Recipe: Vegan sushi

Posted: July 27, 2012

SINCE SUSHI, by its very name, is all about the rice, that's the bulk of this recipe. Once you have "sushi rice" ready, you can make many varieties, though we'll focus on nori rolls, the most well-known format in this country.

Optimally you should use Japanese rice, found at specialty stores, but short-grain rice works, too. Avoid long-grain varieties; they aren't sticky enough.

Here's a basic, but versatile, recipe. The vinegar mixture can be adjusted to taste.

VEGAN SUSHI

3 cups rice

6 cups water

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Several sheets of nori (seaweed paper)

Optional fillings (choose from among these):

1 avocado

4 scallions

3 tablespoons pickled ginger

1/4 cup cooked shiitake mushroom slices

1/2 daikon radish, cut into slivers

1/2 block tofu, cut into strips

3 tablespoons pickled plum, cut into tiny pieces

Before cooking the rice, rinse it several times to remove excess starch. If you forget this step, though, don't sweat it.

Combine rice and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 15 minutes.

Mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl. You can heat the mixture for a minute or two in a saucepan, or microwave it for 30 seconds to blend.

Spread the hot rice in one big layer on a cookie sheet, being careful not to squash it. Drizzle the vinegar mixture all over it, then use a spatula to fold the rice layer over onto itself to spread the flavoring. It's helpful to have a fan on the rice to assist in cooling. The rice should sit until it reaches room temperature before you begin making rolls.

Spread the cooled rice on a sheet of nori, leaving an empty space at the top. Add a line of filling a little more than halfway down. Roll the nori over onto itself and toward the rice-free edge. Just before getting to that edge, wet it with water and continue rolling to seal the roll.

Chill the rolls for an hour if possible, then cut with a sharp, nonserrated knife into fat disks. Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, ginger or your favorite sauce. This will make enough sushi for a hungry family of four.

Go to philly.com/vegansushi for a step-by-step slideshow on making nori rolls.

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