What is a Dragon Sushi Roll?
This sushi roll is served at American-style sushi restaurants and buffets. The dragon roll is an inside-out sushi that has a nori sheet wrapped around the ingredients on the inside and sushi rice on the outside. Shrimp tempura and cucumber are wrapped within the nori, and thinly sliced avocado is placed on top of the roll, like the scales of a dragon when sliced, which is then showered with spicy mayonnaise and unagi sauce.
You can also have a grilled eel instead of shrimp tempura in a different variant of the dragon roll.
Many American grocery stores (Trader Joe’s, Costco, and others) now sell frozen shrimp tempura in the seafood section, since shrimp tempura is becoming more popular. Because frozen shrimp tempura is exceptionally crunchy, it is ideal for preparing homemade dragon rolls. Simply bake them for 20 minutes or so in an oven (or toaster oven) while you finish the rest of the prep work.
You can, of course, make them from scratch, and my Shrimp Tempura recipe is below. For each roll you want to make, you will need two shrimp tempuras.
- Rolling mat made of bamboo
- Zip-lock bag made of plastic
- Miyabi, or a knife with a similar sharp edge
- Board for cutting
- cling wrap
- Glass bowls
- Cocktail sticks
- 1 Nori sheet 120 g (4.2 oz) cooked white sushi rice
- 3 battered tempura prawns
- 3 avocado slices
- ½ frozen unagi (freshwater eel) filet
- Nori strips approx. 1 cm in width
- Two octopus suction cups
- ½ cucumber
- 2 slices fresh red pepper
- Pickled ginger (fresh)
- 1 unpeeled shrimp
- Wasabi paste
- Unagi sauce
- Garlic mayonnaise
- Sriracha sauce
- Place your bamboo rolling mat inside a plastic zip-lock bag to begin. This allows you to compact the sushi roll afterward without getting the rice stuck in the mat’s rivets.
- Cover the mat with a full sheet of nori. Apply a small amount of cold water to your hands. Rice will not stick to your hands if you do it this way. Spread 120 grams of cooked white sushi rice across half of the nori sheet’s surface area. At the end nearest to you, leave a 2.5-cm-wide gap.
- Turn the nori sheet over so the rice side is on the bottom. Across the width of the nori sheet, arrange three battered tempura prawns. Next to the prawns, arrange a row of three avocado slices. Drizzle some Unagi sauce on top of the filling.
- Bring the bamboo mat’s closest side up to your face. Wrap it around the filling and curl it up. As you squeeze the roll, use your fingertips to gently compress it. Roll until the nori sheet is all used up. The rice’s wetness will aid in adhesion.
- If you are going to use frozen eel, thaw it beforehand. Then, for five minutes, grill the eel. The natural flavor and oils are brought out by this method. Using a sharp knife, split the fillet lengthwise. For this dish, you will only need half of a fillet.
- On a cutting board, place the sushi roll. On top of the sushi roll, place the half-eel fillet. Allow one end of the ‘tail’ to overhang. It will resemble the dragon’s tail as a result of this.
- Wrap the sushi roll in cling film. Gently mold it around the roll using your fingertips. The sushi mat should be used to completely cover the roll. Then, using your fingers, firmly press the eel into the rice from the top and sides. Continue to use the cling film. You will be able to make cleaner cuts later on as a result of this.
- Using a small amount of cold water, dampen the blade of your knife. Cut around 3.5 cm from the flat end of the sushi roll (not the pointed tail end) with your knife. Rep till you have 6-7 segments, plus one larger at the end.
- Place the sushi roll on the bamboo mat. Compress and tighten up the parts using your fingertips. Remove the cling film from the container
- Attach a small, 1 cm wide strip of nori to each segment, starting with the second piece at the head end, before moving the roll to a plate. This will aid in keeping the unagi and rice in place.
- To transfer the roll segments to a plate, use your fingers or the flat of your knife. If the plate is not large enough for the dragon to be arranged in a straight line, bend the segments. Allow the tail segment to sit parallel to the plate’s edge.
- Simply place two octopus suction cups in the unagi at the dragon’s head end to serve as the dragon’s eyes.
- Now add the manes to the dragon. Half a cucumber lengthwise before cutting it in half again. Remove the last bit of rope. Along the length of the cucumber, make wafer thin incisions. Continue this process until the entire half is made up of little wafer-thin slices. Each side’s two pieces should be discarded.
- Cut the cucumber at a 45-degree angle from the widest point. Make a diagonal downward cut. The remaining bits should be thrown away. Half of the cucumber should be peeled and sliced into thin slices, then fanned out with your fingers. Using the remaining slices, repeat the process. Between the first and second parts of the dragon’s head, place a cucumber “fan.” So that two paprika slices rise up behind the skull, place them in the same space.
- Deep-fry an unpeeled shrimp to create the whiskers. Remove the whiskers from both sides of the dragon’s face and insert them into the unagi.
- Drizzle Unagi sauce all over the dragon.
- Make a zig-zag with garlic mayonnaise on each side of the dragon to give the impression that it is breathing fire. Use Sriracha sauce in the same way. Pull the Sriracha sauce through the mayonnaise with rapid, precise strokes until the two are combined with the tip of a cocktail stick.
- On one side of the plate, place a handful of pickled ginger and a big squirt of wasabi paste. The dragon is now ready for serving.
So, that’s it for now. You can prepare easy homemade Dragon sushi rolls by following our recipe here. Stay tuned for more easy homemade sushi rolls recipes. Check out our other posts on California sushi rolls, and Philadelphian sushi rolls.