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Crispy California Maki recipe |

Food and Leisure

Crispy California Maki recipe

Dolly Dy-Zulueta -
Crispy California Maki recipe
Crispy Kani Maki
Rafael R. Zulueta

CAINTA, Philippines — Filipinos love California Maki, and I am no exception.

Somehow, the combination of sweet mango, cucumber, tobiko, and kani (crabstick) with lightly vinegared Japanese rice leaves magical notes on the palate. ‘Tis why California Maki is so popular.

But there are ways to enjoy all the ingredients that attract you to California Maki without exactly having California Maki. Crispy Kani Maki is one way. I tried it during a Japanese food promotion at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, and I was hooked.

Crispy Kani Maki


For the sushi rice:

  • 5 cups hot cooked Japanese rice
  • 2/3 cup vinegar
  • Dash of salt
  • 40 grams kombu (seaweed)*
  • 1/4 cup sugar


1. Put hot cooked rice in a wooden or glass bowl, and set aside.

2. Boil together the remaining ingredients (*kombu can be bought from Japanese grocery stores). After boiling, remove kombu.

3. Pour hot vinegar mixture into the rice. Mix in with slicing motion to separate the rice grains without damaging them.

4. Fan the rice with a hand fan or electric fan to remove excess moisture.

5. Keep rice covered with a damp cloth.

For the assembly:

  • Nori (seaweed) sheets
  • Prepared sushi rice
  • Iceberg lettuce, white hard part removed
  • Cucumber, cut into sticks
  • Kani (crabsticks)
  • Mango, sliced into strips
  • Fried tempura batter crumbs


1. Lay a sushi mat on a clean, even working surface. Put a sheet of nori on top of it.

2. Spread a thin layer of sushi rice on the nori sheet, leaving only about half an inch on top without rice. Gently press down so rice will adhere to the nori sheet. Dip hands in a bowl of water occasionally so the rice won’t stick to your hands.

3. Invert so that the nori sheet now faces you. Layer the bottom side with lettuce, cucumber, kani and mango slices.

4. Roll up the maki with the use of the sushi mat. Make sure it’s tight enough so nothing spills out. Remove from sushi mat.

5. Crush some fried tempura batter crumbs and gently roll the maki log on the crumbs so they stick to it.

6. Slice maki log into one-inch maki pieces. Arrange on a plate still in a log-like manner.

For the kani salad topping:

  • Kani (crabsticks), divided into two portions
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • Tobiko (fish roe)


1. Slice each kani into two or three segments.

2. Fry one portion in hot oil until crisp. Remove and drain off excess oil on paper towel. Then lightly crunch up so they get a little more crushed.

3. Mix together fried kani and regular kani. Add Japanese mayonnaise and mix them up a little more.

4. Spoon on top of the maki.

5. Sprinkle generously with tobiko, and serve with Kikkoman sauce and wasabi paste.

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