Heaven Roll

The Heaven Roll is a fitting name for this sushi recipe! The savory flavors of tempura fried, coconut shrimp are complimented by fresh lemon zest and crisp asparagus. This recipe was the whole reason why I set out to learn how to make Garlic Mayo – and I promise you that after you try it you will see why.

For this tutorial, you will need:

  • 10 Farm Raised, U.S. White Shrimp (preferably with the shell on)
  • 5 pieces of Asparagus
  • 1 Avocado
  • 5 sticks of Kani Kama (Imitation crab meat)
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 bunch of Green Onions
  • 1 package of Bamboo Skewers
  • 2 cups (256 grams) of Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 package of Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 small package of Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
  • A large cast iron skillet
  • Fryer oil (canola, peanut, or general vegetable oil – I recommend peanut oil)
  • Shichimi Togarashi
  •  A sharp Knife (I recommend a Yanagiba)
  • A Cutting board
  • 2 cups (256 grams) of seasoned Sushi Rice (preferably made with a rice cooker)
  • 5 half-cut sheets of Nori
  • Garlic Mayo
  • Paper Towels
  • Tongs
  • Makisu

This recipe makes 5 Heaven Rolls.

As a disclaimer, this is a very long tutorial. But I promise you that the amount of effort that goes into making this roll IS worth it!


Preparing your Tempura Crab Sticks

1. Fill your cast iron skillet with approximately 1cm of fryer oil put it on a medium heat.



2. Add 1 cup (128 grams) of flour, 1 egg, and 1 cup of ice cold water to a bowl and whisk until all of the lumps are dissolved. Add the remaining amount of flour into a bowl by itself:



3. Unwrap your crab sticks and place them on a plate.


4. Pick up a crab stick and squeeze it with your thumbs. This should makes the individual lines of the crab stick separate:



5. Holding on to one end, gently slap the crab stick against your other palm. This will allow the crab stick “strings” to separate more easily.



6. Once the strings are mostly separated, coat them in the flour:


7. Then, dip them into the tempura batter and make sure that any excess batter is allowed to drip off.


8. Gently dip the crab strings into the hot oil, making sure to place them loosely. The goal here is to try to make a web of these strings that is large enough to cover a sushi roll. I usually try to make mine 4″ x 8″ (10cm x 20cm).



9. Repeat steps 4-8 until you have fried all of them.



10. Once the crab strings have turned a nice golden brown, they are ready to be removed. Please use a pair of tongs or large chopsticks to do this:


11. Set the fried crab strings onto a paper towel to allow for the grease to drain.




Frying Coconut Shrimp for the Heaven Roll

At this point, you want to go ahead and start cooking your sushi rice, if you haven’t already.

1. Soak your bamboo skewers in water for at least 5 minutes. After the skewers have soaked, you can skewer the shrimp from head to tail. For detailed instructions on how to do this, check out my recent post on the Great White Roll.


2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the shrimp for roughly 60 seconds. We want to make sure that we don’t over cook the shrimp, because they will be deep fried as well! We also want to add additional oil to our skillet. Now the oil level should be approximately 3 cm deep.

3. After boiling, remove the skewers and shells (I leave the tails on by habit, but you can remove the tails for this recipe).



4. Pour approximately 2 cups (256 grams) of panko and 1/2 cup (64 grams) of coconut flakes onto a plate. Mix until the coconut flakes are evenly distributed.


5. Using the same flour and tempura batter, dip each shrimp into the flour – making sure to shake off any excess flour:



6. Then dip it into the batter:


7. …then roll it around the coconut panko until it’s completely covered! Repeat steps 5-7 until each shrimp has been coated.



8. Now we are ready to fry. Carefully place each shrimp into the hot oil and fry for about 1 minute and 30 seconds, or until golden brown.


9. Remove the shrimp using a pair of tongs and allow them to cool off on a plate with a paper towel underneath them.

Time to Make the Heaven Roll!

Make sure to blanch your asparagus and slice your avocado. For instructions on how to do both, please see my tutorial on the Futomaki.

Whew! Okay… now we are ready to roll.

1. Add a handful of seasoned sushi rice to your nori:


2. Flip the rice mat over and add two coconut shrimp to the center. My shrimp weren’t quite long enough to reach the edges of the nori, so I sliced them diagonally and slide them apart just a bit. This is a neat trick that you can use on just about any ingredient that doesn’t reach the edges.



3. Add a piece of asparagus and a few pieces of avocado. Remember, we are trying to get a consistent amount of each ingredient in each bite of sushi. Don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients to make sure that they are consistent.


4. Now, roll up your maki (roll) and place one piece of the crab strings on top of the roll.


5. Placing your makisu on top of the crab strings, firmly press down and form the crab strings around the roll. Don’t worry about breaking the crab strings. This step should press the crab stings into the rice and generally keep them conformed to the roll.


6. Now it’s time to cut our roll into 8 even pieces and place it onto a plate.

7. Slice one end of the lemon off and then slice the lemon again in half. This should give us the shape of a half circle. Make a few, thin, slices of the lemon:


I usually try to make my slices about 5-8 mm thick.

8. Slice each of those slices into pie wedges and place one wedge on each piece of the Heaven Roll.


9. Drizzle some garlic mayo, sprinkle some finely chopped green onions, add a dash of Shichimi Togarashi, and you’re done!



Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Let me know what you think about this recipe in the comments section below.


Bryan Sekine with Secrets of Sushi

Bryan Sekine

I’ve been a professional sushi chef since 2008, but my passion is in teaching others. I have taught over 300 people in my live sushi classes and countless others online!

My goal is to teach people how to make sushi at home while educating them about sustainable seafood practices.

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