Yard House Copy-Cat California ‘Roll’


One of the amazing aspects of living a military lifestyle is the extremely different places you get to live / visit. Moving  from Oahu Hawaii (population 953,207) to Kodiak Alaska (population 6,423) was a huge change for us. While I DO think I enjoy living in Alaska more than Hawaii, there are MANY amazing things I miss about our other island home. One of which is the plethora of amazing restaurant choices. One of our favorites was Yard House down in Waikiki. While we are not much for the hustle and bustle of ‘town’, we would venture there often to eat there. This copy-cat California ‘Roll’ dish is based on one of the appetizers at Yard House. It seriously resembles the YH app,  and hits all the right flavor spots!! Here’s an image from google of the actual dish:


I was just cooking for my husband and I, so this recipe makes two servings. Here is my method:


1 1/2 cups fresh crab meat, cooked and diced (I used fresh Alaskan snow crab because a friend of ours brought some over the night before. Feel free to use whatever crab you can get your hands on, however I do recommend lump meat)

2 tbs mayo

1 tbs chili garlic paste (or to taste, you can also sub sriracha)

1/2 cup rice (sushi rice would work best, I didn’t have any so I used regular long grain rice)

3/4 cup water + some if needed

cucumber, diced

carrots, cut into matchsticks

avocado, thinly sliced

4 tsp soy sauce (sub coconut aminos for paleo / whole 30)

4 tsp rice vinegar (I use seasoned, but regular would work just fine)

2 tsp agave syrup

2 tsp sesame oil, plus a drop or two for the pan

dried seaweed strips, if desired



Start by dicing your veggies up and set them aside.


Place the 1/4 cup water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, turn heat down to medium, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until pretty soft. I would say I over cooked it a tiny bit so that it would stick together better for the final product. Set aside to cool for a bit.

While that is cooling, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, agave, and sesame oil. Stir with fork until mostly incorporated. Pour half of mixture over cooling rice and stir to combine. Flatten rice on a cookie sheet and cool in refrigerator or freezer. Do not let it actually freeze.


While that is cooling, mix together the mayo and garlic chili sauce.


Take the spicy mayo mix and add it to your lump crab meat – set aside.


After the rice is cooled and all of your other ingredients are prepped, start building the base of your ‘roll’. Divide the rice in two. Take one half of the rice and press it firmly into a plastic wrap lined ramekin.


Rice should be some what sticky and hold its shape when you pull the plastic wrap out of the mold. Place the rice disk in a pan with a tsp of light cooking oil, a drop or two of sesame oil, and a sprinkle of the soy / agave mixture. Crisp both sides of the rice disk, being careful not to burn it. Repeat with the second half of the rice. Once the rice has a nice golden color, take it out of the pan and let cool while you assemble the other ingredients.

To assemble the top of the ‘roll’, place a clean piece of plastic wrap in the bottom of the same sized ramekin. Lay the avocado on the bottom.


Next, add a layer of carrots, followed by a layer of cucumber, and finished with half of the spicy crab mix. Cover again with plastic wrap and press firmly (not TOO hard) with another ramekin.


Repeat with the second half of the spicy crab mix, and place both in the freezer for 10 minutes to set up. Do not allow them to freeze.

Next, plating! On two plats, drizzle the reserved amount of the soy / agave / vinegar mix onto the plate (reserving about a table spoon). Place a dollop of the chili garlic sauce on the side, and set one of the rice disks onto the plate.


Pull the veggie / crab stack out of the freezer, unwrap and place onto the rice. Drizzle with a bit of soy sauce as well as the reserved soy / agave / vinegar sauce. Serve the deliciousness immediately. If you love a good California roll but have been scared to try to make sushi at home, this is a real winner and not too complicated. It is also an added bonus that the presentation is stunning! Enjoy











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