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Saturday, February 26, 2011

This is How We Roll [Sushi!]

I usually stick to simple recipes, but I was feeling a little adventurous lately. Danny and I used to enjoy going out for sushi when we could eat fish. Now the "vegetarian sushi" we order with a skimpy cucumber and carrot stick per roll just doesn't cut it. We decided to create or own Japanese dining experience, complete with wooden takeout chopsticks. The first recipe listed in Veganomicon is for "Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls," which is a vegan take on the "spicy tuna roll." We chose this recipe as well as the "Yamroom" version, which is stuffed with mashed Korean sweet potato and shitake mushrooms. I prepped the spicy tempeh mixture and steamed the sweet potatoes and
mushrooms ahead of time, then brought the ingredients to Danny's house for the assembly. There we cautiously followed the instructions for making perfect sticky sushi rice, which was actually super easy (but you MUST use white rice that is labeled "sushi rice" on the package if you want it to stick nicely!) While the rice was cooking, we sliced carrots, cucumber, and avocado into long, thin sticks. After the rice cooled, we laid out our bamboo mat with a sheet of nori seaweed on top, spread on some rice, and piled on the fillings. Now it was time to roll: with a few flicks of the wrist Danny had created a perfect photo-worthy maki roll. Feeling competitive, I attempted an inside-out roll (the kind you usually see in Japanese restaurants, with the white rice on the outside). I rolled in the wrong direction the first time, so I couldn't get the roll to stick. The inside-out roll was definitely more time consuming, and our tummies were rumbling, so we stuck to the tried-and-true rolling method. In the end, we successfully created 9 maki sushi rolls, enough for dinner and leftovers. The "Spicy Tempeh Roll" was filled with the spicy tempeh mixture, carrot, cucumber, avocado, and sprouts. The "Yamroom Roll" was filled with mashed sweet potato, shitake mushrooms, and carrots. We included sesame seeds inside and outside the rolls for flavor and garnish, and we served them with pickled ginger, wasabi, and tamari soy sauce. We included small side dishes, like miso soup, cucumber and wakame seaweed salad, and a carrot salad. Overall, the process took awhile, but it was really fun and the sushi turned out so flavorful! What are you waiting for? Get rolling!!

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