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If you eat a shaggy dog sushi roll once, I can bet that the taste will haunt you and make you crave for more. The crunchy texture of the shrimp tempura as you bite into the roll is perfectly balanced by the savory avocado slices and spring onions. Together they create an unforgettable culinary delight.
I know it can be a pain to dine out at a sushi restaurant every time you wish to enjoy your favorite sushi. You may not be in the mood to dress up and go out of the house, plus dining at an upscale sushi restaurant can be downright expensive.
But, something needs to be done for the incessant craving! You are lucky to be here because today I will share with you the recipe for making restaurant-like delicious shaggy dog sushi roll at home.
Shaggy Dog Sushi (Cooked Recipe)
What you will need:
- 2 cups of vinegared sushi rice
- Nori sheets
- Shrimp tempuras
- Cooked crab meat
- 2 avocados
- Surimi or imitation crab sticks
- Sesame seeds
- Spicy Mayo
- Teriyaki sauce
- Sriracha sauce
- Chopped green onions
Cook sushi rice using short grain Japanese rice (shinmai variety) in a cooker or pot. Once the rice cools, season it with vinegar, salt, and sugar. I have created a detailed article on how to cook and season rice to make it easier for beginners, check it out.
While the cooked sushi rice cools, prepare the fillings. Cut the cooked crab meat into strips and keep aside. Alternatively, you may create crab salad by shredding it into fine pieces. See instructions on how to cook real crab meat below.
Readymade shrimp tempura can be found in the frozen section of any Asian grocery store. Deep fry at home or make your own shrimp tempura from the scratch (see recipe below). Cut the tempura into two halves lengthwise.
Prepare the avocados by cutting them into half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh. Take a sharp Japanese knife and make thin slices of avocado. Sprinkle lemon juice to prevent it from turning yellow.
Place the bamboo sushi mat on the working area and cover it with a plastic cling film. Put the Nori sheet over it and now spread a half cup of vinegared sushi rice on the seaweed.
Moisten your fingers while working with the rice to ensure that the grains don’t stick to your fingers. Flip over the Nori sheet to have the rice facing downwards to make an inside-out roll.
Now, arrange two slices of avocado towards the middle of the Nori sheet. Add 2 strips of cooked crab meat. Alternatively, you may use 3-4 tablespoons of the shredded salad as fillings.
Next, add one tempura shrimp cut into two halves (arrange in a way to ensure each half sticks outside of avocado and crab meat.
Now, lift the bamboo mat from one end and start rolling by applying gentle pressure to make a compact roll. When you reach the end, dip your hands in water and dampen the edges to seal them.
Microwave the crab sticks for about 10-15 seconds and cut them into half to flatten them out. Arrange them carefully over the sushi roll to cover the entire area. Use the sushi mat to give one gentle squeeze to the roll to make a compact shape.
Take a sharp sushi knife(see my favorite one), moisten the blades and cut the shaggy dog sushi roll into 6-8 equal pieces. Add some teriyaki sauce and spicy mayo on the top. Sprinkle sesame seeds if desired. You may also add finely chopped spring onions and Sriracha sauce to add more heat.
Steps To Make Shrimp Tempura
Tempura not only tastes great as sushi filling but also a delicious snack or side dish served with donburi or noodle soup. They are typically made by chefs who are masters in their game, but with some practice, you may learn to make near perfect tempuras. Here’s a step by step guide to making your own shrimp tempura for shaggy dog roll.
What you will need:
- 10 shrimps, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup of water
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 egg whites
- oil for frying (vegetable or sesame oil)
Preparing shrimps for the tempura
Making tempura is not as easy as it seems and if you coat your shrimps as they are with the batter and dip inside the hot oil, they will curl up immediately. After several trials, I finally learned the trick to keep the shrimps straight, just like you see them at the restaurants. Just follow these instructions.
Take one shrimp and place it on the chopping board, with its belly facing upwards. Make a few vertical incisions on its belly, 4-5 are enough and now flip it over to have belly facing downwards.
Apply gentle pressure using your fingers to press the shrimp downwards. Start from the tail and go upwards. Don’t apply too much pressure but be firm and continue until you hear a snapping sound.
They may not look perfect with the incisions but the batter will cover that up so don’t worry. Use a paper towel to pat them dry.
Making the tempura
Place a deep fryer on the gas stove and heat oil up to 375 degrees F. Test by dipping your chopsticks to see if bubbles are forming. It indicates that the oil is hot enough for deep fry.
Take a bowl and whisk together cornstarch, and salt evenly. In another bowl, mix cold water and egg by stirring vigorously. You will see foam forming on the top. Remove it with a spoon.
Now, slowly pour the egg mixture to the flour and use a spatula to mix it. Do not over mix the batter and don’t worry if there are some lumps. Make sure the batter remains cold.
Now, dust some cornstarch over the prepared shrimps, coat them with the batter and slowly put it inside the frying pan.
Do not put all the shrimps at once because overcrowding will not allow the tempuras to cook well. Avoid cooking for too long as this will give your shrimps a tough texture.
Once they turn golden yellow, transfer the tempuras in a wired rack or plate layered with tissue papers to drain the excess oil.
Pro tip – Remember to remove the small tempura crumbs in between the batches because they will burn and turn the oil dark in color.
Cooking And Seasoning Crabmeat
Take a crab leg and use your fingers to break it into two pieces. You may need a scissor to trim away the tough tendons. Cut away the outer shell or exoskeleton but be careful to not damage the meat inside. Now, do the same for the second crab leg.
Place both the crab meat legs on the cutting board and season them with sea salt. Turn the legs and sprinkle some more salt to ensure it’s completely covered with salt. Repeat the same process with ground pepper.
Now pre-heat a frying pan and add a blob of clarified butter to it. When the butter melts, put the crabmeat legs in the pan and cook with the help of tongs. Fry both sides of the leg lightly for a few minutes until they turn golden in color. Remove the crab meat and let it cool.
When the meat cools down, you may either make thin strips of the crab meat or shred the meat into thread-like pieces to make crab salad.
How To Make Shaggy Dog Sushi Roll Gluten Free
If you wish to minimize gluten content in sushi or you are on a celiac diet and need to prepare a gluten-free meal here’s a quick recipe for you. Gluten-free shrimp tempura may not taste the same as the original thing because the batter is too thin but you will still be able to enjoy the crunchy texture.
You will need 2 large egg whites, 2 cups of rice flour or any non-wheat flour, cold water, salt and pepper for seasoning. Take a bowl and add the egg white and stir until you get an even mix. Now pour the flour slowly and keep stirring as you do to ensure that the egg mix is absorbed completely.
Now add cold water to the bowl and mix again to get a batter like consistency. You may use corn, canola, peanut, safflower, or sunflower for frying. Heat oil, dip the shrimps in batter and deep fry until they turn golden.
Skip the seasoning part of your sushi rice to avoid gluten. It may be difficult to roll but you will still be able to enjoy the great taste. You may remove avoid imitation crab meat from the recipe as it contains gluten. Serve your sushi with gluten-free soy sauce to enjoy the awesome taste without feeling guilty.
Where can I buy crab meat?
You can get crab meat from a trusted fishmonger in your area, however, not all fishmongers may stock this expensive seafood. I prefer buying sushi-grade fish and seafood from Catalina Offshore Products as they have high-quality products, great customer service, and reasonable prices.
Can I enjoy a vegan version of shaggy dog sushi roll?
You can substitute the shrimp tempura with sweet potato, eggplant or green beans tempura. For the toppings, you may use thin slices of semi-boiled carrots. Other substitutes include tofu and shitake mushrooms. Just be creative and follow your intuition to enjoy a delicious vegan version.
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