California roll

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For other uses, see California Roll.
California roll
California roll with tobiko.jpg
California roll served in Shanghai, China. Prepared inside-out and sprinkled with tobiko
Alternative names カリフォルニアロール (kariforunia rōru?)
Place of origin Canada
Region or state Vancouver, BC
Main ingredients Rice, cucumber, crab meat or imitation crab, and avocado
Food energy
(per serving)
1 serving (2 pieces), 129[1] kcal
Cookbook: California roll  Media: California roll

A California roll is a makizushi, a kind of sushi roll, usually made inside-out, containing cucumber, crab meat or imitation crab, and avocado. In some countries it is made with mango or banana instead of avocado. Sometimes crab salad is substituted for the crab stick, and often the outer layer of rice in an inside-out roll (ura-maki) is sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, tobiko or masago.

As one of the most popular styles of sushi in the US market, the California roll has been influential in sushi's global popularity and in inspiring sushi chefs around the world in creating their non-traditional fusion cuisine.[2]

History[edit]

The California roll may have been derived from the Tojo-maki roll created in Vancouver, Canada by Chef Hidekazu Tojo, in an effort to get his local clientele to enjoy sushi. Chef Tojo moved to Vancouver in August 1971 from Japan. He realized that seaweed turned off Vancouverites, so he turned the roll inside out to hide it. Many visitors from Los Angeles came into his restaurant and enjoyed the new sushi roll, and the name California roll was given.[3] It spread throughout the world. His original claims of invention don't even touch on the use of avocado, essential to the California roll.[4]

In 2016 the Government of Japan honoured Hidekazu Tojo for promoting Japanese cuisine.[5]

The widely accepted version of the invention of the California roll is attributed to Ichiro Mashita, a sushi chef in Los Angeles, CA. He began substituting avocado for toro (fatty tuna), and after further experimentation, the California roll was born in the 60s.[6] (The date is often given as the early 1970s in other sources.)[7][8][9] Mashita realized the oily texture of avocado was a perfect substitute for toro.[7] Traditionally sushi rolls are wrapped with nori on the outside. But Mashita also eventually made the roll "inside-out", i.e. uramaki, because Americans did not like seeing and chewing the nori on the outside of the roll.[7]

Most food historians agree that the first California roll was served sometime during the late 1960s at Tokyo Kaikan, a restaurant in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles. Executives from the Japanese restaurant corporation EIWA opened Tokyo Kaikan in 1963, at a time when hardly any place in town served Japanese food, let alone raw fish.[10]Avocado was hardly a traditional sushi ingredient in the 1960s, but then Tokyo Kaikan chef Ichiro Mashita went seeking a substitute for bluefin tuna to use in toro negimaki, a simple roll made with tuna belly and scallions.[11]

After becoming a favorite in Southern California it eventually became popular all across the United States by the 1980s. The roll contributed to sushi's growing popularity in the United States by easing diners into more exotic sushi options.[12] Sushi chefs have since devised many kinds of rolls, beyond simple variations of the California roll.

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