Recommend me some sushi roll recipes without raw fish?
December 18, 2014 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Tell me some of your favorite sushi roll recipes that don't contain raw fish - they can be vegetarian or not. Are there any that are a good substitute for that melt-in-your-mouth texture of raw fish (vegetarian or not)? Also if there's any recipes that use (and work well with) cooked fish would be awesome as well!
posted by atinna to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Mango can approximate that texture somewhat. One of my favourite non-traditional rolls has mango, cream cheese and prosciutto with a touch of pesto.
posted by paperback version at 12:14 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here are some recipes for delicious looking vegan sushi. They're nigiri, but you could easily make them into rolls. According to the blog author, if you bake watermelon and marinate it in flaxseed oil and kelp it tastes like raw tuna and has the same mouthfeel.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:28 AM on December 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

Avocado avocado avocado

Aren't California Rolls pretty much entirely cooked? Eel, too, though I suppose good luck finding eel at the supermarket and then barbecueing it in exactly the proper way.

Spider Roll is fried softshell crab, vegetables, and spicy mayo.

I'm pretty sure you could gin up something like a spicy tuna roll with cooked tuna rather than raw, and it would be basically the same thing.

I wonder if you could sub smoked salmon for the salmon in some rolls? I wouldn't necessarily do an all smoked salmon roll, but lox + cream cheese + cucumber could be pretty fantastic.
posted by Sara C. at 12:54 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

And here is an interesting video by a chef who cooks tomatoes sous vide to simulate raw tuna. Requires cooking sous vide though.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:55 AM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

A place I used to go to on the east coast which likely no longer exists did this maki that was I think bonito-rehydrated shitake, dashi-simmered imo (japanese sweet potato) and shiso leaf with ume. Super amazing fall flavors and the shitake had that bite down that was just right.
posted by Mizu at 1:53 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh! And a cooked fish that's great in sushi is actually catfish. The local place to me is all about sustainability, and they use catfish as their eel replacement. Make or buy eel sauce, simply cook your catfish, and make rolls with slivers of bias-cut green onion. My local place does a crazy thing with tempura shrimp in a coconut-fried catfish roll but it's intense and not for the weak of heart.
posted by Mizu at 1:57 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have nothing that emulates raw fish but my absolute favourite is:

marinated Shitake mushrooms + avocado + mayo (vegan or otherwise)
**Note I'd recommend fresh Shitakes instead of dried for your first go-round.
Especially good if served with the mushrooms slightly warm

second: deep fried banana with spicy mayo!!!

both of these are best maki-style, all rolled up.
posted by OlivesAndTurkishCoffee at 2:59 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

California Roll is entirely cooked, make it with real cooked crab instead of surimi though.

There are cucumber rolls and carrot rolls. Yummy, yum, yum.

New York roll, with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Dynamite Roll, with eel and crab.

I love Spider Roll, but it's a lot of work!

Ebi (shrimp) can be inserted into rolls

You're limited only by your imagination.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:42 AM on December 19, 2014

Oshinko (pickled radish) rolls are excellent. A sushi place near me does a huge veggie roll with oshinko, sweet potato, asparagus, and tofu skins. You might also look into gimbap, which tends to include only cooked meats.
posted by specialagentwebb at 5:28 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

tamagoTamago is made by combining eggs, rice vinegar, and sometimes sugar or soy sauce. Additionally, sake is used in some recipes.
posted by XMLicious at 5:56 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Spicy vegan scallop roll
Faux roe
Spicy shitake
Asparagus nigiri, from a youtube channel of videos that fit your needs

Bonus: How to cut veggies for sushi
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:30 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

1) Wipe portobello caps clean with a damp cloth. Snap off the stem. Spread the gill side with a layer of miso paste. Put into a ziploc bag; pour in enough soy sauce to cover everything. Squeeze the air out and allow to marinate for 3-24 hours.

2) If the weather is right, barbecue these whole; if it's not, slice into thick strips and bake in a low oven until the cell structure collapses a bit and they become chewy and meaty rather than crisp and raw. I'd say probably 20 minutes at 300 degrees.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:30 AM on December 19, 2014

Response by poster: paperback version, mango is a great idea for the texture. I've never had mango in sushi but I've had it in salads and know how well it pairs with the most unlikely things. That recipe sounds great and I'm definitely going to try it out sometime!

misu, thanks for the tip about cooked catfish as a cooked meat that works, I'll have to look into that for sure.

Ruthless bunny, thanks for those links! Great stuff there!

Mushrooms in sushi sounds a little odd to me but I'm going to try that out as well because so many people mentioned it and I stumbled across it many times in my own searches.

For rolls with cooked meat, the best (besides the catfish idea) I've come up with is the California/Boston rolls - one cooked shrimp, one real crab meat, each with avocado and cucumber, since those seem simple enough for a newbie. Definitely also going to try out the smoked salmon as well, and some different combinations of veggies.

Thanks everyone for your great ideas and links. More are welcome, too!
posted by atinna at 7:55 AM on December 19, 2014

I would use all kinds of smoked fish and shellfish-- there's a lot of it on the market right now for the holidays. Whitefish salad might be a good ingredient.

I just had some fantastic duck congee which was braised duck on rice porridge. I think braised duck might make a good sushi filling and it's velvety.
posted by BibiRose at 9:48 AM on December 19, 2014

I can't believe no one has mentioned yam tempura rolls yet, they are a vegetarian sushi staple!

And regarding the cooking/sourcing of eel for an unagi roll, if there are any Japanese/Korean/pan-Asian markets in your area, eel is very often sold precooked with sauce and all.

I'm actually very partial to a chicken teriyaki roll -- I think they're silly but damn are they satisfying. Beef teriyaki roll and salmon teriyaki roll is also a thing.

Spinach gomae rolls are a thing.

Seconding oshinko (Japanese pickle) rolls, they are super delicious.

Heck, if deep frying isn't out of the order (and you'll need that for the yam tempura roll), panko-bread some shrimp and make yourselves some dynamite rolls. Can't be beat!
posted by kaspen at 10:02 AM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

It wouldn't be crazy to just use tuna salad (i.e. from a can with mayo) either. I think canned tuna or salmon are commonly used to make onigiri, which are like triangular hand sushi ball things. They make a great packed lunch, here's a how-to.

Which reminds me, another common filling in onigiri, and occasionally in rolls as well, is umeboshi, or pickled plum (Japanese plums, they are not actually plums). If you like sour it would certainly be worth seeking out, and since it's a preserved item I imagine you could order it through the mail.
posted by kaspen at 10:09 AM on December 19, 2014

Personally I like my California rolls with "imitation crab" better than real crab, but YMMV. I also looove blue crab rolls which are made similarly (mixed with mayo).

Mango is definitely excellent in sushi, yum.

Honestly one of my favorite rolls is Philadelphia - smoked salmon and cream cheese.

I don't have a specific recipe but I've had mushrooms in sushi and it's quite good.

I also have no idea how to make it but I've had rolls with (fried) soft-shell crab that were really good.
posted by radioamy at 12:29 PM on December 19, 2014

I am a big fan of cooked/fried extra firm tofu in veggie sushi (pref. with cucumber and avocado) but maybe I'm weird?
posted by maryr at 1:49 PM on December 19, 2014

Unagi is one of my favorite cooked sushi roll fillers - it's barbecued eel with a sweet soy sauce glaze. You can buy it pre-cooked in vaccuum bags at specialty shops. If your unagi doesn't come with sauce, just simmer equal parts soy sauce, sake, and brown sugar until it's syrupy. SO GOOD.
posted by ananci at 6:20 PM on December 19, 2014

Kanpyō (dried gourd) is tasty and reasonably texturally appropriate.
posted by Lexica at 9:46 PM on December 19, 2014

Heart of palm is a good texture for sushi; it might emulate something like raw scallop or certain soft fish.
posted by WasabiFlux at 11:36 PM on December 19, 2014

It wouldn't be crazy to just use tuna salad (i.e. from a can with mayo) either. I think canned tuna or salmon are commonly used to make onigiri, which are like triangular hand sushi ball things.

I've eaten tuna mayo maki rolls in Düsseldorf, where there are a lot of Japanese expats and Japanese restaurants are serious.

I'm a big fan of inarizushi myself. It's rice wrapped in fried tofu skin.
posted by sukeban at 4:19 AM on December 20, 2014

And since it hasn't been mentioned yet, spam musubi.
posted by sukeban at 4:22 AM on December 20, 2014

I made a list of ideas for vegan sushi (nigiri and maki) a while back. Maybe you can draw inspiration from it. (Modified slightly to use non-vegan ingredients)
  • simmered kelp (kombu no tsukudani)
  • vegan "scallop" mayo: hearts of palm or jackfruit, Kewpie mayo, sriracha
  • radish sprouts (kaiware)
  • pickled burdock (gobo)
  • okra
  • natto
  • blanched asparagus
  • blanched green beans
  • cooked negitoro: canned tuna belly and sliced scallions, mixed well
  • very lightly cooked squid
  • squid simmered in soy-based sauce (ni-ika)
I hear lamb testicles have the texture of a scallop when cooked.
posted by WasabiFlux at 1:25 PM on December 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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