Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Semi-Vege Experiments - Vegetarian Sushi

So, my vegetarian ways are beginning to become known. *cue dramatic music* I went to another stellar vegetarian sushi party, and this time the host asked me to bring the tofu because I wrote about dry-frying it. Not only was I flattered out of my mind, but it turned out better than my last batch, too. I made a huge batch and some to make vegetarian marinara for dinner.

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Sunday, I did a very good-girl-vegetarian thing. I love Greek food, especially gyros, but when we went to a cafe for dinner, I got the dolmas, falafel, and spanokopita plate with salad. Though I snuck a piece of my mother's gyros meat out of undying affection, I was quite happy with the dinner. I have had better falafel, but it was okay.

Still, after all the delicious food I've been trying, I figured it was time to pass on the recipe for vegetarian sushi. It does take some specialized supplies, but it's worth the effort.

You'll need a sushi mat, nori (toasted seaweed), short-grain rice, and various fillings (cucumber, carrot, pan-fried tofu, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, and more are good). Eggs, cooked as for an omelet and sliced thin, works too. 

Start by making the rice. It looks complicated, but isn't as picky as the recipe makes it out. Rinse the rice more than wash it, and your goal is to make the water clear. You can also just put the rice in a shallow bowl, pour the vinegar over it, and mix gently instead of the rather traditional way, with wood bowl, rice scoop, and fan, listed on the website.

While waiting for the rice, fry the tofu, peel the carrots and cucumber, and then slice everything into fairly thin matchsticks. Once you have rice and toppings, the fun begins. See the video for a better explanation than I could possibly describe with my amateur status.

The variants from the video that I've done are as follows - use a full sheet of nori, but only cover it halfway with rice. Pile up your toppings, but not too much or it will be hard to eat! Seal the end of the roll by putting some rice vinegar on the end so it gets sticky and will attach to the rest of the roll. If your ends aren't perfect, cut them off and eat them. Chef's privileges! Repeat until you run out of rice, nori, or toppings.

Once you're done, slide into eighths or so, and eat the little bits on the ends which always come out wonky. Dip in soy sauce, add some wasabi if that's your style, and enjoy. The leftovers keep for a little while, so make enough to have seconds.  My sushi group finds that probably two rolls a person is a decent amount, but more is better than less.

There you have it! The sushi that started it all. Have a favorite sushi filling? Let me know in the comments. 

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