The Las Vegas roll – a Benihana icon. If you’re curious about this new(ish) unique food, read ahead to have all your queries answered! Today, we’re going to be looking at some basics of the Vegas roll – like what its made from – and we’ll also be answering some frequently answered questions.
Skip to the end if you’re interested in learning how to make Las Vegas rolls! … And sushi rice. And just maybe a little tempura batter too!
Table of Contents
- Las Vegas Roll – The Basics
- Las Vegas Roll Nutrition
- Las Vegas Roll FAQs
- Vegas Roll Recipe
- Las Vegas Roll – A Summary
Las Vegas Roll – The Basics
What Is The Las Vegas Roll?
Benihana, a Japanese-American restaurant, showcases their Las Vegas rolls in this video.
Of ambiguous origin except perhaps from Benihana themselves, the Las Vegas roll is a Japanese-American fusion sushi roll. It’s named after Sin City because the appearance of the sliced rolls is reminiscent of a poker chip.
Vegas rolls consist of a few fresh ingredients in the filling, which are surrounded by sushi rice and wrapped in regular nori (dried pressed seaweed). The nori part of the roll is coated with the same batter used for tempura, then deep fried.
What Is In Las Vegas Roll?
Las Vegas rolls consist of cucumber, cream cheese, avocado, lightly fried tempura-battered jalapeños, and salmon (cooked or raw), wrapped in sticky rice and nori. The whole roll is coated in tempura batter and deep-fried after rolling.
There are some variations across recipes, but they’ll usually follow this base.
For example, my recipe below follows everything else but doesn’t explicitly call for cucumbers.
Luckily, like a burrito, stovetop quesadilla or a subway, you can easily change up the ingredients and throw some in before rolling!
If you want to change up your Vegas roll, try adding some different seafood! It can be a great way to use up leftovers or frozen food that doesn’t last forever, like shrimp. (If you’re worried about the side effects of shrimp or whether you can eat shrimp tails, know that the latter is a matter of personal taste and the former is unlikely to affect you with just a few rolls of sushi.)
Las Vegas Roll Nutrition
|Total Carbs||Total Fat||Protein||Calories|
|1 Serving Vegas Roll||66g||32g||19g||650kcal|
Las Vegas Roll Calories
Because of the nature of sushi – everyone changes it to fit their taste – it can be hard to gauge the calories in your typical Vegas roll.
However, Las Vegas rolls do tend to have more calories than other kinds of sushi as they’re deep fried, covered in batter, and usually include cream cheese. If you want a solid number, ask your restaurant how many calories is a Vegas roll in their establishment, or ask for the nutritional information guide. Most fast food places will have a sheet you can look at.
If you’re only slightly curious, or you’re making Vegas rolls at home, I found the average to be around 650kcal per roll.
Las Vegas Roll FAQs
As long as it is left to fry for long enough, or the salmon is cooked before rolling, Vegas rolls are cooked. At restaurants they may be fully cooked post-rolling via deep-frying, but it’s a good idea to double check if you can’t eat raw fish.
Las Vegas rolls are covered in the same – or similar – batter used for tempura, and are then deep fried until crispy, warm, and sometimes, cooked.
Las Vegas rolls calories count is generally around 650kcal, but calories may vary according to recipe.
The Las Vegas roll is often confused for other deep fried rolls, most often the deep-fried variety of California rolls.
You may have heard that eating raw fish when pregnant is a bad idea, which is why so many wonder if can you eat Las Vegas rolls when pregnant. The good news is that, as long as you follow certain conditions, you can! Fried sushi rolls must be completely heated to a temperature of 145°F, and the fish used must be low mercury. If making this roll at home for a pregnant person, cook the salmon before rolling and invest in a cooking thermometer to be sure your food is safe.
Vegas Roll Recipe
Serves: approximately 2 whole sushi rolls (4-6 people)
|Roughly 2hr 30mins|
Las Vegas Roll Ingredients:
|– 1 medium-large whole jalapeño pepper|
|– 1/4 avocado, cut lengthways like a stick of butter|
|– 2 ounces fresh, good quality FARMED salmon, if to be eaten raw. Look for ‘sushi-grade’ or ‘sashimi-grade’ label. ‘For raw consumption’ is also suitable.|
|– 1 large tub of cold cream cheese|
|– 160 grams uncooked Japanese short or medium grain rice|
|– Sushi vinegar (seasoned rice vinegar)|
|– 2 nori sheets|
|– Cooking oil or a frying mix, enough to reach halfway up a sushi roll|
Tempura Batter Ingredients:
|– 1 egg yolk|
|– 3/8 of a cup or 6 tspb of all purpose flour|
|– 2 tbsp cornstarch|
|– 1/4 teaspoon curry powder|
|– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder|
|– 1/2 a cup of ice cold water|
How to Make Las Vegas Sushi
1) Making the Sushi Rice
Before anything else, you’re going to want to make the sushi rice first. This is because you need to allot some time for the rice to be washed, soaked, cooked, AND cooled – yeah, sushi rice is a lotta work! If you’re making this recipe to use up leftover sushi rice, give yourself a pat on the back for halving the cooking time by ⅔!
- To start, take your 160 grams of Japanese short-grain and dump it into a bowl (if it’s not already in one). You want to choose a large bowl, and avoid using a rice washer. Make a mental note of how high the bowl was filled with rice, or measure it in cups before washing.
- Once you’re ready, place your bowl in the sink and fill it up almost the whole way with cold water, all the while (gently) scrubbing your rice. You don’t want to break or smush the grains, so be careful while moving it about the water. When the water is cloudy, carefully pour it out while blocking the rice with your other hand. Repeat 3-4 times, or until the water runs as clear as possible.
- Once you’ve finished washing the rice, take a sieve large enough to hold it all. Dump in the rice and strain all the water out – your best bet is to leave it straining over a bowl for 8-10 minutes to get all the excess out.
Cooking And Post-Cooking
- When you’re rice is done straining, add it to a saucepan! Make sure it’s not too crammed as rice expands with moisture. The best pan will have a thick, heavy bottom and a transparent lid with no steam spouts. Add the same amount of water to the pan as you had rice – so for 160 grams, that’s roughly ⅜ of a cup of water. Then, level the rice and leave it to soak for 20-30 minutes.
- After the half hour is up, close the lid of your pan and place it on medium heat. Stuff any spouts or holes with tinfoil and wait for it to begin boiling. Once you get to this point, keep an eye on your rice. If you see the lid steaming up and dripping with condensation, its likely started to boil. When you notice its boiling, turn the heat to low and wait for twelve minutes.
- After the twelve minutes has passed, the water should have evaporated. If you can’t quite tell, double-check VERY quickly by peeking under the lid to see if the water has evaporated. Once you’re sure the water has been absorbed, take it off the flame but do not remove the lid. Then, simply let your pan sit (lid ON) for 10 minutes.
Seasoning Your Sushi Rice
- If you have a sushi oke/hangiri, prepare it for use. If not, take a large baking pan or tray and spread your rice across it with a rice paddle or spatula. Don’t scrape any burnt bits of rice into the tray/hangiri while transferring, as this will impact the taste of your sushi. Once your rice is spread, evenly pour the sushi vinegar over it before folding it in with the paddle. Repeat this motion until you’re sure the rice is evenly distributed/coated. Be careful not to smash or press the rice too much while moving.
- Once you’re finished, spread the rice out evenly to cool and drape a damp kitchen towel over the pan. This will keep your rice from dehydrating. The rice will be ready to roll in 20-30 minutes! Phew!
2) Create the Tempura Batter
- Fortunately, tempura batter is a bit easier to make than sushi rice. Begin by beating your egg yolk in a bowl large enough for mixing. It doesn’t have to be fluffy, but it should be well-whisked.
- After this, add in the 3/8 cup of flour to the bowl, as well as the 2 tbsp corn starch, 1/4 tsp curry powder, and 1/2 tsp balking powder. Mix it well with the yolk.
- After combining them thoroughly, add 1/2 a cup of water to the mix. Make sure that the water is ice cold, otherwise your tempura batter won’t turn out. Add it in gradually while mixing to avoid the same fate. Once you’ve got all that down, your tempura is ready!
3) How To Make A Las Vegas Roll – Prep
- Now that you’ve finished all of the prep, get ready… For some more prep. But I swear that’s the last of it! All you need to do now is cut your salmon lengthwise along with the avocado. Do the same with a good quality, thick cream cheese like Philadelphia – cut it (in the tub) into sticks, then scoop them out. Slice your jalapeño into quarters or eighths, and that’s it!
- Next, heat your cooking oil, making sure it’s deep enough for the finished rolls. Submerge the jalapeño quarters into the batter – don’t be afraid to even fill it a little. Once your oil is at the right point (you can test this by sticking a wooden spoon in it), carefully lower your battered peppers into it.
- Fry the jalapeños until the batter is solid and crispy, taking care not to burn them. Once they’re done, set them aside on a plate with a napkin or two beneath them and let them cool a bit.
Rolling Your Vegas Rolls
- Finally, time for rolling! You can begin this before your peppers are cold, as long as the rice has cooled enough. Take a nori sheet and remove 1/4 of it – you can do this with a pair of scissors, or simply by creasing and tearing.
- Place your nori on a bamboo rolling mat, making sure that the textured side is facing up towards you. Then, gently spread your rice onto the nori with a rice paddle or spatula. Make sure it evenly coats the surface while avoiding the lengthways edges. Your rice should be cool, if it is still steaming slightly or feels overly warm/hot to the touch, you should wait longer.
- Next, arrange your fillings. Place the cream cheese first (your other fillings won’t get in the way), being careful when scooping the sticks out of the tub. Try to place them where you’d like on the first try, but if that doesn’t work you can gently smoosh them in the right direction. Then place the salmon slices, making sure they last the complete length of your roll. Repeat with the fried jalapeños and sliced avocados.
- Lift the edge of your bamboo mat that’s closest to the fillings to roll the sushi. Make sure to tuck and press the roll well whilst rolling, delicately applying pressure to the points where the nori meets. If necessary, roll your bamboo mat around the finished roll and gently press to force out excess air and create a tighter roll. Repeat this entire process to make a second roll.
Frying Your Vegas Rolls
- Once your rolls are, well, rolled, pour around half of the remaining tempura batter onto them. Make sure to coat every side, but don’t worry if it’s thin/uneven.
- Heat your oil again (it should be quicker this time around) and carefully slide or place the first roll in when it’s hot enough. The oil should come up to about halfway up the roll – this way, you can pour some more batter on.
- If needed, add more batter to your rolls. Start by spooning batter over the part of the sushi that’s sticking out, and spread it well. Give it a second or two to settle before carefully flipping your roll on its side to let the new batter cook. Repeat this for each side and take your roll out when the batter is crispy and solid all over, or until the salmon is cooked to your liking. Then, repeat this step again with the second roll.
- Cut n’ plate your rolls AFTER they cool down a little. You can serve them with sriracha, mayo, unagi, or soy sauce. And… You’re done! ‘How to make a Las Vegas roll’ has officially been COVERED. Serve with a wine that pairs well with sushi to upgrade your homemade sushi experience just that liiittle bit more!
Las Vegas Roll – A Summary
The Vegas roll is one of the many Japanese-American fusion rolls that exist. They’re well known (and liked!) for being deep-fried and covered in tempura batter. During pregnancy, they’re one of the safer sushi choices you can make – so long as the salmon is fully cooked before rolling. They usually have cucumber, cream cheese, fried jalapeño, avocado, and salmon, but you can switch it up with different fillings.
Good luck on your next sushi-motivated adventure!