Easy Sushi | Vegan Sushi | Veggie Magnifique

Easy Sushi

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The Internet is a goldmine for demystifying all sorts of stuff. Fishtail plaits. StrobingEating watermelons… (Intrigued? It’s apparently all about tunnelling and the points of the compass.)

But sometimes the level of detail out there can make certain simple things look like over-complicated and exclusive art forms.

Case in point: sushi.

A quick Internet search on how to make sushi makes me feel like saying:

calm it

And I’ve never ever said “damn bro”.

I challenge you to remain motivated to serve sushi at your next dinner party after reading this article’s equipment list.

I know I’m not alone in my conviction that cooking should be fun and easy. And there ain’t nothing fun or easy (or eco-friendly, come to think of it) about having to go out and buy a million gadgets and crazy ingredients that you’ll only use that one time you decide to make sushi. 

Legit sushi chefs might well need all these accessories to make aesthetically perfect sushi. But us? Life is complicated enough already. Let’s agree to use our hands, and a bit of ingenuity.

But, wait, isn’t sushi all about raw fish?! 

It can be, but it doesn’t have to be.

There’s no need to poison yourself with mercury to enjoy sushi. Vegan maki is a thing. (Even the most modest of Japanese restaurants will gladly whip up some avocado and cucumber rolls for you. What’s more, they’ll be fresher, since they’re usually made to order. You’re welcome.)

Sushi is super delicious sans the fish. There’s the sweetness and squidginess of the rice, the saltiness of the nori, and the crunchiness of the raw veggies.

Now, back to the other complication: the need to procure a bamboo mat for rolling, or, failing that, to get all fiddly with a tea towel and clingfilm.

Stop press: we’ve been bamboo-zled by the mat thing. Unless you’re presenting your sushi at an ambassadors’ reception in Tokyo, or making California rolls (the ones with the rice on the outside), there’s no need to use a mat at all.

Sushi is not the finickity culinary performance it’s hyped up to be. It is in fact a quick weeknight meal option, or an easy finger food for picnics whose impressive look and reputation belies its simplicity.

I made mine with white pudding rice, but the recipe would also work with brown. Just choose a short-grain rice, and cook it for longer than usual so it’s all squidgy. I used raspberry vinegar from this lovely shop to flavour the rice, in the full knowledge that if one were making proper sushi, one would use rice wine (mirin) and sugar. But since I’m feeling a bit rebellious about this whole sushi-making malarky (and since I’m off sugar), I threw caution to the wind, and didn’t get any sticky rice in my hair. Score.

The How

rice how to

The first step is to coat your nori sheet, laid flat, with a thin layer of gooey rice, leaving about an inch uncovered at the top. You then lay thin slices of veggies (any veggie you like), on the bottom third of the rice. I love avocado for creaminess, cucumber for crunch, and carrots for sweetness. Just be careful not to use too many veggies or your maki will be tricky to roll (and too big to eat delicately!).

You can also sprinkle some sesame seeds on there before rolling, because when are sesame seeds not a good idea?

Then, carefully pick up the bottom part, with the veggies, and roll away. Re-compact the roll a few times, like so:

rollingOops, made a hole in the nori. No biggie.

almost done

Use your finger to spread a little bit of warm water on the roll to secure the end of the nori to the roll. Then cut the roll in half with a very sharp knife (I used a ceramic knife), or carefully with a serrated knife.

Finished rolls

Then cut each half into three:

cut sushi

Et voilà!

(Made these this morning at breakfast time. Might have eaten them a little bit at breakfast time. Don’t tell.)

In my delight at having figured out how to do sushi, I got creative and tried using bulgur instead of rice (ooh, controversial). It was easy and delicious, so don’t hesitate to experiment with other starchy grains:

bulgur sushi how tobulgur sushi from above

Easy-Makey Maki

Make sure you cook your rice in advance, so it has time to cool and get extra squidgy

Prep time

15mins

Cook time

0mins

Total time

15mins

Ingredients
  • 3 sheets of nori seaweed
  • 2 cups cooked rice, brown or white
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or agave, if desired
  • Veggies of your choice, cut into thin slivers: avocado, cucumber, peppers, sweetcorn, carrots, etc
  • A sprinkle of grilled sesame seeds
Instructions
  • Lay a nori sheet down on a flat surface, shiny and smooth side down.
  • Add the vinegar, and sugar (if using) to your cooked rice. Taste, and add more of either if needed.
  • Spread about three tablespoons of rice evenly onto the nori, leaving about an inch at the top of the nori sheet.
  • Then lay your veggies on the bottom third of the rice, being sure not to overload. Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds if you like.
  • Now for the rolling – pick up the bottom part of the nori, where the veggies are. Start rolling, but go slowly, and re-compact your roll regularly. Keep going until you have a neat roll, and seal with a touch of warm water. Cut the roll in half with a sharp knife, and then cut each half into three. Repeat process until you have enough maki to satisfy your sushi craving.
  • Serve with tamari/nama shoyu as a dipping sauce.
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I hope this post has encouraged you to makey maki rolls. If so, we want to know how you got on in the comments below!

Now that my tummy is rumbling at the sight of them, I might have to go and whip up another batch…

Love and chopsticks,

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28 June, 2016 | facebook | tweet | pin

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