaurant to eat the Korean marinated and grilled beef. For me, eating bulgogi is about the equivalent of eating meatloaf for my friends. It's boring because we ate it a lot when we were growing up. I know that Korean people always tell non-Koreans that they are wrong when they think that all Korean people eat is barbecue and kimchee, but for my family, it was true. We were in the midwest, and the ingredients for bulgogi and galbee were easier to find than say, fermented soybean paste.

So, since bulgogi seems to be such a treat for my friends, I have written up the "recipe" that my Mom and I use when we make it at home. I say "recipe" in quotes because everyone, of course, makes bulgogi and other Korean foods by taste. Make the marinade, take a taste, and adjust to your liking. It's the same nasic marinade we saw last year for Korean-marinated Flank Steak, but don't you dare call that bulgogi.

Bulgogi (Korean marinated and grilled beef) - double, triple, or quadruple as needed.

Toss 1 lb. thinly sliced ribeye (either have the butcher do it for you, or go to a Korean grocery store, where they sell the meat already sliced) with 1 T. each of sugar and rice vinegar.

In a small bowl, combine 3 T. soy sauce, 1 T sugar, 1 T rice wine, 1 super finely minced garlic clove, ¼ t. super finely minced fresh ginger, 1 finely chopped green onion (including white parts), 2 t. sesame oil, a dash of pepper and 1 T. water.

Pour over sliced meat and let marinate for at least 1 hour. Overnight in the refrigerator is even better.

(** As a side note, I also throw in 1 regular onion in medium-thickness slices with the marinade and grill them along with the beef, but most people I know don't do that.)

Grill until brown on both sides, or put in single layer under broiler until brown.

Kim-chi; Fermented Cabbage; 김치

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish consisting of fermented chili peppers and vegetables, usually based on cabbage. It is suspected that the name kimchi originated from shimchae (salting of vegetable) which went through some phonetic changes: shimchae > dimchae > kimchae > kimchi.

Common ingredients include Chinese cabbage, radish, garlic, red pepper, spring onion, ginger, salt, and sugar. While kimchi is generally identified internationally as Chinese cabbage fermented with a mixture of red pepper, garlic, ginger, and salted fish sauce, several types of kimchi exists, including regional and seasonal variations. There are variants, including kkakdugi, based on radish and containing no cabbage.

Kimchi has been cited by Health Magazine as one of the world's five "healthiest foods", with the claim that it is rich in vitamins, aids digestion, and may even prevent cancer. The health properties of kimchi are due to a variety of factors. It is usually made with cabbage, onions, and garlic, all of which have well-known health benefits. It also has active and beneficial bacterial cultures, like yogurt. Lastly, kimchi contains liberal quantities of hot pepper which has been suggested to have health benefits as well.

The best tasting kimchi is stored in room temperature for an average of six months to reach its full flavor.  It is a popular side dish but is also often used as an ingredient in cooking other popular Korean dish, including kimchi chigae (kimchi soup) and kimchi bokumbop (kimchi fried rice).

Fun fact: Like the McDonald’s University of Hamburgers in Illinois, US, there is a Kimchi Research Institute located in Pusan National University, South Korea.

Recipe Ingredients
  • Head of Napa cabbage - about one pound
  • Fine red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons anchovy or fish sauce (optional)
  • ½ yellow onion
  • ½ ripe apple
  • ½ ripe Korean pear
  • Sea salt
  • Water
Cooking Directions
  1. Separate cabbage leaves and chop into bite-size pieces.
  2. Dissolve a quarter cup of sea salt in a bowl of warm water then pour salt water over cabbage leaves. Give cabbage a gentle toss to distribute salt water. Allow salted cabbage to sit for at least four hours.
  3. Give cabbage a good rinse to remove excess salt then transfer cabbage to a large bowl.
  4. Combine a quarter cup of fine red chili pepper flakes with warm water, stir gently with a spoon to create a red chili paste, then transfer chili paste to cabbage.
  5. Add minced garlic, minced ginger, green onions, and fish sauce.
  6. Blend yellow onion, apple, and pear with one cup of water, then add this natural sweetener to the cabbage.
  7. Put on a pair of plastic gloves and give everything a thorough toss and rubdown. You want to evenly distribute all ingredients, especially the red chili paste.
  8. Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle. Be sure to use firm pressure with your hands to push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle.
  9. Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well - this liquid will become kimchi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle.
  10. Be sure to leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the bottle before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow bottle of kimchi to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours.
  11. Refrigerate and take out portions as needed. The refrigerated kimchi will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator over time. So long as you use clean utensils to take out small portions, it will keep for up to a month in your refrigerator.



Miso Soup

Remember when I was sick last month? Well, after a couple days of nothing but crackers and popsicles, it was miso soup that eventually brought me back to the land of functioning human beings. The first few pots were simply a couple tablespoons of light, mild white miso paste whisked into water with a pinch of salt - but I began to build from there. A handful of tiny tofu cubes went into the next pot, and noodles into the pot after that. Little by little I started to feel like myself again.

This is a simple, everyday approach to miso soup - it yields me a bowl of soup in five or ten minutes. Sometimes I go simple, other times I start adding ingredients. You can take miso soup in a thousand different directions depending on how you are feeling, what's in season at the markets, or the time of year. I tend to use lighter miso pastes in warmer months and the darker ones when I'm after a heartier, more substantial soup - sometimes I do a blend of two pastes. In place of the water you can certainly experiment with different broths, or even tea. And while this version incorporates noodles and tofu, you could certainly do all sorts of variations with sautéed vegetables. A tiny drizzle of toasted sesame oil is often a welcome addition, and mushrooms are a natural fit as well.

I would argue that this post is less a miso soup recipe, and more an encouragement to give it a go in your own kitchens. Let me know if you have any recommendations for your all-time favorite miso pastes - or if you blend, let me know your favorite blends as well. I'd be up for tracking down some new miso pastes - not just for soups, but for dressing and drizzles, and all that fun stuff as well.


Miso Soup Recipe

3 ounces dried soba noodles
2 - 4 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)
2 - 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
a handful of watercress or spinach, well washed and stems trimmed
2 green onions, tops removed thinly sliced
a small handful of cilantro
a pinch of red pepper flakes

Cook the soba noodles in salted water, drain, run cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Pour a bit of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso paste - so it thins out a bit (this step is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Also, some miso pastes are less-salty than others, so you may need to add a bit of salt here. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.

Split the noodles between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add some watercress, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy.

Serves 2 - 3.



Seaweed Salad Recipe


1 oz. dried seaweed (miyeok)
1 teaspoon of dried red chili flakes
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon white sesame seeds


Heat up a pot of water and bring it to boil.  Boil the dried seaweed for about 3 minutes or until they turn soft. Drain the water and squeeze the excess water out of the seaweed. Set aside and let cool.

Add all seasonings and ingredients into the seaweed and toss well. Chill in the fridge and serve cold.



떡국 or Korean rice cake soup 

떡국 or Korean rice cake soup is typically eaten on the morning of the Korean New Year, which is the first day of the Lunar Calendar. It is said that you will be blessed with luck in the New Year if you eat a bowl of this delicious, healthy and versatile soup.

The broth is generally made with a beef stock. However, it can also be made with pork, chicken, seafood, and in this particular recipe, dried sardines were used. Folks, this soup takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

I don't know about you but I always like to add dumplings to my rice cake soup. I made mini dumplings from the leftovers of this filling recipe. Tender, juicy and flavorful, the dumplings adds a bit of heartiness to the soup.


I decided to use my round biscuit cutter to cut circles out of the square dumpling skins to create mini dumplings.


make the dumplings...

*take one egg and whisk well in a small bowl to use as a sealant for the dumplings. 


1. Take about a teaspoon of this filling and place in the middle of the dumpling wrapper.


2. Using the back of a spoon spread the egg wash on the edges of half of the dumpling skin. Fold the opposite side over and press firmly to create a semi circle dumpling.

make the sardine broth...


Korean Dried Sardine Broth

8-10 Cups Water

2 Cups (about 20 sardines), these were about 2.5 inches long

1 Clove Garlic, minced




1. Bring the water to a boil. Add the dried sardines and allow to boil for about 5 minutes on high. Lower heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Using a fine mesh sieve, pour the stock into a clean pot. Add the minced garlic and bring to boil.

make the rice cake soup...


Entire Sardine Stock from above recipe

2 Cups Rice Cakes, the ones that are sliced

4 Egg Yolk (and/or Egg White) Crepe, I had some yolks left so I made egg crepes cut thin

2 Scallions, cut thin on a diagonal (white & green parts)

12-16 Mini Pork & Scallion Dumplings

Sliced Roasted Korean Seaweed

Salt & Pepper to taste


egg crepe: on medium/low heat add the whisked eggs to a preheated frying pan and allow to cook through. Flip the egg crepe, turn off heat and allow to finish cooking. Cool and slice into very thin strips and set aside.




1. Place the dumplings in the boiling broth and bring to boil, stir with a wooden spatula once. Add the rice cakes, stir to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Lower heat to medium and allow to cook for a minute or so or until the rice cakes are soft. Add salt & pepper to taste. Top with the egg crepe, scallions & seaweed and add a small drop of sesame seed oil. Serve hot.



I purchased freshly made Korean dduk (떡) or rice cake at my local Korean grocers. You can also find frozen ones as well. But if you can get a hold of freshly made dduk, obviously those would be preferable.


Korean Kalbi Taco


3 pounds beef short ribs or Korean Kalbi (about 11-12 pieces)
1/2 Romaine lettuce, thinly shredded
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup chopped cilantro
18 small flour or corn tortilla
1-2 lemons, thinly sliced for garnishing

Marinade for Kalbi:

1 Asian pear
1/2 a white or yellow onion
1 1/4 cups soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup citrus soda
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds


3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Gochugaru (Korean chili powder)
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste


Marinade the beef short ribs with the Marinade for at least 30 minutes, overnight is best. Refer to the Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs Recipe for the step-by-step instructions on how to marinade.

Prepare the ingredients for the Sauce and mix well. Refrigerate until use. Prepare the Romaine lettuce, red onion, tomato and cilantro in separate bowls.

Wrap the tortilla in aluminum foil and warm them in the oven at the lowest setting for a few minutes. Toss the shredded Romaine lettuce with 1/2 of the sauce. Save the remaining sauce for the tacos.

Grill the marinated beef short ribs, each side for 3-4 minutes. When all the ribs are done, cut the meat into 1/2 inch cubes.

Place the beef short-rib cubes on the tortilla. Add some seasoned lettuce. Top it with the diced red onion, tomato and cilantro. Drizzle some sauce on top, garnish with a sliced lemon and serve.

Cook’s Notes:

1. If you prefer spicier taste, you can add an extra 1 tablespoon Gochugaru to the Sauce to give it the extra zing.



Bibimbap Recipe

This can be served at room temperature on top of hot rice in individual bowls. Korean Markets typically have many varieties of side dishes in their refrigerator cases.  You can buy some and make some of your own.


The Toppings
Use 1 cup of each of the vegetable toppings for the rice.

Seasoned Bean Sprouts
About 1 1/2 cups


1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
12 oz soybean sprouts
4 tablespoons minced green onion (scallions)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil


1. In a medium-size saucepan, with a lid, combine the water, salt and soybean sprouts. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover with a lid, and steam the sprouts for 5 minutes.
2. Strain the sprouts and transfer to a mixing bowl.
3.  Mix the sprouts with the green onion, toasted sesame seeds
and sesame oil.

Seasoned Carrot Salad
About 1 cup


4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchstick strips
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil


1.  In a medium size skillet heat the sesame oil on medium heat. Add the carrots and salt.
2. Stir-fry the carrots for 2 minutes.

Spicy Cucumber Salad
About 1 cup


4 Armenian or mini cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber, sliced in 1/4 – inch rounds
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons Tangy Red Pepper Dressing
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


1. In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers and salt. Set aside for 5 minutes. Gently squeeze the liquid from the cucumbers. Transfer to a serving bowl.
2. Combine the Tangy Red Pepper Dressing and cucumbers. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds.

Seasoned Spinach Salad
Makes 1 1/2 cups


1 pound (500 g) spinach, rinsed carefully
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt


1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute.
2.  Strain the spinach into a colander and rinse with cold water. Take one handful of spinach at a time, and squeeze the water from the spinach. Lay the spinach on a cutting board and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces.
3.  Transfer the spinach to a bowl and add the sesame seeds, sesame oil, and salt. Mix well.

Seasoned Beef


2 oz rib eye cut into strips (or ground beef)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar


1. In a small bowl, mix together the beef, soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a small skillet and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Set aside.

3 cups cooked white rice
2 tablespoons sesame oil plus extra for drizzling
1 fried egg, sunny-side up
3 tablespoons Tangy Red Pepper Dressing

Tangy Red Pepper Dressing


2 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste (available at Korean grocery)
1 tablespoon rice or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon apple juice or water
2 teaspoons sesame oil


1. In a medium bowl whisk the ingredients together

To Assemble:

1. Have the seasoned salads and beef prepared in individual bowls.
2. Place a cast iron skillet or pot on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil.
Heat the oil for 1 minute. Add the rice and spread it around the bottom of the pot to form an even layer. Cook the rice for several minutes or until the rice begins to brown on the bottom. You will hear the rice sizzle.
3. Carefully arrange each of the seasoned salads on top of the rice grouping each one like the spoke of a wheel. Place the beef in the center. Continue heating for 2 minutes.
4. Transfer the casserole to a heatproof pad. Set one fried egg in the center on top of the beef.
5. To serve: fold together the egg, vegetables, rice and 2 tablespoons of the Tangy Red Pepper Sauce. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to distribute that crunchy crust throughout the dish.
6. Serve in individual bowls with a drizzle of sesame oil and extra Tangy Red Pepper Dressing.

*You can make one fried egg per person to mix into individual servings.


Sushi California Roll

Turn the cut California rolls on end and arrange on a serving platter or sushi plates. Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger, and chop sticks.

Food historians generally credit chef Manashita Ichiro and his assistant, Mashita Ichiro, of the Tokyo Kaikan restaurant in Los Angeles (located on the corner of 2nd and San Pedro) with “inventing” the California roll in the 1970s. The chef, realizing that many Americans did not like the though of eating raw fish, created the now famous California Rolls made with crab, avocado, and cucumbers.

Since then, American sushi chefs have created many variations with unique names such as Spider Roll, Philadelphia Roll, and Rainbow roll. Most people in Japan have never heard of the California Roll, though, and I would advise not trying to order one there.

Making sushi at home is easy to do. Ingredients and equipment can be found at Japanese and Asian foods stores as well as at most large food or grocery stores. I did a large amount of reading on how to make sushi rolls before attempting my first ones. Sushi making does requires a small amount of initial practice. Don't be afraid to try!

You can use the techniques for making the California Rolls to make other variations with different fillings as sushi rolls are extremely versatile and you can make endless varieties. Think of a sushi roll as a sandwich and it's sure to get your imagination rolling as to what to fill it with. Be creative!  

sushi making ingredientsEquipment Needed:
Bamboo sushi-roll mat
Clean cutting board
Sushi knife or very sharp knife
A pack of roasted-seaweed (Nori)
Rice Cooker (optional)
Wood spoon or wood or plastic rice paddle for spreading rice
Plastic wrap

Rice Ingredients:
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups uncooked Japanese medium-grain sushi rice*
4 cups water

Sushi Ingredients:
5 sheets or sushi nori (seaweed in big squares)**
1 large cucumber
2 to 3
lemon juice
Cooked crab meat or imitation crab sticks***
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)
Soy Sauce
Pickled Ginger

* Only use Japanese medium-grain sushi rice in sushi making. It is a medium-grained rice and gets sticky when it is cooked. Long-grained American rice will not work because it is drier and doesn't stick together.

** Roasted-Seaweed (Nori) - Sheets of thin seaweed which is pressed and dried. As a general rule of thumb – good Nori is very dark green, almost black in color.

*** Imitation crab sticks are the easiest to use. They can by found in Japanese food stores.

Recipe Type: Sushi, Appetizer, Rice
Rice Soaking Time: 30 minutes
Approximate Total California Rolls Time: 2 hours

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Heat mixture just until the sugar dissolves (do not let it boil). Remove from heat and let cool until ready to use.

Start preparing the rice approximately 2 hours before you want to make the sushi rolls.

Wash rice, stirring with your hand, until water runs clear.

Place rice in a saucepan with water; soak 30 minutes.

Drain rice in colander and transfer to a heavy pot or Rice Cooker; add 4 cups water. NOTE: To improve the texture of the rice, after rinsing, let the rice drain 30 minutes in the refrigerator before cooking (put the strainer with the rice in a large bowl to catch the water).

If you don't have a rice cooker, place rice and water into a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice rest, covered, for 15 additional minutes.

When rice is done cooking and resting, transfer to a large bowl; loosen rice grains gently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon by cutting and folding (do not stir, as this will crush the rice). NOTE: Either use the rice soon after preparing it, or cover it with a damp cloth to keep it moist. Do not refrigerate the cooked rice.

Sprinkle the cooled rice vinegar mixture over the rice, mixing together as you sprinkle (add enough dressing to coat the rice but not make it damp - you may not need to use all the vinegar dressing). Spread the hot rice on top of a large sheet of aluminum foil and let cool.

Wash, peel, and seed cucumber. Slice in half lengthwise, then cut into long, slender strips.

Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, then remove the pit; cut each section in half again (lengthwise), and carefully remove the peel. Cut the section in long slender strips. Sprinkle the sliced avocado with lemon juice to keep from discoloring.

If you are using snow, crab, remove the crab meat from the thicker portion of the legs and cut in half lengthwise. If you are using imitation crab sticks, remove the plastic wrapping and cut each in half lengthwise.

Place the cucumber slices, avocado slice, and crab slices on a plate; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

(1) Lay the Bamboo sushi-roll mat on a cutting board with bamboo strips going horizontally from you

 (2) Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the bamboo mat (shiny side down). Place the Roasted-Seaweed (Nori) on top of the plastic wrap.

(3) Spread a thin layer, 3/4 to 1 cup, of Japanese medium-grain sushi rice over 3/4 of the nori leaving approximately one inch of uncovered nori at each end Note: It helps to wet your fingers with cold water when you are patting the rice onto the nori.

(4) Arrange strips of avocado and cucumber along the center of the rice; top with crab meat.

Making Inside-Out Rolls -  After spreading the rice on the nori, sprinkle with poppy or roasted sesame seeds. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap on top. Lifting with the bottom plastic wrap, turn over the nori/rice sheet onto the bamboo rolling mat. Remove top plastic wrap and proceed as below.

Placing your fingers on the ingredients, carefully bring the bottom end of the rolling mat and the plastic wrap up and over the ingredients (tucking the end of the nori to start a roll). Pull back the rolling mat and plastic wrap, as necessary, so it does not get rolled into the sushi. NOTE: Roll tightly with firm pressure.

Continue rolling the sushi and pulling back the rolling mat and plastic wrap, as necessary, until you have approximately 1 to 2 inches of the top of the nori showing. Rub a small amount of cold water on the edge of the nori and bring the nori around so that it completes the sushi roll.

Gently squeeze the rolling mat around the sushi roll until it is firm and forms an even roll (be carefully not to squeeze too hard, as you may crush the ingredients or squeezed them out).

Wrap the plastic wrap around the roll and set aside until ready to cut. Refrigerate or for longer storage. Repeat with remaining nori sheets to make additional rolls.

Place rolls on a flat cutting board and remove plastic wrap.

Using a Sushi knife or a sharp knife, slice the sushi roll first down the middle. From there you can cut it into 6ths or 8ths, whichever you prefer (wet the knife between each cut to make it easier to cut and keep the rice from sticking to the knife).  


Always serve sushi rolls at room temperature.

Makes approximately 40 California Rolls.