Typically, spider sushi rolls feature a fried soft-shell crab inside a thick roll. The playful name describes how the legs of the crab extend beyond the sides of the roll. Here, fried shimeji and enoki mushrooms provide a similar, vegetarian-friendly effect.
Rice Prep Time: Up to 1½ hours
Sushi Prep Time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 Rolls (20 pieces)
Oil for frying
Five 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) nori sheets
One 4-oz (115-g) package shimeji mushrooms, wiped cleaned and trimmed
One 2-oz (60-g) package enoki mushrooms, wiped clean and trimmed
Potato starch or cornstarch (corn flour) for dusting
½ cup (125 ml) Vegan Tempura Batter
3 cups (600 g) Traditional Sushi Rice, Brown Sushi Rice, Quinoa Sushi “Rice” or Multi-Grain Sushi Rice
4 tablespoons Faux Roe
1 Japanese cucumber, deseeded and cut into matchsticks
2 oz (60 g) daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
2 romaine lettuce leaves, cut in half lengthwise
Heat 1 in (2.5 cm) of oil in a medium skillet over high heat. When the oil reaches 350°F (175°C), reduce the heat to maintain temperature as needed.
Cut 1 sheet of the nori into 4 strips. Divide the mushrooms into 4 equal piles, keeping the caps all in the same direction. For each mushroom “spider,” turn the half the mushrooms in one pile around, then use a nori strip to bind the mushroom bundle in the center. Some caps should be facing outward on both ends. Repeat with remaining mushrooms and nori. Dust each mushroom “spider” with potato starch or corn starch. Shake away the excess before dipping into the tempura batter. Fry the mushroom “spiders” in oil until crisp. Drain on wire rack.
Place a 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) sheet of nori vertically on a bamboo rolling mat. Make sure that the short end is parallel to the bottom of the mat and that the rough side is facing upwards. Dip your fingertips lightly in cool water and spread about ¾ cup (150 g) of the sushi rice evenly over the bottom ¾ of the nori. Smear 1 teaspoon of the Faux Roe across the center of the sushi rice. Place one of the mushroom “spiders” on top and add ¼ of the cucumber and daikon radish. Top with a half lettuce leaf.
Wet your fingertips again and slide your thumbs underneath the mat while grasping the fillings with all other fingertips. Roll the bottom of the mat just over the fillings, tucking the fillings tightly under the fold. (Do not allow the mat to get stuck inside the roll!)
Lift the edge of the mat. Continue rolling until the roll is complete and the seam is facing down. Gently shape the roll by pressing your forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers on the sides.
Allow the roll to rest seam-side down on a cutting board for at least 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 3 more rolls. To cut the rolls, dip the blade of a very sharp knife in water. Use a swift sawing motion to cut each roll into 5 pieces. Arrange pieces on a serving tray or individual serving plates, prominently displaying the “spider” legs. Serve immediately.