Hoisin Eggplant Sushi Rolls

We love Sushi, but we only occasionally make it. The other day, it was so hot that we just felt like we needed something for dinner that wasn’t piping hot out of the pan or oven…so we figured sushi would be a great idea! This particular roll was inspired by a sushi restaurant that my wife and I used to go to all the time when we lived in Northeast Philadelphia. What made it so unique (and still stands out to us all these years later) was that the roll was topped with a slice of Chinese Eggplant!

The eggplant does a few things for the roll, including but not limited to adding some body, a unique flavour profile and texture, and even creating a bit of a temperature dichotomy with each bite! We selected cucumber and crab legs as our ingredients to put inside the roll, but you can make this style sushi with whatever your favourite ingredients are!

Note: we aren’t yet skilled enough to do the “rice on the outside” rolls, but if you are, we suggest that to give your sushi an extra colour contrast to add to its visual appeal since we “eat with our eyes” before we ever taste our food.

Time: 45 Minutes


  • Rice. You’ll need a little less than 1/4 cup dried rice per roll.
  • Water (3-4x your rice volume)
  • Asian Eggplant
  • Imitation Crab Sticks
  • Cucumber
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Optional: Soy Sauce, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi


  • Make your rice ahead of time. We like to bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil, and then add a cup of rice and just allow to simmer until the water is gone. Then, set the rice aside to cool.
  • Slice the top and bottom off each of your eggplants. Then, slice each in half lengthwise.
  • Heat some oil in a large pan, and when it’s hot, add your eggplant sliced side down. Allow to cook for 8-10 minutes to soften, and flip.
  • Add a little hoisin to your pan on top of your eggplants, and allow to cook to continue to soften, flipping occasionally for even cooking.
  • As your eggplant cooks, prep your rolls!
    • Arrange a sheet of seaweed wrap on your sushi rolling mat.
    • Squish and spread your rice on your seaweed.
    • Arrange your sushi roll filling ingredients (we used the crab sticks and cucumber).
    • Wet your fingers, and use them to moisten the uncovered parts of your seaweed.
    • Tightly roll your sushi, and set on a larger cutting board.
    • Do this until all of your sushi is rolled.
    • Prep your soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi on your plate(s)
  • When your eggplant is ready, place a cooked eggplant half on each of your rolls.
  • Carefully slice each roll into 6-8 pieces with a very sharp knife, and arrange the pieces on your plate.
  • Combine some more hoisin with some sriracha in a plastic sandwich bag, and mash together by hand. Then, cut a little hole in a corner of the bag, and squeeze your sauce over your sliced rolls.
  • Devour, and enjoy!

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