Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Hand Rolls

I have decided to jump into this month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten-Free event because one of my favorite GF people, Diane of The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is hosting it. Now that I know how fun and goofy Diane is, it came as no surprise that she picked “Scared Silly” for the October theme. According to Diane, “These would be recipes using foods you were once  scared to eat but then after you tried them realized it was silly to be scared of them.”

I know what some of you are thinking, sushi? Come on, everyone’s scared of sushi at first. But, my friends, sushi isn’t my scared silly theme. Actually, I leapt at my first opportunity to go out for sushi. I remember it well in fact. Back in the mid-90’s there were three of us in the finance department for a tech company. Myself, my boss, who is Filipino, and a colleague, who is Chinese. Those two ladies were always eager to take me for every kind of Asian food … they could just hand me things and say “try this” and I would. I pretty much liked all of the cuisines they introduced me to, but sushi, now that was pure love. I love sushi so much in fact, that I make it at home or go out for it at least once a week. Yes, we even make raw sushi at home sometimes too, but don’t worry, the recipe below is fully cooked. See …

But, I digress …  back to that theme. My scared silly food is avocados. It was actually hard for me to come up with a food, because I’ve never really been scared to try any foods (okay, I’ll pass on Uni) … but, there have been foods where my initial experience was so bad, that I was afraid to have it again. Yes, up until about 5 or so years ago, I would run for the hills anytime I saw that slimy green mush … because that is what I knew it as. My mom was a “sandwich lady” delivering sandwiches to businesses when I was a kid. Everyday she would get to bring home selections of whatever was leftover (yes, for years I ate A LOT of sandwiches). One variety was the Turkey, Avocado, and Sprouts. As a lover of turkey and sprouts, I gave it a go, but leftover, day old, mushed in a pita avocado is rather disgusting. Two bites and I never wanted anything to do with avocados again.

I can’t recall the day that my outlook changed, but I am sure it was while I was living in Northern California … I swear the avocado could be considered the “state fruit” (or vegetable, or whatever you want to call it) based on consumption alone. Californians love their avocados, and now I do too. I use every opportunity, both sweet and savory, to sneak avocados in. So not surprisingly, sushi rolls aren’t complete in my book without a thick wedge of ripe, but firm avocado.

Now this is more of an “un-recipe” if you will. I’m still reeling a bit from a couple weeks of travel and playing catch-up, so my time in the kitchen has been more about throwing together “un-recipes” than creating solid, correctly-measured recipes. But next week begins my heads down time … I am going to be working on two new books, so there will be lots of kitchen creations for both the books and online. So stay tuned, I promise some very good things. Well, this is good too …



Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Hand Rolls (Un-Recipe)

  • Rice, Brown or White (see rice preparation tips below)
  • Shrimp (can sub crab or krab – but check ingredients on imitation crab if you have free-from needs; some brands contain gluten, soy, or even milk (yep, no joke))
  • Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (yes, they have it at regular grocery stores! I have read that the standard “rooster” brand is gluten-free as confirmed by the company, but you can also try this one if you are nervous)
  • Mayo, regular or vegan (I use Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise)
  • Green Onions, diced (optional, I didn’t have any for the hand rolls made in these pics)
  • Nori Sheets (these are your seaweed wraps – most grocery stores have these too, but they are really cheap online – I buy them from Amazon in quantity – bought Roland brand, but there are many)
  • Avocado Slices
  • Wheat-Free Tamari (for gluten-free) or Soy Sauce

Rice: I love brown rice, but the husband loves white, so I compromise sometimes. To make the best sushi rice, make the rice fresh, and while it is still hot, add in rice vinegar (I use a couple teaspoons per cup of rice) and gently stir the rice for about a minute, it will start to get sticky. See here for an official sushi rice recipe (they often add sugar and salt, but I’m too lazy and also think, why add more salt and sugar? Okay, it is a little bit better done that way, but back to the lazy excuse). Do not try to just reheat leftover rice for this, it will not work. But, you have two options if you want to use leftover rice (which is what I used in these hand rolls). First, add just a wee bit of water to the rice (to dampen), cover, and microwave it for about a minute, just to re-steam it a bit. You can use it as is at this point (it won’t be sticky, but it will be rejuvinated), or do like I do and add a little of the mayo to it to help it stay together.

Shrimp: First, I go tothe fridge and hope that my husband has peeled and deveined the shrimp. Score! He had. I fired it in a pan over medium heat (non-stick pan, so just a wee bit of coconut oil to cook) and cook it for just a few minutes per side (you want it just cooked through and still crisp-tender). Allow the shrimp to cool for a few minutes, dice it, and toss it in a bowl. Add the sriracha and mayo to taste. I literally squirt in the hot sauce, add just enough mayo for the sauciness I want, and taste test, adding more hot sauce if desired. If you have green onions, stir those in now.

Vegan Options: Sub the shrimp with veggies (cucumber, carrots, etc.) or tempeh for a little meatiness.

Hand Rolls: Now, you can make long rolls, but hand rolls are a good quick cheat, especially if your rice isn’t as sticky as you would like it. Cut some nori sheets in half, and lay each one out on the clean counter or cutting board. With wet fingers (I keep a little bowl of water right by), press the rice out onto the left side of the nori sheets (covering only about 1/3 of the sheet – you will only use a couple tablespoons or so of rice per hand roll). Top with 1 avocado slice in a diagonal manner (top of the slice pointing to the top left of the nori sheet). Top with some of the shrimp mixture (if you get overzealous, you may overstuff, so go light at first). It should look somewhat like this:

Now starting with the lower left corner, roll the handroll, pressing firmly to make sure it is all in there. Getting the nori to stick to itself at the end of the roll doesn’t always happen for me. I wet the seaweed a bit to help the cohesiveness, but I’m eating it, not trying to win styling awards, so I’m never a perfectionist.

Serve with tamari or soy sauce … and in my case, a big side of steamed broccoli.

23 thoughts on “Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Hand Rolls

  1. Okay! These look so delicious! I love making hand rolls! I do it all of the time, since I love nori sheets so much (hence the reason I was traveling with my little nori snacks in SF,lol). I have made a similar version with ahi tuna. But since ahi can be so expensive, I think i will totally make this with shrimp next time. I have to say though, I am literally addicted to avocados! I find any excuse to eat them and they were the first food that both of my kids EVER ate as baby food! 😉
    Love this post, my friend!!

  2. These look absolutely terrific!!

  3. I’m so glad you gave avacadoes another try! I love them! I think it’s funny that was the brave part about this! Sushi scares me – not eating it, but making it at home! I’ve never done that! Great job, it looks terrific!

  4. I hated avocados until about 5 years ago too. Even living in Panana and Costa Rica, I wouldn’t touch them. Its such a shame…

  5. Can you believe that for all the sushi I’ve eaten in my life time, I’ve never had a hand roll? I know, insane eh? Something about them seems…wrong. I can’t say why. But I love the combination of flavours you have going on there, and now I want to whip up some sushi myself. Mmmm, sushi.

  6. I try to eat sushi at least once a week as well. It’s truly one of the most delicious things on this earth! And the only take out I consider healthy enough to purchase.

    Man these hand rolls look awesome! I have a few friends who’ve only liked avocado after trying it multiple times. It’s kind of a weird texture so I think it’s an acquired taste.

  7. Kim – We enjoy making homemade sushi rolls with ahi too! Since it is so lean, and can be found still frozen from fresh quite easily, it is a great raw fish for homemade rolls! But, when you can’t find it, or when you want more than just pink tuna, crab and shrimp rolls are great!

    Christina – start with cooked rolls!

  8. these look BEAUTIFUL and sound incredibly tasty!

    I LOVE sushi, and could eat it every day… and I really like making it at home, too… and hand rolls are MUCH easier than rolls! 😀

  9. Sushi is definitely one of my fear foods! Avocado was too but now I’d love to move to California, especially if it was the state fruit/veggie/whatever it is! I love those green babies! I can’t believe you’re such a sushi eater. Going out for sushi scares me a bit because I never know what to order! And you make it at home. Impressive Alisa!

  10. These look delicious! I wish I could get on board with avocado, but I just can’t do it. I have tried so many times, but the texture and taste are just off for me. Maybe one day…

  11. YUM!!! I have Nori rolls in my cabinet right now! I have yet to make sushi though, weird, huh? These look amazing! Any sushi roll with avocado wins my heart 🙂

  12. It is a constant trial to me to be living in a country without Sriracha! Usually I just switch in tabasco, but it’s really not the same 🙁 Woe woe!

  13. Yum! My boys would be all over them. Rice flung from wall to wall 🙂

  14. Terrific rolls – love that they are spicy!

  15. this looks absolutely delicious!!

  16. love the hand roll tutorial…wow, you are awesome! I just posted the other day about guac and avo’s. Didnt grow up eating them, but do now 🙂 Glad you came around too! ha!

  17. These look great! I’d love to have these in my lunch.

  18. Alyona

    Thank you for sharing it looks delicious and beautiful. Just one suggestion you should read an article about recipe writing. I found too much personal information here which led to a lot of text that I had to read in order to get a recipe with like 5 ingredients….

    • Hi Alyona, your comment shocked me a bit since I write recipes for a living and am editor for a magazine and several cookbooks. Then I realized that you were commenting on an “un-recipe”. This isn’t a recipe, but a general concept. If you would like to see my actual full recipes and how I write recipes, see my cookbooks and my main website – http://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/alisa-dairy-free-recipes.

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