Thursday, July 3, 2014

Vegan Sushi. 2 Ways. No Mat.

A couple years ago, I taught a cooking class and these sushi rolls were on the menu.  Particularly the ones of the left.  I called them Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls.  They were a huge hit.  I made them so often at the time, though, that we got sick of them.  And today is first time in almost two years I made them again.  Even better than I remember.

Here is my vegan version of a Spicy Tuna Roll and a traditional Vegetarian Roll.  No bamboo mat required!!

4 Nori sheets, cut in half
1 cup sushi rice, cooked as directed on package
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 package tempeh
2-4 TB Vegenaise, depending on how creamy you like it
2-4 TB Sriracha, spice to taste
1 cucumber, sliced thin
1 medium sized carrot, sliced thin
1 avocado, sliced thin
plastic wrap & a sharp knife

Side note on Tempeh:  "Tem-pay" is made by fermenting soy beans into a rectangular patty.  It is actually less processed than tofu and contains more protein and fiber as well.  It has a firm and chewy consistency and works well when using it to replace ground meats.  Steaming the tempeh helps break down the raw bitter taste and makes it easier to work with.

Break the tempeh in half with your hands and then again in quarters.  Place them in a steamer basket and steam for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and smash well with a fork.  Add the vegenaise and sriracha to taste.  Set aside.
Cook sushi rice according to directions on package.  When done, transfer to a glass bowl and add rice vinegar, sugar and salt.  Stir together and set aside. 
When the rice has cooled, you are ready to assemble your sushi rolls! 

For Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls
Lay out a medium sized square of plastic wrap on your cutting board.  Place a half sheet of nori on top.  With wet hands, grab a handful of sushi rice and press down on the nori, covering the majority of the sheet.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and flip over so the rice part is now on top of the plastic wrap.  Now, spoon your prepared tempeh over the middle of the sheet, lengthwise, and spread across.  Add a few slices of cucumber.  Now, with the plastic wrap, roll the nori over the filling and press down.  Pull out any plastic wrap that is caught underneath and make sure all filling is inside.  Roll one more time and form with your hands.  Remove plastic wrap.  Cut down the center with your sharp knife and then two more times on each half.  It works well when you run the knife under hot water for a few seconds.

For the Vegetable Roll
Follow the first few steps from above and instead of flipping the sheet to make an inside out roll (where rice is on top), continue layering with carrots, cucumbers and avocado.  Roll with the help of the plastic wrap and press/form gently to make a cylinder.  Remove plastic wrap and cut into 6 equal rolls.


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