With more than 4,000 sushi restaurants in the U.S., each with its own Itamae (Sushi Chef), it is easy to be excited to sample the dishes they create. Sushi is an acquired taste, but once you’ve tasted this delightful cuisine and experienced its intricate beauty on a plate, you will be pleasantly surprised! Here are 18 delicious types of sushi rolls to try today!
Two main ingredients to wrap a sushi roll are vinegared rice and nori, edible seaweed. The fillings vary, and this is what makes each sushi roll different. Sushi chefs use fresh vegetables and prepare raw seafood to create delicious and spectacular-looking sushi rolls.
Sushi seems simple enough to make, but it’s in the preparations where the actual talent of an Itamae is recognized. Each Itamae will use their own ideas when preparing sushi rolls for customers. Read on for more on the types of traditional sushi and the delicious sushi rolls you can try today.
Types Of Traditional Methods Used To Make Sushi Rolls
Sushi can be divided into 3 traditional types or styles. These types depict the ingredients and methods used to make sushi. The types of sushi used to make sushi rolls are:
|Type||Ingredients And Method Of Preparation|
|Maki||Fillings of seafood, fish, vegetables, or meat wrapped in vinegared rice. The rice is wrapped in a sheet of nori (edible seaweed). The Maki is rolled and cut into bite-size slices.|
|Uramaki||Similar to Maki but nori is used to wrap the filling on the inside. The layer of rice is used on the outside.|
|Temaki||Although this type is rolled, the nori is rolled into a cone shape. The cone is then filled with rice, fish, and vegetables. It is usually eaten with the hands.|
Now that you can identify the types of sushi, let’s look at the delicious types of sushi rolls served at sushi bars and restaurants.
The California Roll (Uramaki)
This roll has a sheet of nori on the inside and a layer of rice on the outside. Fresh avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, and flying fish roe (tobiko) are used for the filling. The California roll is a modern version of the old-style Japanese rice roll. If you want to make this roll yourself, it is the easiest sushi roll to assemble. This roll is delicious when served with soy sauce and a dash of wasabi.
The Tempura Roll (Uramaki)
This roll is like the California roll with the rice on the outside and the sheet of nori on the inside. The filling is different, though. Tempura rolls are filled with tempura-fried shrimp, cucumber, and avocado. The tempura-fried means that the shrimp are dipped in a light batter made from flour, water, and a beaten egg. Tempura batter is light, airy, and fried in less oil than other Japanese fried foods.
The Spicy Tuna Roll (Uramaki)
The Spicy Tuna roll has a sheet of nori on the inside wrapped around raw tuna moistened with a spicy sauce like sriracha mixed with mayonnaise. The layer of rice is on the outside of the roll and is sprinkled with sesame seeds. This spicy roll is best served with soy sauce, horseradish or wasabi.
The Dragon Roll (Uramaki)
Like the Tempura roll, the Dragon roll has shrimp tempura, avocado, and cucumber with a sheet of nori inside. On the outside, the rice layer is dusted with sesame seeds. But the difference is the topping on the Dragon roll, which is slices of fresh avocado, and tobiko, flying fish roe.
This topping is dribbled with unagi sauce and spicy mayonnaise. The avocado slices represent the scales of the dragon. The shrimp is not raw but is fried using the tempura method.
The Spider Roll (Uramaki)
This roll is filled with soft-shell crab that is deep fried, cucumber, avocado, lettuce or daikon sprouts, roe, and spicy mayonnaise. The filling is layered with a sheet of nori, and a layer of rice is on the outside. The roll is dribbled with Unagi Eel sauce made from soy sauce, white sugar, and Mirin Japanese sweet wine. This delightful roll is served with soy sauce.
The Rainbow Roll (Uramaki)
This roll is filled with cucumber and imitation crab. There is a nori sheet inside, and the rice layer is on the outside. The rice is topped with slices of avocado, salmon, tuna, shrimp, and yellow tail, all beautiful colors like a rainbow.
This colorful sushi is garnished with a decorative fanned slice of cucumber or a carrot spiral on the side. It is served with a ramekin of soy sauce and freshly grated wasabi.
The King Crab Roll (Uramaki)
The King Crab Roll is just what it says, lots of King crab in the filling surrounded by a sheet of nori. A layer of sticky rice is used on the outside. The crab meat is moistened with mayonnaise to make a delectable sushi roll. It is usually served with traditional sauces on the side.
The Kappa Maki Roll (Maki)
This is the perfect sushi roll for vegetarians. It is made from slivers of cucumber, surrounded by a layer of vinegared rice. It is then wrapped in a sheet of nori. The simple ingredients in this roll are ideal for kids. For knowledgeable sushi eaters, it’s a palate cleanser between courses.
The Philadelphia Roll (Maki)
If you like cream cheese and salmon, which is a rather unique combination, then the Philadelphia or Philly roll is a good choice. On the outside is the nori with the sticky rice inside, filled with raw salmon, sliced cucumber, and dollops of cream cheese. If preferred, you can ask for your salmon to be smoked.
The Salmon Roll (Maki)
Salmon is a fish that most people have heard of or eaten, be it on a bagel or sandwich. So, this is the ideal ‘beginner’ roll for someone who has yet to try sushi. The salmon is the filling that is wrapped around a layer of vinegared rice. On the outside of the roll is a sheet of nori. A simple way to enjoy sushi!
The Unagi Roll (Maki)
The filling of this roll is cooked freshwater eel glazed with sweet soy sauce. There are some variations of the unagi roll. Sometimes avocado, shrimp, or crab is often added to the filling.
Other times the eel is placed on top with the shrimp and avocado in the center, surrounded by a layer of rice and a sheet of nori. The specialty of the Unagi roll, though, is in the sauce, which can be dribbled on top of the roll.
The Firecracker Roll (Uramaki)
This roll lives up to its name as it is pleasantly spicy, and there are several variations. The main ingredient is tempura shrimp, placed in the center with a dollop of cream cheese and some avocado. The usual vinegared rice and nori are used to layer the roll. And on top of the roll is a spicy mayonnaise and sriracha sauce sprinkled with flaming hot Cheetos that have been crushed.
Or the main ingredient could be shrimp tempura for the center filling. Sliced avocado, cucumber, and crab sticks are added to the filling. The roll has nori on the inside and a layer of rice on the outside. The top of the roll is stacked with spiced, diced tuna. The tuna is drizzled with eel sauce and spicy mayo, and onion chips and seaweed sprinkles are added. This firecracker roll is served with ginger and wasabi.
Hand Rolled Sushi (Temaki)
This sushi type does have the same basic ingredients as other sushi rolls; vinegared rice, a sheet of nori, and a filling of choice. The only difference is that the Temaki is hand-rolled sushi. The shape of Temaki sushi is a lot like an ice-cream cone. This was a general idea 52 years ago (1971) when a restaurant owner wanted to make sushi more marketable for young people.
So, this sushi type is a more modern and less fussy way of making sushi. The nori sheet is cut into quarters or halves and topped with rice. Fillings such as fresh seafood, cucumber, or avocado are layered over the rice. All the ingredients are rolled into a cone shape.
The Alaska Roll (Uramaki)
This sushi roll has a beautiful filling of crab sticks, asparagus (optional), and cucumber sticks. These ingredients are placed on a sheet of nori, then a layer of sticky rice. The filling is drizzled with spicy mayonnaise sauce. Layers of raw salmon are placed on top of the rolls. Slices of Alaska rolls are often served with unagi sauce.
The Spicy Salmon Tataki Roll (Uramaki)
The Spicy Salmon Tataki roll filling is sliced seared salmon, cucumber sticks, and a drizzling of tangy mayonnaise. The rice is on the outside of the roll, and the nori sheet is on the inside. When rolled, a layer of thinly sliced salmon is placed on the top and then lightly seared with a blowtorch. The seared salmon is drizzled with Tataki sauce (citrus, salmon sauce) and cut into thick slices before serving.
The Yellowtail Sushi Roll (Maki)
Raw, diced Yellowtail fish mixed with green onion is a delicious buttery filling for this sushi roll. The filling is rolled in a layer of rice, followed by a sheet of nori. The beautiful cut slices are served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled red ginger.
The Mexican Sushi Roll (Maki)
This roll is filled with raw chopped tuna, which has been marinated in sriracha, mayonnaise, toasted sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Fresh salsa, cilantro, and slices of avocado are layered on top of the tuna mixture. The filling is spread on the layer of rice and then rolled up in a sheet of nori. This spicy Mexican sushi roll is served with wasabi and soy sauce.
The Tuna And Mango Sushi Roll (Maki)
A delicious and exotic filling of thinly sliced tuna, mango, and avocado rolled in sticky rice and a sheet of nori. This refreshing sushi roll is served with soy sauce and pickled ginger and is perfect for a hot summer’s day.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Popular Sushi Roll?
The California Sushi Roll is the most popular in the U.S. In the 1960s, a Japanese chef, Machita Ichiro, based in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, replaced the tuna in the sushi roll he created. He substituted it with crab meat and avocado, aiming for a seafood variation. He also changed the nori sheet to be on the inside of the roll and the rice on the outside.
Since then, the California Sushi roll has become a firm favorite in the United States and is served in many restaurants and sushi bars worldwide. Blending Asian and Western cookery traditions resulted in a dish that fits right in with fusion cuisine.
What Is The Best Sushi Roll For A Beginner?
The Philadelphia or Philly Sushi roll is the best to try if you are new to the sushi scene. The main ingredient is salmon which has been smoked, so it is not entirely raw. The filling also has a dollop of cream cheese and a slice of avocado. This combination has a mild flavor and is easy on the palate.
What Is The Most Popular Sushi Filling?
It is difficult to say which sushi filling is the most popular. However, there are three most popular fillings that consumers identified. They love the creamy taste of a slice of avocado in the filling. Others made mention of the taste of crisp and crunchy cucumber cubes. And the most popular of the fish fillings was Tuna fish for its sweet and wild flavor and excellent color.
What Is The Most Common Type Of Sushi?
The most common type of Sushi in the U.S. is Uramaki. Once again, this type of sushi came about when the sushi chef, Machita Ichiro, wanted to please his American customers. He noticed that his customers did not like the seaweed sheet on the outside of the traditional Maki sushi. So, he swapped the rice and seaweed around. He also dusted the sticky rice with sesame seeds.
The primary ingredients for making sushi rolls are vinegared, sticky rice, and a sheet of nori, which is dried, edible seaweed. The fillings are made from fresh vegetables and raw fish like salmon, tuna, shrimp, and crab. Various combinations are married together to create a delicate and excellent flavor. Sushi chefs are real artists when it comes to the presentation of their delightful dishes.