Spider Roll: What You Should Know Before Ordering

Novice sushi eaters might pause at the name "spider roll," thinking the eight-legged creepy-crawly is an ingredient in the dish. Nah. The spider roll gets its name from its passing resemblance to the legs of the bug. This sushi roll looks like the arachnid because it's constructed with tasty pieces of fried soft shell crab that stick out of the roll in a way that looks like a spider's appendages.

Unlike the caterpillar roll, the spider roll can be prepared inside out, which refers to the sushi rice on the outside, or the what many consider the traditional method, in which the seaweed wrapper sits on the outside of the dish.

A spider roll is sometimes presented as small, bite-size medallions in the same manner as other rolled sushi. Other restaurants consider the roll to be more of a showstopper, and serve the roll with the crab legs more visually pronounced. Either way, because the filling of spider rolls are so plentiful, it is considered futomaki-style sushi, which translates to "fat rolled sushi" (via The Spruce Eats).

How to make a spider roll

According to the Sapporo Steakhouse, the best sushi rolls offer the eater consistency and freshness, all in perfect proportion to the rice. Ultimately, this balance is what makes it so delicious. The high crunch factor of a spider roll adds to its deliciousness (via Wasabi Sushi Bars). The spider roll is one of those unique sushi rolls that originated in Japan. It requires a large number of ingredients and the flavor combinations work together to create a unique taste.

There are many variations of the spider roll, but the typical ingredients of the roll are soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber, mayonnaise, and soft shell crab. Soft shell crabs are crabs that are small enough (and their shells are soft enough) to be eaten whole (via Delighted Cooking).

To make the spider roll, put your sliced nori on a bamboo mat, and cover it with sushi rice seasoned to taste. Place the fried soft shell crab on the rice whole or if you prefer a more uniform amount of crab in every bite, chop it up and sprinkle it evenly over the rice. Place your other fillings inside the nori. Use the bamboo mat to help you tightly roll the nori (via Delighted Cooking).

If you'd like to create an inside out roll, place the rice on the nori sheet, then flip it over so the rice is facing down. Complete the steps above. Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds to garnish. Serve with your favorite sushi dipping sauce.

How to make a spider roll vegetarian

Vegetarian sushi is sushi, no matter what your meat-loving cousin says. The name sushi originates from the word makizushi — of which the 'maki' part of the word means, simply, "rolled, sour, vinegar rice" (via Sapporo Steakhouse).

Which means, as long as you use sushi rice, you're eating sushi, thank you very much. For a spider roll, once you swap out the soft shell crab, you can add any number of tempura vegetables to the roll with delicious results. Marissa Baggett's CopyCat Vegan Sushi suggests tempura mushrooms (which sound delicious). To try your hand at the perfectly crisp lushness that is tempura vegetables, Just One Cookbook offers recipes with sweet potato, squash, eggplant, and bell peppers. You can also try broccoli, string bean, or bok choi (via Food Network).

Chopped nuts would also be a nice substitute, bringing both crunch and an earthy, umami flavor to the roll.