Turnin’ Japanese with California Maki and Kani Salad

Me and my sister love eating Japanese food. The best place to try is at Los Banos, Laguna and the eatery is called Eat-sumo Teri Haus. It used to be located at the Elbi Square and we love their sushi, sashimi, and yakisoba. Their price is quite reasonable compared to mall-based Japanese restaurants.

These days, we don’t have the chance to go to Los Banos just to get a taste of Japanese food. Time is always tight because of work and eating at the mall isn’t practical anymore. So we decided to make our own California maki and kani salad at home. Besides, the ingredients are readily available at the grocery nearby. And of course, everything’s just right on the budget. If you can’t get enough maki and kani salad, try these at home and enjoy with the whole family.

Note: Don’t be shy if the maki isn’t as perfect as the ones you order in restaurants. These are home-made, so they look a bit rustic – meaning, the fillings aren’t perfectly placed in the middle of the sushi and the sizes of the rolls are not always even.

california maki with calamansi and wasabi on the side

California Maki
[1] For the rice
cooked Japanese rice [oryza sativa subsp. Japonica] also known as sushi rice or in Japanese, uruchimai
rice wine vinegar [we used red wine vinegar ‘coz that’s what we have at home; but used minimally]
salt and sugar to taste

filling for california maki

[2] Filling
‘kani’ or fake crab or use real crab meat if you like [fake crab is also known as crab stick; surimi  in Japanese]
ripe mango
Japanese mayonnaise
additional but optional fillings: scrambled egg and avocado

[3] Seaweed wrapper

[4] Dipping sauce
Light soy sauce [you can use Kikkoman soy sauce or if you have the darker one like Silver Swan, you can add a little water to thin it down ‘coz it’s saltier]
Sliced kalamansi on the side
Wasabi paste [you can buy the ready-made one in tubes or the powdered one which you can prepare at home]

[5] Optional siding: pickled ginger

Mix the cooled cooked Japanese rice with vinegar, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

Slice the mango and cucumber into pinkie-sized strips. If you get the smaller and shorter kani, you can use it as is or sliced in half lengthwise. If you will add other fillings such as avocado or scrambled egg, make sure they are also sliced into pinkie-sized strips.

Make sure your hands are clean and dry. Prepare a bowl with water which you will use in wrapping the maki.

On a dry, flat tray, place the bamboo sushi roller. Get a piece of seaweed wrapper and place it shiny-side down onto the bamboo roller. Get a few tablespoons of rice and spread onto the seaweed wrapper. To prevent the rice from sticking too much on your fingers, wet your fingers with a little water before spreading the rice. Spread the rice at about half of the wrapper.

Place about a tablespoon of Japanese mayonnaise in the middle of the rice. Place kani strips, cucumber, mango, and any optional filling of your choice. Roll the sushi using the bamboo roller. Place the California maki rolls in the freezer for a couple of minutes before slicing. Blast cooling helps stiffen the maki roll, making it easier to slice.

Serve with dipping sauce, sliced kalamansi and wasabi on the side.

kani salad

Kani Salad
Lettuce leaves
sliced cucumber
sliced apple
sliced mango
shredded or cubed kani [fake crab or use cooked real crab meat]
Japanese mayonnaise

* optional topping: nori strips

kani salad topped with nori

* No tossing involved. Just layer the ingredients starting with the lettuce leaves. Add the sliced cucumber as 2nd layer, followed by sliced apple, then sliced mango. The top layer is the kani. Then squirt or spread Japanese mayonnaise on top.

Enjoy! Arigatou !