Easy homemade Lion King roll sushi made with salmon, masago, and nori seaweed. This twist on the classic California roll is tangy and creamy, and a great place to start for sushi beginners.
If the name doesn’t say it all, the Lion King roll is a sushi roll of epic proportions. It starts with perfectly cooked sushi rice and nori seaweed, then gets rolled up with imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber. Once rolled, it’s then topped with baked salmon and covered in a unique Lion King sauce.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a professional Sushi Chef, you might be surprised to learn just how easy this recipe is to put together.
Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of making perfect sushi rice, and roll it up into this memorable Lion King roll.
What is a Lion King Roll?
Every sushi restaurant has its own unique take on its sushi rolls, but thankfully this roll has more or less remained the same regardless of where you find it. What really makes the Lion King roll stand out is the unique Lion King sauce that packs a ton of flavor into an otherwise mild roll.
The Lion King roll is essentially a California roll, made with imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber. However, the signature orange roe that covers the roll is instead incorporated into the sauce.
When you combine the orange roe (masago) with mayonnaise and Sriracha, you get a sweet and spicy sauce that greatly enhances your roll, making for a ridiculously satisfying sushi dinner. All that’s missing is the sake!
How to Cook Sushi Rice
Really, the hardest part about making sushi comes down to the rice. Sushi Chefs take years to truly perfect the rice-making process. Thankfully for us, we can make perfectly good sushi with just a few simple tips.
- Choose the correct rice: Japanese short-grain rice is used for sushi. It is often labeled ‘sushi rice’ at the grocery store.
- Rinse the rice: This removes extra starch, which could make our rice cook unevenly and turn out mushy. Rinse until the water runs clear.
- Cook the vinegar solution before adding it to the rice: This will guarantee the sugar dissolves and is properly incorporated into the rice.
Traditionally, sushi is served alongside wasabi and pickled ginger. Pickled ginger acts as a palate cleanser, which allows you to freshen your palate before moving on to the next type of sushi. Wasabi adds a pleasant spicy kick that is enjoyed (or detested) by many.
Leftover sushi can be stored in an airtight container and should be consumed within 1-2 days. If you plan on having leftovers, it is best to keep the components separate, as this will maintain the freshness of each ingredient for longer.
More Sushi Roll Options
Now, a word of advice, if you’re already making this Lion King roll, you might as well go all out and try your hand at making other types of sushi. Here’s a list of the other types of sushi you can make using the same ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Avocado Roll: Nori, sushi rice, avocado
- Cucumber Roll: Nori, sushi rice, cucumber
- California Roll: Nori, sushi rice, imitation crab, avocado, cucumber, rolled in masago (sushi rice needs to be on the outside)
- Spicy Salmon Roll: Nori, sushi rice, cucumber, fresh salmon mixed with mayonnaise and Sriracha. See our spicy salmon roll recipe to discover how to make it.
- Baked Salmon Roll: Nori, sushi rice, cucumber, baked salmon mixed with mayonnaise
- If using a traditional bamboo roller to roll your sushi, wrap it in plastic wrap before using it, as this will make it easier to clean.
- For a traditional mayo sauce, use Kewpie mayonnaise which is slightly sweeter than other types of mayonnaise.
- Save time by making the sushi rice the night before, as it will need to be cool before use.
Lion King Roll
Sushi Rice (Yields 2 ½ Cups Cooked Rice)
- 1 cup Japanese short grain sushi rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 sheets nori seaweed
- 1 – 8 oz. surimi (imitation crab)
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber thinly sliced
- 2 oz. masago (orange fish roe)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Sriracha plus more to taste
- 8 oz. fresh salmon thinly sliced at an angle
- 2 green onion optional, for garnish
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear
- Add rice to a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place the lid on the pan and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has fully absorbed the water.
- In a separate pan, combine rice vinegar, salt, sugar, and oil and simmer until the sugar has fully dissolved
- Once the rice is fully cooked, add the rice vinegar mixture to the rice and stir to combine. Store sushi rice in an airtight container until it has cooled, at least 2 hours.
Lion King Roll
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine your Lion King sauce ingredients. Taste, add more Sriracha if necessary, then set aside.
- Fill a small bowl with water, this will be used to moisten the edge of your nori to help it stick together.
- Place your first nori sheet on a cutting board and add enough sushi rice to fully cover the nori sheet. This should require ½-¾ cups of rice per roll.
- Next, place 2 pieces of imitation crab lengthwise about an inch from the edge of your nori sheet. Follow this with 2 slices of cucumber and 2-3 slices of avocado.
- To roll your sushi, carefully lift the edge of the nori with the filling and lift it up, with your index fingers holding the filling in place. Then, lift and tuck the roll while continuing to roll the nori until you have reached the end of your nori sheet. This may require some practice, so be patient.
- If necessary, dab the edge of your nori to help secure it into a tight roll. Then, place your sliced salmon along the top of your roll.
- Cover your roll with a generous amount of your Lion King sauce and bake your roll for 5-7 minutes. Top with optional green onion, serve and enjoy!