We’re staying on the east side of Tucson and putting the gloves on to make a not-so-simple dish.
To say it takes skill to roll up sushi is an understatement. But the duo running the Samurai Sombrero food truck were kind enough to show KGUN9 what it takes to make a California roll.
Pro sushi chef Jesus Oleta warmed up by slicing & pitting this avocado we used to fill the roll.
“California is the easiest one,” Oleta said. “You’ll be the judge of that at home,” we replied to the camera. At least the ingredient list sounded simple enough: cucumbers cut and sliced in the julienne style, krab meat and avocado.
Oleta trained us to cover our gloved hands in rice. “Always get some water,” he said. “Little bit, two fingers, and get the rice.”
Here’s the first snag in this lesson there was too much rice sticking to our hands. After changing gloves, Oleta graciously showed us how to properly apply a layer of water.
“Toda la mano,” he said, meaning “all of the hand.” Oleta then said you don’t want to squeeze the rice. Instead, make it an even tube and spread it on the seaweed paper.
The next steps were easier. We sprinkled sesame seeds, flipped the paper over and laid the krab out.
Oleta said it’s actually easier to cut into the avocado and get three thin pieces to line up along the paper.
Web extra: Making a Cali roll with Samurai Sombrero
Let’s take back some of that extra cucumber, roll everything up and use the makisu mat. Again, not easy to get it just right Oleta said you want to get the shape taller and squeeze the sides.
Here’s the part we never expected: It was difficuly to cut the roll into slices.
At least the end was doable; we placed the bits of wasabi and ginger in the to-go box. Oleta then shared another trick of the trade with us. You can use fryer oil to make your hands slicker as you as you also always cover them with water.
Observing a pro, we noticed how Oleta perfectly placed and spread the rice, portioned just the right amount of krab and avocado, and then used the right technique to flip the roll and shape it with the makisu.
When it comes to slicing the roll into pieces, Oleta’s precision showed you cannot replicate 20 years of experience. “Never push it,” he said. He then showed the motion you want, is to slide the blade back and finish with a chopping motion.
Below, you can watch GMT’s second attempt at making a California roll. It’s a little better, but the cutting technique really does take practice.