If you’re new to making sushi, please see the Sushi Beginner’s Guide before getting started! This includes guides to all the basics, FAQ, and how to source ingredients. This site focuses on Americanized/Westernized sushi, which is distinct from traditional sushi found in Japan. Check out the Types of Sushi page to learn more!
The Smooth Criminal Roll is a Crafty Cookbook original sushi roll with spicy tuna on the inside and avocado and chili crisp on top. This roll is mildly spicy with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and doesn’t require too many ingredients to make! If you want this roll to have a little crunch, add cucumber strips to the inside.
How spicy is spicy tuna?? Traditionally spicy tuna is not very spicy, it’s definitely considered “mild”. Most people should be able to tolerate the spice level in spicy tuna even if they can’t tolerate very spicy foods. If you’re concerned about it being too spicy you can always reduce the amount of sriracha sauce you use in the mix. On the other hand, if you want to amp up the spiciness level use extra sriracha!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Don’t forget to check out the guides on Sourcing Fish and Sourcing Other Ingredients if you’re not sure where to find what you need! I include online product links for reference, but it’s typically much cheaper to purchase these items locally, so check out your local options!
Spicy Tuna or Spicy Salmon
- Get my recipe for spicy tuna or spicy salmon here!
- This recipe for spicy tuna/salmon calls for sushi quality fish, sriracha sauce, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, green onions, and white sugar.
- Make sure you’re using fish that is safe to eat raw (more info)
- You can substitute pretty much any sushi fish, try it with hamachi or red snapper!
Avocado Roll Topping
- Click here for a guide to making an avocado topping for sushi rolls!
- This topping is made using 1/2 of a medium-sized avocado.
- Make sure you’re using a ripe (but not over ripe) avocado. I recommend picking up a hard avocado a few days prior to making sushi. You can allow the avocado to ripen on your counter, then transfer it to the refrigerator when it is perfectly ripe (this significantly slows down the ripening process).
- This is a mixture of chili oil, crunchy garlic & peppers, and sometimes additional crunchy items such as sliced almonds. An incredible topping to have on hand for sushi!
- You can pick up a jar at an Asian grocery store or online (link).
Cucumber Strips (optional)
- Check out my guide to slicing cucumber for sushi (link) if you haven’t done this before. This method removes the center portion, leaving only the crunchy outside.
- The variety of cucumber used doesn’t make too big of a difference, but I typically use “Hot House” cucumbers.
- You can consider substituting the cucumber strips with avocado, or omitting them completely if desired.
- Sushi rice is prepared, medium grain rice that is seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. The seasoning added to the rice is what give it the distinctive taste and sticky texture.
- If possible, I strongly recommend picking up the proper kind of rice rather than using whatever rice you have on hand. Other varieties of rice (jasmine, basmati, etc.) will not turn out the same.
- Follow my recipe for Simple Sushi Rice before you begin making your sushi. You can find more information there on locating the proper ingredients.
- Nori is the seaweed wrapping used to hold together sushi rolls. It’s made from dried seaweed and has a mild, salty flavor.
- Nori is dry ingredient that can be stored in the pantry. After opening, store leftover nori sheets in an airtight bag with all the air pressed out to maintain freshness. Most packages contain a small white packet of desiccant (material that absorbs moisture), leave that packet inside when you reseal the package. If stored properly, nori should remain crisp for a month or so after opening, but over time moisture from the air will cause the nori to become stale. Using stale nori for your rolls is not ideal, so check on the freshness of your nori and pick up new packages as needed.
- Packages of nori vary a lot in quantity and price. I’ve tried out a variety of brands at different price points and have been happy with all of them. I don’t think you need to splurge on the more expensive brands, but I would suggest opting for packages with fewer sheets per package because large packs may go stale before you can use the entire thing.
- A Japanese grocery store (or other Asian grocery store) will have the widest selection of nori. You may be able to find nori in the “Asian foods” section of a large American grocery store, but you can also find nori online if needed (link1) (link2).
- Nori comes in a variety of sizes, so make sure you pick up full sheets (approximately 8″x7″). These sheets can be cut down smaller when making rolls (if desired). You can read more about this in the How to Make Sushi Rolls post.
Smooth Criminal Roll
- Cover the sheet of nori in a thin even layer of rice, filling all the way out to the edges. (click for guide)
- Flip the sheet of nori over so the rice is face down on a bamboo rolling mat that is wrapped in plastic. (click for guide)
- Arrange the fillings (spicy tuna and cucumber) in even lines, 1 inch from the edge along the longer side of the nori sheet. (click for guide)
- Carefully and tightly roll up the roll. (click for guide)
- Thinly slice the avocado and spread it out so it spans the entire length of the roll. Place the avocado on top of the roll. (click for guide)
- Place the plastic-wrapped rolling mat over the top of the roll and press the roll into a consistent shape. (click for guide)
- Place the roll on a cutting board and grab your sharpest knife. Optionally, cover the roll with plastic cling wrap. Run the knife under water for a second, then shake off any excess. Cut the roll into 8 equal pieces using a gentile sawing motion with the knife, running the knife under the water between every 2-3 cuts to prevent sticking. (click for guide)
- Plate the roll on your serving dish and top with the chili crisp. (click for guide)
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Send me pictures of your creations — it’ll make my day! Message @CraftyCookbook on Instagram or tag me in a post! Please note, tagged posts are only visible to me if your account is public. Did you make any interesting changes or substitutions for this recipe? Tell me about them in the comment section below!
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