Roll-Your-Own California Rolls

An easy and fun family/group dinner idea.

Just cook some rice and season it with sushi vinegar, mix your surimi (krab) with a little mayo, lemon, and sugar (unless you have Kewpie mayo, which is sweet enough on its own), cut up your cucumber and avo, set it on the table with some toasted nori, and let everyone at it!

I use Korean style toasted nori (laver) so I don’t have to toast the sushi nori. In Korean, it’s called gim (pronounced GHEEM), and in English it’s usually packaged as “roasted, seasoned sea laver” or something to that effect. You can (obviously) find it at a Korean market, but I’ve also seen it at the Asian section in lots of markets, including Trader Joe’s.


  1. For the rice:
  2. 2 cups rice cooked to package instructions (sushi rice is ideal, but I used jasmine yesterday because it's what I had on hand)
  3. 5 Tablespoons sushi seasoning vinegar
  4. For the krab:
  5. 1 pound surimi (krab), rough chopped. (If it's previously frozen, you'll want to defrost completely and squeeze out any excess water before chopping.)
  6. 1/2-2/3 cups mayonnaise (If you have Kewpie mayo, which is the kind they usually use in sushi restaurants, then skip the sugar below.)
  7. 1 teaspoon sugar
  8. 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  9. All the rest of the stuff you'll need:
  10. 1 large ripe avocado (or 2 medium) cut into 1/4" thick strips vertically
  11. 1/2 an English (hothouse) cucumber, seeded and cut into thin 3 or 4 inch long strips
  12. Korean style seasoned and toasted nori (see pic below)
  13. Optional:
  14. toasted sesame seeds
  15. wasabi and soy sauce
  16. sushi ginger


  1. Cook the 2 cups of rice according to package instructions, fluff the rice and let it cool slightly (but not completely) before adding your sushi seasoning vinegar and mixing it thoroughly throughout the rice in a fluffing kind of motion. You don’t want to stir to mix because your rice will turn into a gummy mess.

    Set aside.

  2. Mix your krab ingredients together and set aside.

  3. Cut your cukes and avos and set aside.

  4. If you get the large gim or toasted nori, cut the sheets in half.

  5. Lay it all out on the table and let people assemble, roll, and eat. It doesn’t have to be a neat restaurant-style handroll roll. Just roll it up like a burrito and enjoy with wasabi and soy sauce and some sushi ginger if you like. 🙂

    Alternatively, you can just make easy rice bowls with all the ingredients and either omit the nori or tear it up in small pieces and sprinkle it on top.

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