This is the complete recipe for a veganized version of the popular dragon sushi roll. This recipe substitutes baked eggplant for the eel, and features cucumber, avocado, and a vegan spicy mayo sauce.
I use a rice cooker. For me, that produces the best and most consistent results. If you don’t have a rice cooker, just follow the package directions on whatever sushi rice you purchased. I also prefer to use pre-seasoned sushi vinegar. It’s a time saver, and I find that most brands have a pretty solid salty/sweet/acidy balance. When the rice is cooked, just toss it with a few tablespoons to a quarter cup of sushi vinegar. Allow the rice to then cool, covered, until it is cool enough to handle it with your hands.
Remove the eggplant from the oven, and allow it to cool slightly before you start to cut it.
I find a ratio of about ¼ cup vegan mayo to a tablespoon of sriracha does the trick. I have been making my own aquafaba mayo using The Minimalist Baker’s recipe. It’s a slightly sweet mayo, which mimics the Kewpie mayo that many sushi restaurants use. If you’re just using store bought vegan mayo, I would add just a pinch of sugar to the mix. You don’t want it to read as “sweet”, but it helps to balance out the flavors.
Lay a sheet of nori, shiny side down, onto your sushi mat. If you are using a bamboo mat, make sure you cover it with plastic wrap. Wet your hands, and then apply about ½ to ¾ cup of rice to the rough side of the nori. Break up any clumps of rice with your hands and distribute the rice evenly around the nori. It’s ok if there are a few places you can still see the nori. You don’t want to over-do it with the rice, and you definitely don’t want to pack it down. Lightly sprinkle the rice with toasted sesame seeds.
Flip your rice covered nori over so you can see the shiny side. Place a row of avocado and a row of cucumber about an inch or two from the edge closest to you. If you would like to add other veggies, or even baked tofu, you definitely can. Begin to roll by folding the end closest to your body over the filling, tucking it under the filling, and then continuing to roll, using the mat to guide and slightly press down. When the roll is complete, drape the mat over the roll, and press down from the top and sides, to help secure and even out the roll.
Cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, cleaning your knife with a damp towel in between cuts. Plate the roll in a slightly arched shape. Finish off with a generous drizzle or brush of the eel sauce, a drizzle of the spicy may, a few dollops of vegan roe, and a sprinkling of crispy panko crumbs.
After you add your avocado and cucumber, place a few strips of the eggplant eel inside. This is a good place to use any slices that are torn or imperfect that you don't want on the outside of your roll. Roll it up, and top with thin slices of avocado. Top with a generous brushing of eel sauce, a drizzle of the spicy mayo, a few dollops of vegan roe, and a sprinkling of crispy panko crumbs.