Roll Your Own California Sushi

Chef Tom's California Sushi

Chef Tom’s Roll Your Own California Sushi

California sushi rolls are one of the most popular sushi in America. While they look difficult to make, they’re actually easy once you master the simple technique. Best of all, they’re fun to make and delicious to eat. You can fill them with your favorite fillings from avocado and cucumbers to fried tofu or crab, season with wasabi or shoyu and roll in organic black sesame seeds. We have a large family and have enjoyed making homemade sushi for over 40 years. It’s fun to set out all the ingredients and have a sushi rolling party with family and friends. Happy sushi making!

 I highly recommend watching Chef Eddy Tseng California Sushi rolling technique on YouTube.*

  • Author: Chef Tom




  1. Divide the rice into 4 equal amounts.
  2. Cover a sushi mat with plastic wrap** or NatureFlex cellophane.
  3. Place 1/2 sheet of nori with rough side up and long side of nori facing you.
  4. Dip your fingers in a bowl of cool water shaking off excess water and spread 1 portion of rice evenly over nori, press gently and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
  5. Lift and flip the rice and nori over so it is face down on plastic wrap. Remove sushi mat.
  6. Place fillings of your choice in a line across the long side of the rice about one inch from bottom.
  7. Add a dab of wasabi or umeboshi seasoning across the roll.
  8. Roll it up, cut into 6 even slices with a slightly damp sharp knife.
  9. Serve with wasabi or shoyu sushi dip.


*This is a great video because Chef Eddy Tseng shares how to make California Rolls without plastic!
How to Make California Rolls Sushi Cooking with Eddy Tseng
How to Make Sushi Rics Cooking Cooking with Eddy Tseng

**All About Sushi Rice and How to Cook It – The Kitchn 

Easy Sushi Rice


Chef Tom’s Simple Sushi Rice

I usually don’t add the traditional sushi vinegar* seasoning to my sushi rice. My sushi rice is simple to prepare and is perfect for rolling any style of sushi rolls. 

  • Author: Organic Chef Tom


  • 2 cups organic sushi rice, rinsed well
  • 21/2 cups spring or filtered water
  • 1/2 inch piece of Emerald Cove Pacific Kombu, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Put water in large pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Rinse rice 3-4 times until rinsing water is clear, strain with mesh strainer to remove rinsing water. 
  3. Add rinsed rice, kombu and sea salt to pan of boiling water. Bring back to full boil and cover pan with lid.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and keep on burner for another 15 minutes without heat. 
  5. Remove lid, place into large bowl and remove kombu. Slice gently through rice (don’t stir) allowing steam to gently escape from rice.
  6. Allow rice to cool at least minutes before rolling into sushi. 


TRADITIONAL SUSHI VINEGAR: If you want to add the traditional sushi vinegar to your sushi rice, simply add 2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar, 2 Tablespoons rice syrup or sugar and small piece of Emerald Cove Kombu to pan. Heat and stir just enough to melt sweetener. Cool and add to hot sushi rice before cooling. 

BROWN RICE VARIATION: I also enjoy making sushi with organic short brown rice. It has the same stickiness to hold the roll together adds a nuttier flavor, is chewier and has more fiber.    


Organic Chef TomOrganic Chef Tom Athos has been cooking natural foods for over 50 years. At the age of 15, he began working along his father at their family K&D Delicatessen in New York City. After attending college, Chef Tom began traveling and cooking in natural food restaurants and macrobiotic study houses throughout the USA. He co-owned with his wife, Debi and was the head chef of their restaurant, The Garden Cookery in Maine, and was the head chef and head baker at the famous Unicorn Restaurant in North Miami Beach. Chef Tom co-owned and operated a national mail-order service, Natural Lifestyle Market offering  quality natural organic food, kitchenware and healthy lifestyle products for over 30 years. As a father of 5, Chef Tom had plenty of family members to test his recipes on and cook with! He resides in the beautiful mountain city of Asheville, NC where he enjoys brewing craft beer and making his specialty – fermented foods.