Dragon Roll

Wrap tender poached shrimp, crisp cucumber, creamy avocado, sweet mango, and seasoned rice in nori for this savory American-style sushi roll.

Dragon Roll

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Josh Hoggle

Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 35 mins
2 servings
2 rolls

The first sushi restaurant in the United States, Kawafuku, opened in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s and quickly grew in popularity. It became a dish you could get most anywhere in the U.S., ushering in a whole new class of American-style sushi rolls. Among the first rolls to emerge from this new style was the California Roll. Since then, other popular variations have been created like the Alaskan roll, which features raw salmon, and the Dragon roll, which has a variety of ingredients like poached shrimp, mango, avocado, and cucumber.

The Dragon Roll is prepared artistically on the plate, resembling a dragon or caterpillar, and it’s often referred to as a Caterpillar roll. Tangy and sweet sushi rice is layered with a nori sheet then rolled with the avocado, shrimp, and cucumber matchsticks in the center. The roll is topped with thin sliced mango and avocado to create a colorful exterior and is served with Sriracha mayo. The combination of ingredients come together in a delicious sweet, creamy, and savory bite.

There are many ways to level-up this recipe. Add crispy texture by using tempura-fried shrimp or for a pop of flavor, try topping the roll with tobiko or salmon roe.


  • 2/3 cup sushi rice

  • 1 cup water, plus cold water for rinsing and soaking

  • 1 1-inch piece kombu (dried kelp)

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha chile sauce

  • 1 medium avocado (7 ounces)

  • 1 medium mango (10 ounces)

  • 2 roasted nori (dried seaweed) sheets

  • 1 small Persian cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)

  • 8 cooked large or jumbo shrimp, cut in half lengthwise (4 ounces)

  • Black sesame seeds

  • Soy sauce


  1. Place sushi rice in a medium bowl, and cover with cold water. Stir gently using a wooden spoon or your fingers, and carefully drain. Repeat process 4 more times. Cover rice with cold water, and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain well.

  2. Transfer rice and 1 cup water to a medium saucepan. Place kombu on top. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered and undisturbed, until rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat, and keep covered for 10 minutes. Remove lid, and discard kombu.

  3. Fluff rice using a fork; transfer to a baking sheet, and spread into an even layer. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt are almost dissolved. Drizzle mixture evenly over rice, and gently fold using a fork or a wooden spoon, being careful not to overmix rice. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours (cover with a damp towel if more than 30 minutes).

  4. Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise and Sriracha in a small bowl. Transfer to a ziplock plastic bag, and refrigerate until ready to use. Very thinly slice half of avocado, and cut remaining half into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Very thinly slice half of mango; reserve other half of mango for another use. (You should have at least 1/4 cup each thinly sliced avocado and mango.) Cover avocado and mango slices with plastic wrap, and set aside.

  5. Place 1 nori sheet, shiny side up, on a bamboo sushi mat. Cover nori with half of rice (about 1 1/4 cups); using damp fingers, gently spread rice into an even layer just about covering entire nori sheet. Cover rice with plastic wrap, and carefully flip so plastic wrap is against work surface and bamboo mat is facing up. Remove bamboo mat, and slide under plastic wrap so nori is facing up.

  6. Place half of thick slices of avocado in a single layer over nori, and top avocado with half of sliced shrimp in an even layer (about 1/4 cup for each). Place about 1/4 cup cucumbers next to shrimp in an even layer.

  7. Gently roll, using bamboo mat as a guide, forming a tight log. Cover sushi roll with plastic wrap, pressing gently to seal. Repeat process to make second roll. Top each log alternating with thinly sliced avocado slices and mango slices, gently pressing to adhere to log. Cut each log into 8 slices, and transfer to plates. (See tip.)

  8. Remove mayonnaise mixture from refrigerator, and snip a small hole in corner of bag. Drizzle slices with mayonnaise mixture, to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with soy sauce.


Use a wet, very sharp long bladed knife and make long, even slices to cut through the rolls without tearing.

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