Does anybody else feel that January is just whipping by? It's like the Christmas tree was up yesterday and now it's almost time to get out the heart garland and searching for vegan Valentine's Day recipes. Unbelievably it's the last week of Veganuary and our #VeganCookbookLove theme will soon come to an end. (Although if you know how much I love vegan cookbooks, you know there will be more to come this year!)
For this final week, I thought I'd share a recipe from a vegan classic - Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. As cookbook authors Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz note in the intro to Veganomicon, "it's a good old-fashioned, all-purpose cookbook." Of course the word "old-fashioned" is used loosely here - because there is little that's old-fashioned about a vegan cookbook. But you get the idea.
Because hardly a day passes without my mind turning to thoughts of sushi, I am happy to be able to share this recipe for Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls with you. Here's how it's described in Veganomicon:
"Here's our recipe for the sushi rolls that starred on the very first episode of The Post Punk Kitchen. Since then, it's also been a featured guest at many parties and potlucks, and in lunchboxes, and will become a super celebrity in your kitchen, too. Like any celeb worth her soy sauce, these nori rolls are highly photogenic and will win the love and admiration of friends and rivals, minus the trash talk on Page Six (of tabloid fame, not this book)."
Have you tried recipes from Veganomicon? If so, which is your fave? Also, how often do you think about veg sushi?
Buy Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook in the U.S. Buy Veganomicon in Canada
Recipe and photo from Veganomicon by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2010
SPICY TEMPEH NORI ROLLS
Keywords: vegan vegetarian
Ingredients (4 rolls)
- 1 cup sushi rice
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (do not use regular white vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄2 (4-ounce) package tempeh
- 2 tablespoons prepared vegan mayonnaise
- 1⁄2–1 teaspoon hot chile-sesame oil
- 4 sheets nori seaweed
- 1 scallion, white part discarded, sliced lengthwise into narrow strips
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1⁄4-inch-wide strips
- 1 tablespoon toasted or black sesame seeds if used inside the roll, or 1⁄4 cup if used as a coating for inside-out rolls
IN A heavy-bottomed, 2-quart pot or saucepan with a cover, combine the rice plus 11⁄4 cups cold water. Turn the heat to high, bring the water to a boil, and stir the rice just once. Lower the heat to low, cover the pot, and steam the rice for 20 to 22 minutes, until it is tender and the excess liquid has been absorbed. Or, prepare the rice according to the package instructions. Cook until the rice is tender but slightly firm, and remove from the heat.
Empty the hot rice into a large glass or plastic bowl. Sprinkle with the rice vinegar and sugar, folding in the rice gently with a large spoon or rice paddle to mix thoroughly. The rice should be moist and have a very mild vinegar flavor. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. When the rice is slightly warmer than room temperature (but not completely cold), it’s ready to work with.
While the rice is cooling, prepare the filling by steaming the tempeh. Allow the tempeh to cool for 10 minutes, chop into small cubes, and place in a medium-size bowl. Add the mayonnaise and chile-sesame oil and mash until chunky; taste and add more chile-sesame oil if desired.
You’ll need some extra equipment to make nori rolls. The bare essentials include: wasabi powder or prepared wasabi, shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) in small bowls for dipping, pickled sliced ginger, a bamboo sushi rolling mat, and chopsticks, of course!
Sushi rice is different from regular rice. It’s short-grain rice that is rather sticky, and comes in white and brown varieties. Use either type for this sushi.
For the most flavorful nori, hold each sheet with metal tongs and toast very carefully over a medium flame for 30 seconds on each side, or until sheet turns from green to deep brownish-green.
Fill a shallow cup with about 1⁄3 cup of water and a tablespoon of rice vinegar, and keep near your sushi work station. Follow these steps to the perfect nori roll:
Place the nori sheet on the bamboo mat. With wet hands, take a snowball-shaped handful of rice, about a cup’s worth. Gently pat onto the bottom two-thirds or so of your nori sheet. The layer of rice should be less than 1⁄3 inch thick.
Place a small amount of the fillings across the center of your rice. Lay or spread them horizontally to each side of the nori to create a straight line of filling—the less filling, the easier the sushi will be to roll.
Aim for about 11⁄2 tablespoons of Spicy Tempeh, three strips of avocado, and some scallion strips. You’ll figure it out.
Using the mat, gently roll up that sushi starting from the rice-topped end; try to keep your grip relatively tight, for a firm roll. When you’ve reached the seaweed-only end, pat gently with a little bit of vinegar water to seal the roll.
Slice your roll into 1-inch pieces with a sharp, serrated knife. That’s it! Make a hundred of ’em.
Here are a few alternative fillings that have been a hit with our veggie sushi fans everywhere. It’s so easy to prepare one or more of these when whipping up a batch of Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls, you’ve no excuses not to serve one or more of these sassy rolls.
Elephant Roll: Stuff the sushi rolls with 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts and a few slices of ripe avocado per roll.
“Yamroom” Roll: For each roll, fill with 2 tablespoons of mashed sweet potato, 1 to 2 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms simmered in 1⁄2 cup water, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and a dash of mirin. Sprinkle the filling with sesame seeds before rolling.
Spinach Sesame: Lightly steam 1⁄2 pound of well-washed, fresh spinach, squeeze to remove any excess water, and chop finely. Toss with 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, and a dash of rice vinegar. Fill and roll as directed for the Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls.
MAYBE you’ve been rolling your own for a while, or you just need to look like a master sushi chef right now! Then inside-out rolled nori rolls will get you the attention you so deserve, and with way less stress than you might expect.
Simply prepare your nori roll as directed, spreading the seasoned rice onto about two-thirds of the toasted nori sheet. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top, gently slid your hand underneath the bamboo mat and rest your other hand on top of the plastic wrap. Then in one quick motion . . . flip everything upside down. Remove the bamboo mat from under-neath and place on your countertop. Place the nori and rice—plastic wrap side down—on the mat. Place fillings as usual on the edge without the rice underneath it. Then, carefully roll everything up, using the bamboo mat to firmly push everything together and being careful to peel away the plastic wrap as you go.
For best results, roll your spiffy inside-out rolls in fun things like toasted sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, toasted nori flakes or Japanese ground up red pepper. Terry recommends you just pour whatever it is you’re rolling your sushi in into a shallow large dish and just drop your inside-out rolls into it as you work.
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