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How to Make Shrimp Tempura Rolls

Shrimp tempura rolls marry sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami in a neat nori-wrapped package, with a little chewy and crunchy incorporated for textural harmony. Tempura-crusted shrimp may be the star of the dish, but sushi-style rice shares the spotlight. Sticky and tart, sushi rice, which is always made with the japonica variety, relies on rinsing, soaking and a quick cool down after cooking to develop its fluffy, yet glutinous, texture.

Tempura rolls typically get chili-sauce-spiked aioli – usually sambal, but you can use sriracha or harissa sauce – and sliced cucumber and avocado for the vegetables.

Make Shrimp Tempura Rolls


Things You’ll Need

  • Sushi rice
  • Dashi stock
  • Flour
  • Soda water
  • Sharp knife
  • Vegetable oil
  • Nori
  • Sushi vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Shrimp
  • Vegetables
  • Sambal, sriracha or harissa sauce
  • Bamboo sushi mat
  • Plastic wrap
  • Powdered wasabi (optional)


Shrimp and Rice Preparation

Step 1 :: Rinse the rice in a pot of water three times, draining and refreshing the water each time. You need about 1/4 cup of rice for each roll. Drain the rice in a colander and return it to the pot.

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Step 2 :: Rub the rice between your palms and rinse it once more. Drain the rice for 30 minutes and return it to the pot. Add twice as much cold dashi stock as rice to the pot.

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Step 3 :: Bring the stock to a boil and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Boil the rice for 1 minute, lower the heat to low and continue to cook the rice for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

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Step 4 :: Transfer the rice to a shallow dish and add 1 tablespoon of sushi vinegar per cup. Fold the vinegar into the rice using a spatula and let the rice reach room temperature. Fan and stir the rice frequently to speed up the cooling process.

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Step 5 :: Peel and devein the shrimp. Cut two or three shallow slices in the interior curve of each shrimp to prevent them from curling during cooking.

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Step 6 :: Heat 3 or 4 inches of vegetable oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Mix equal parts cold soda water and flour along with a pinch of baking soda in a mixing bowl.

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Step 7 :: Hold the shrimp by the tail and dip each in the tempura batter. Fry the shrimp until golden brown.

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Step 8 :: Set the sushi mat on the work surface with the slats running side to side. Place a piece of plastic wrap larger than the sushi mat on top of it.

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Step 9 :: Lay a sheet of nori, dull side up, on the plastic-covered mat about 1 inch up from the bottom edge of the mat. Spread a 1/4-inch thick layer of rice on the nori in an even layer. Leave about 2 inches of bare space at the top.

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Step 10 :: Place 2 tempura shrimp horizontally in the center of the rice with the tails extending past the sides. Spread a tablespoon or so of sambal – or sauce of your choice – on top of the shrimp, if desired.

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Step 11 :: Lay thinly sliced vegetables horizontally on the rice above and below the shrimp. Avocados and cucumbers are classic.

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Step 12 :: Moisten the portion of nori not covered with rice with water. Roll the mat from the bottom forward. Tighten the mat as you roll to keep the tempura roll packed tight.

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Step 13 :: Unroll the bamboo mat while keeping the plastic wrapped tightly around the roll. Tighten the plastic wrap around the roll as needed to keep a tight roll.

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Step 14 :: Moisten the blade of a sharp knife with water and slice the tempura roll crosswise through the plastic wrap into 3/4-inch wide pieces. Pull the pieces of plastic wrap from each slice of the tempura roll. Sprinkle powdered wasabi to taste over the rolls, if desired.

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