Homemade vegan sushi! Yum. I kind of struggled with the idea of vegan sushi for a while because honestly, for me, raw tuna and salmon are the stars. But I’ve found a few flavour combos that create a yum and more texturally-fulfilling plant-based version without making you miss the meat! In fact I was packing the leftover rolls into a small little bento box yesterday when dad (pretty much a carnivore) came along and we had the following conversation: “I had some of those! They were good!” “But they’re vegan!” “Isn’t that meat?” *points* “No, it’s deep-fried silken tofu!” But he loved it anyway. Cue surprise. 😉 Anyway, let’s get making.
Approximate cost to buy everything: $10 for base ingredients, $5-10 more depending on what you use for your fillings
Will make: 18 mini sushi rolls
Time taken: 1.5 hours from setup to table, much of which is cooking and cooling rice
The protein, iron and calcium I’m not getting from meat? Again rather dependent on the filling, but guess what – seaweed is very high in calcium (:
1 pack yakinori (dried seaweed) sheets
1 cup rice – you’ll get best results with white sushi rice but I used brown rice because I’m being healthier rn. It doesn’t stick as well or have as fluffy a texture but it does have a nice nuttiness (: you could use black rice or quinoa too.
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
Whatever you like, but I used the following:
1 small sweet potato, chopped into fingers
1 small beetroot, chopped into fingers
100g silken tofu, chopped into fingers
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper
Half an avocado, sliced into strips
Amazu shoga (pickled ginger)
Few tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (recipe in previous post!)
As much wasabi as you like
Soy sauce, to serve
Clean your rice by rinsing it with water in a bowl while constantly stirring, moving and punching it, then draining the water out and repeating. Stop once the water runs out clear. Once your rice is cooked this will create nice and fluffy individual grains rather than a big slab of starchy messiness. The process may take a while! Pull up a video of a strong, handsome Japanese man punching the shit out of his rice for some inspo.
Cook your rice by boiling it, steaming it in a steamer or cooking it in a proper rice cooker. I don’t really recommend microwaving, has never tasted as good to me. Drain rice very, very well, and make sure not to overcook it – you want it soft, but still with a tiny bit of chewiness. Not mush.
To your cooked and drained fluffy rice, add 2 tbsp each of mirin and rice wine vinegar. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar in too. I also added some beetroot juice to some of my rice to make it pink. Once done, pop it in the fridge to cool.
Now it’s time to prep your filling! Decide what you want inside your sushi – the possibilities are pretty endless. I went for 2 different kinds – roasted beetroot and sweet potato with pickled ginger, and crispy fried silken tofu with avocado and wasabi mayo. Then I made a third type with a mixture of all those ingredients. If you want to do the same, just chop your beetroot and sweet potato into fingers and bake for 30 mins/cut silken tofu into fingers, very carefully roll in flour, dunk in soy milk, roll in panko breadcrumbs, then deep-fry for 30 seconds or until insanely crispy and bright golden. Filling ingredients done!
Once you’ve cooked (or not, if you’re going raw) your fillings, remove your cooled rice from the fridge. Take a nori sheet and spread rice out about 0.5cm-1cm thick all over, leaving 1cm bare at one end of the sheet because we’ll make this part of the seaweed sticky and use it to seal the roll like a stamp. At the opposite end to the bare part, lay your filling ingredients down in a line. Then, take that end and just roll it up tightly. When you get to the bare bit, brush it lightly with a little water, then finish enclosing. A sushi mat may help you get a tighter roll. If this explanation doesn’t make sense tell me – I’ll upload a visual tute.
I like to let my long sushi roll rest for 5 mins or so after this as the seaweed gets a little wet and binds to the rice which makes it way easier to cut. When you are ready to cut, use a very sharp knife and extremely gently saw back and forth (don’t just try to chop it, you’ll probably squash it lol) until you’ve got a nice clean cut. Repeat to create individual-sized rolls.
Pack and eat, or store in the fridge for 3 days or so 🙂