We're all about California dreaming – but perhaps not for the reasons you might expect. We're talking about the sushi superstar – the California maki. With sticky rice on the outside and flavourful strips of filling on the inside, these little bundles have brought sushi to a wider crowd. Grab them on the go from Yoshi, try them traditionally at Mr Maki, or explore the different types they rustle up at Sushi Shop. Maki makes us happy.
Essentially, California maki are inside-out rolls. Although you'll find different types popping up all over the world, you'll traditionally get the same few things in your maki: crab sticks, cucumber and avocado. Sometimes the outside is sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds or capelin roe too for a jazzy finish.
Making California maki can be quite fiddly. The rice needs to spread evenly on top the seaweed sheet, before it's flipped over and layered with crab sticks, thinly sliced cucumber and avocado. The whole thing is then rolled tightly using a bamboo mat. It requires a whole lot of skill to bundle these wonders up perfectly.
California maki is the brainchild of Ichiro Mashita, thought up at his restaurant Tokyo Kaikan in Los Angeles. The recipe came about when he started substituting avocado for the tuna in the off seasons.
In the beginning they were served up like regular sushi, with the seaweed wrapped on the outside. He noticed however that Americans would peel it off, so he decided to make them inside-out so as to not scare off the picky eaters.
For California maki in all their original glory, head to Yoshi, where you'll find these little bundles topped off with tobiko – or flying fish roe – adding a colourful orange pang to the delicate rolls. They also keep things classy over at Mr Maki, where they roll the parcels in toasted sesame seeds – the nutty flavour from the sesame works great with the refreshing crunch of the cucumber.
If you want to move away from the traditional fillings, head to Sushi Shop. Here they offer up loads of new flavours, with herbs subbed in to create new layers of flavour – just look at the classic California maki served up with bittersweet tarragon and an earthy sweet cashew nut sauce. We love the Veggie Rolls you can get here, where you'll find quinoa, choggia beet, avocado, carrot and arugula in a tarragon and cashew sauce.
Crazy about California maki? Order for the whole group and have them delivered to you by Deliveroo.