Jul 27

Avocado Crab Roll with Soy Sauce “Caviar”

in Appetizers, Avocados, Californian, Fruits & Vegetables, Fuji Favorites, Japanese, Seafood

Avocado Crab Roll with Soy Sauce Caviar

Earlier this month I told you about the kick-off event for California Avocado Week that I attended at Downtown Disney.  Now that I’m back from my trip to Tokyo, I finally get to share the amazing dish that Executive Chef Nick Weber (Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar) taught everyone to make.  My friend Martin of i love blue sea enabled this post by sending me some of my all-time favorite Dungeness crab.  It’s been a while since we’ve made a stop on the Sustainable Seafood Tour, but here we are!

Sustainable Seafood Tour

Dungeness crab is rated as a Best Choice by the Monteray Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.  A Best Choice rating means that the item is abundant, well-managed and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Dungeness crab is a best choice because it is caught in traps, which enables fisherman to release undersized crabs and other bycatch mostly unharmed.  Only mature male crabs of a certain size are allowed to be kept (ensuring that males reach sexual maturity and are able to mate for 1 to 2 years before being caught, and leaving the females to be free to maintain the reproduction system).  I’m a huge fan of Dungeness crab, especially the crab sold by i love blue sea, because of its sweet buttery flavor.

This avocado crab roll is impressive looking, but actually very easy to put together.  If you want to impress anyone, this is a perfect choice for an appetizer to prepare.  No one has to know how easy it really is to make!

Soy Sauce and Agar Agar for making soy sauce caviar

You start out by making the soy sauce “caviar” (Chef Weber calls it soy pearls, but I think caviar is a more apt description), by mixing soy sauce with agar agar (a gelatin substitute produced from a variety of marine red algae, known as “kanten” in Japanese), heating the mixture, cooling it, then drizzling it into a container of chilled vegetable oil where it solidifies into little balls.

Drizzling soy sauce mixture into chilled oilSoy sauce caviar forming in chilled oil

The balls are then strained out of the oil and gently rinsed.  The finished product looks like caviar and has the same briny pop when you bite down on them in your mouth.  The only difference is that they taste like soy sauce (oh, and much cheaper than purchasing caviar)!

Draining the soy sauce caviar

To assemble the rolls, the crab is mixed with some lemon flavored olive oil and chopped chives.

Making the Dungeness crab filling

Then you slice a ripe avocado in half (I prefer California avocados because they’re local and fabulous!), pit it, then slice it horizontally into thin slices.  Next you fan the slices into a long line on a small piece of parchment paper, and use the sides of the parchment paper to pull the avocado into a curve, creating a channel to put the crab into.

Assembling the Avocado Crab Roll

Then you put half of the crab mixture into the avocado, use the parchment paper to roll it tighter and plate it!  I sprinkled mine with some amazing coarse sea salt I’ve been reserving for special purposes that my talented friend Linda (Salty Seattle) makes from sea water she harvests.

Garnish the Avocado Crab Roll with coarse sea salt

Then the roll got a drizzle of more lemon oil, a generous spoonful of soy caviar, and some fresh cilantro to garnish.

Divine Avocado Crab Roll with Soy Sauce Caviar

The only change I made to Chef Weber’s recipe was to halve the amount of soy caviar made, because even half of the recipe makes more than enough for this recipe, which makes 2 rolls (one out of each half of the avocado)!  Other than that, this recipe is divine.  Although it requires a bit of prep, because you need to chill the oil in advance to make the caviar, actual prep time is minimal, and every second is worth it!

California Avocado Crab Roll with Soy Sauce Caviar

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Avocado Crab Roll with Soy Sauce “Caviar”

Recipe from Executive Chef Nick Weber, Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar

Makes 4 servings (as an appetizer)

For the Soy Sauce “Caviar”:
1 1/2 quarts vegetable oil
8 ounces soy sauce
1 teaspoon agar agar

For the Avocado Crab Roll:
4 ounces fresh Dungeness crab meat
1 large ripe avocado
1 tablespoon lemon oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
Cilantro, to garnish
Coarse sea salt, to garnish
Soy sauce “caviar,” to garnish (recipe below)

Make the “Caviar”:
1. Pour the vegetable oil in a tall container and place in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours (or overnight) so it is below 40 degrees.

2. Whisk the agar agar into the soy sauce in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and let the soy sauce mixture cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then pour into a squeeze bottle.

3. Remove the oil from the refrigerator and drizzle the soy mixture into the oil. When the soy hits the oil it will bead into “caviar” and the agar agar will solidify. Let the soy caviar sit in the oil for 10 minutes, and then gently strain it out.

4. Gently rinse the soy caviar in ice cold water, then set aside in the refrigerator.

Make the Avocado Crab Roll:
1. Toss the crab meat with the lemon oil and chives.

2. Slice the avocado in half, pit, and thinly slice horizontally. Place half of the avocado slices on a small piece of parchment paper (approximately 4 x 4 inches), fanning the pieces into a long strip. Pull the sides of the parchment paper up, causing the avocado slices to bend, creating a channel down the middle. Place half of the crab mixture in the channel. use the parchment paper to gently pull the avocado around the crab into a tighter cylinder. Repeat with the other half of avocado and crab.

3. Place the two avocado rolls on a plate, avocado side up, and drizzle with a bit of lemon oil. Season with the sea salt and garnish with a spoon of soy sauce caviar on each roll. Place sprigs of cilantro on the plate. Serve.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula - bell'alimento July 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I don’t think I can finish what I’m working on today because now I have to stop and go to the store to get these ingredients… SWOON


martin July 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I agree with Paula – nothing else will do for dinner tonight. Great pics!


Jerry (cbsop.com) July 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Oh, I HAVE to try the soy-sauce “caviar”. Absolutely brilliant.


Jessica July 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I could probably make this so it tastes good but it would never LOOK that good. Beautiful!


Naomi Marie July 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

This looks so heavenly and the soy sauce ‘caviar’ is just genius!


Sarah July 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

This looks so delicious and fresh! I never thought that I could do something involving molecular gastronomy at home, but you make it seem so approachable! Thank you so much!


Junia @ Mis Pensamientos July 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm

this is AMAZING. love the soy caviar and the beautiful avocado display. wowowoow.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Rachael this is beautiful…it looks like a work of art!

When I saw it on your instagram pics (pretty sure you posted this there) I was like…wow!


Lauren @ Healthy Delicious July 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

oh my heavens, this looks FABULOUS. I want to make soy caviar tonight! My mouth is watering thinking about the flavors.


Hiragana Mama July 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Soy sauce caviar?? What an awesome new idea. That looks really delicious, and I’m jealous you got to go to Tokyo!


Fuji Nana July 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm

This looks so incredibly gourmet, but you make it look easy enough that even I might try making it. Beautiful!


Nisrine July 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Soo cool. The soy sauce caviar is very original. Love the whole dish. It looks awesome.


Roxana GreenGirl July 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm

oh my goodness, I have to try the “caviar” sounds like fun to make and I love soy sauce.
beautiful avocado presentation


Alan Cooke July 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Wow…what a beautiful and delicious dish. Love the faux caviar, so fun and impressive. I bet the soy sauce compliments the richness of crab & avacado perfectly. Thanks for sharing! :)


Maureen July 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I cannot get over how fantastic this dish looks! Fit for royalty for sure!


alice July 27, 2011 at 10:34 pm

um, can i get this when i see you next??? soy sauce caviar, GENIUS!


Melody July 28, 2011 at 5:22 am

I can already feel my mouth watering…This sounds divine! Thanks for sharing and your pictures are gourgeous.


Trix July 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Beautiful plating! Your caviar are much more symmetrical than mine ever turn out … no easy trick, I think. By the way – I recently tasted this stuff called “Cavi-Art” that’s made from seaweed – you should look into it, I bet you’d love it! Also: I would like to eat this now.


jenjenk July 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

wow!! that is amazing!!! I’ve got to try this!! [stand by your phone, please!]


Georgia Pellegrini July 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm

This recipe KILLs me! I just adore crab and avocado combo. I had it for lunch today in fact! Can’t wait to try this.


LiztheChef July 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Such an incredibly clever idea – beautiful.


Katrina July 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm

This is beautiful!


julie July 29, 2011 at 3:54 am

WOW! Can not wait to make this! One question, on my way to the beach and would love to make the soy caviar prior to going, how well does this hold?


Candace July 29, 2011 at 8:32 am

Amazingly beautiful! I’m pinning this to try someday.


Nicole O July 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm

but… what do you do with all the leftover oil? :(


scrapper al July 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Looks delish! This is going on my pin board. How far in advance can you make the “caviar?” Does it store well (8 oz of soy sauce is a lot!”? And do you have to serve it cold?


Joy August 1, 2011 at 9:01 am

That is so freakin cool.


louise August 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm

wow, impressive! color on that avocado is incredibly enticing. hope you had a great trip. i’m looking forward to seeing you this weekend.



Elizabeth of AsianinAmericamag August 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm

This Avocado Crab roll is definitely one I’d like to try making ! I’m drooling just thinking of it now. Thanks for sharing this post. Must try this soon!


Kocinera August 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

This looks so cool! I love the soy sauce “caviar.” Plus the crab, and the avocado, and the lemon olive oil all sound so refreshing and so delicious.


Julia @DimpleArts August 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Absolutely awesome roll!


Tobias @ T and Tea Cake September 1, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Wowowow! The soy sauce caviar is the part of this dish that blew my mind! I even have agar agar on hand so I HAVE to see how it turns out. I think it is a good start for reinventing certain dishes. :)



Fuji Mama (Rachael) September 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm

@Tobias @ T and Tea Cake, Dying to hear how your soy sauce caviar turns out!


Lori Lynn September 2, 2011 at 5:04 am

Saw this dish on Tastespotting. Terrific presentation. I’ve been seeing this soy caviar around the blogs, glad you gave a step-by-step, looking forward to trying it.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) September 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm

@Lori Lynn, Thanks Lori. It’s so easy to make, and so good!!


Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily September 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

I seriously love you right now! Good Lord, this looks so frieking amazing. Soy sauce caviar?! I’m just giddy right now. Can. Not. Wait to make this!
Thanks for including info on sustainable fishing…. and for asking your source to send my some Dungenness crab as well. ;)


Debs @ DKC October 19, 2011 at 8:37 am

This is fantastic, especially the caviar! I’ve featured it in this weeks inspiring recipes post, here pop over sometime and take a look.


Binh Pham January 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Wow the Soya sauce caviar is just GENIUS !


Bryan January 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm

If you used Sodium Alginate and a calcium bath you wouldn’t have to wait for the caviar to set up. But I LOVE the dish!


Gleeful March 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

This looks very fancy and delicious. I love the idea of soy sauce “caviar” and will have to try it!


Jeanette July 31, 2013 at 6:23 am

I love how beautiful the presentation is! I’ve been thinking of trying to make spheres of different liquids using a similar technique. Sounds like it makes for a fun eating experience.


Sheilagh February 4, 2019 at 1:25 pm

I don’t know what happened but my caviar was a failure. Any suggestions


Rachael | La Fuji Mama February 4, 2019 at 5:49 pm

It was most likely a temperature issue. I have had spherification fail for me because my oil didn’t chill for long enough. That’s my best guess!


sally October 16, 2019 at 7:38 am

I can’t wait to try this! How long can the caviar/pearls last in the fridge?


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