I’ve had this sushi tutorial on my old domain from college for years. I’ve been thinking for a long time that since I have a proper food blog (which is now over two years old!), that I ought to migrate that content over here.
I’m going to teach you how to make sushi. It might sound intimidating, but it’s actually pretty easy once you practice a few times. The best part is that it is so much cheaper to make it at home, and you can often find the ingredients in bulk at very reasonable prices at your local Asian market.
There are some really handy tools I recommend for making sushi at home, which will make your life much easier. You might find them at your local grocery store or big box store since making sushi at home has become trendy in recent years, or you might find a better deal online. Here is what you will need, along with some handy Amazon links to purchase them (and I am very grateful for any purchases you make there, since it helps to keep the virtual lights on for this blog).
4-6 sheets nori (assuming we are making maki rolls with the rice on the inside)
Marinaded tofu strips, tempeh, or other faux meats, if you're into that kind of thing
Preparing and Cooking the Rice
Rinse the sushi rice until the rinse water runs clear, not cloudy. This is starch you are washing off. You can put the rice into a strainer under a faucet, but I find it's handy to put the strainer with the rice directly into a bowl of water, and then swish it around with my hands. You'll have to change the water a couple times, but you can see when it's "clean" a lot easier.
Bring cooking water to a boil in a pot. Add rice. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low/simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the water is all absorbed. Alternatively, you can be lazy like me and use a rice cooker.
Preparing the Fillings
While the rice is cooking, cut your fillings into long even strips. For cucumbers and carrots, use a julienne peeler to make the perfect squared edge strips that you see in a Japanese restaurant. They turn out so professional looking and it's much faster than chopping by hand. If you are including avocado, cut into thin wedges.
Seasoning the Rice
When the rice is done cooking, fluff it a bit in the pot, so that it won't dump out into your bowl into one big clump. Sushi rice is sticky, and it will want to hold together.
Transfer the rice to a non-metallic bowl. Metal will interact negatively with the vinegar that the rice is seasoned with. Add the vinegar and stir with your rice paddle or large non-metallic spoon.
Rolling the Sushi (Reference the blog post for some illustrations on what the rolling process looks like)
For maki rolls, you need half a sheet of nori. Cut it in half so that the fold runs parallel with the perforated lines on the sheet. You can also just fold it and tear it gently along the fold.
Lay the half sheet of nori on your sushi mat, again with the perforated lines running parallel to the bamboo strips on the mat.
Cover the sheet with a thin even layer of the rice. It's VERY sticky. Leave about a 1/2 - 3/4 inch uncovered on the edge that is farthest away from you. Keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip your hands into if you don't want the rice to stick to them.
Place some of the veggies on top the rice. Don't overfill. When you roll it together, the edges of the rice should touch together. It helps to run a wet finger along the un-riced edge so it will stick and seal the roll closed.
Make sure the edge of the seaweed (closest to you) is lined up with the edge of the mat. Hold the veggies with your fingertips and use your thumbs to start curling the mat up. Guide the veggies firmly toward the center of the roll as you bring the edge of the mat up and over to start forming the roll.
As you start rolling the mat up and over the veggies, the tube will start to form.
When the mat hits the edge as you are rolling, then just peel it back, fold it under a bit, and start rolling again so that the edge of the mat will come over the roll. Once the maki is rolled all the way, put your fingers over the roll and give it a good squeeze and tug to make sure it's nice and firm, and round out the shape.
If you have veggie pieces sticking out from the ends, just give them a trim with a good SHARP knife to make the ends flat.
Cutting the Sushi
Use a VERY SHARP knife and slice it into about 6 pieces. A sharp knife is very important to making sure the roll has straight even edges and won't rip when cutting. It helps to dip the knife into some water before cutting the roll. Make sure there is no rice on the edge of the blade from cutting previous rolls.
Ura Maki Variation (Rice on the Outside)
To make url maki, cover the entire half sheet of nori with rice and flip it over.
Place the veggies on the seaweed. Since there is no rice taking up room, you can use more to fill the center.
Roll in the same manner as the regular maki, ensuring that the edges of the rice overlap slightly so that the roll will stick closed.
Garnish with some sesame seeds, if desired.
Hand Roll Variation (Low Carb)
You can also use your half sheet of nori to make a hand roll (a sushi cone that you can hold in your hand). Cover it with a tender lettuce leaf, skip the rice, add your fillings on a 45 degree angle from one of the corners, and then roll it on a diagonal, wrapping the extra around and using a little water to seal the edges shut.
Cook as much rice as you want using a ratio of 1:1.25 (rice:water).
Each cup of uncooked rice will make 4-6 sushi rolls.
For every cup of uncooked rice that you started with, use 2TB vinegar to season.
"Sushi Vinegar" is rice vinegar with the addition of salt and sugar.
Some sushi vinegars are malted, which means they may not be gluten free. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure you read the labels carefully to find a product that meets your dietary standards.
If you cannot find a sushi vinegar that is unsalted, you can make your own sushi vinegar using this formula - ½ cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt (it will be enough for 3 cups uncooked rice). You could try using a natural liquid sweetener here in place of the sugar. Just make sure to check substitution ratios, as some are more or less sweet than sugar.
By Adrienne Engell
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/
I am on the road this week visiting family members without access to my light box and DSLR camera, so please pardon the smartphone photos of my recipes this week. My grandfather passed away and I have been busy trying to ensure that my family is eating healthy meals that follow the heart healthy protocol of a low fat whole foods plant based diet.
This stir fry lettuce wraps recipe was quick and easy to prepare and worked out to only 1 TB of coconut oil per serving. I’ve been trying to ween myself and everyone else off of oils in general, the exception being flax oil, as it is the only plant based oil that is higher in omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acids.
I still use coconut oil in moderation as a food. While the omega-6 fatty acids in coconut oil are much lower than in other oils, it is good to keep in mind that coconut oil contains ZERO omega-3 fatty acids, so that technically makes it an inflammatory food, rather than an anti-inflammatory one. I use plenty of it on my skin, though! One good thing about coconut oil is that it doesn’t break down into carcinogenic compounds when cooked because it is an oil with a high smoke point.
This quick and easy stir fry recipe worked out to only 1TB of coconut oil per serving and it fed 4 adults. Stir fry recipes are an easy way to use up vegetables and they are quick to prepare. Traditionally, the heat exposure is only a few minutes to leave some texture intact for the vegetables.
This recipe had great reviews from my parents and my husband. It is great for omnivores, as it offers a rich blend of flavors that will not leave them missing the meat.
Stir Fry Lettuce Wraps - Vegan
A quick and healthy vegan stir fry recipe with a rich blend of flavors including coconut, ginger, cinnamon, and anise.
I was introduced to pancit only a few months ago. One of my friends posted a photo of a lovely meal her mother in law had prepared, and I immediately had to know more about this fascinating dish I had never heard of. I learned it was a Filipino noodle dish and I was inspired to create a raw vegan version that I could enjoy at home.
There are many different pancit recipes, and this particular one was modeled after pancit bihon. In place of the rice noodles, I used zucchini noodles. In place of chicken, I used chopped mushrooms marinaded in vegetable juice to produce a meaty texture with a rich flavor that a vegetable stock would have provided in a cooked recipe. Other than that, for my vegetable mix, I used sliced Napa cabbage (you could also use bok choy, pending availability), carrots, onions, and peppers, which often show up in different versions of the traditional version. Instead of soy sauce (which often contains GMO soy and gluten) or tamari (which is fermented with mold), I used coconut aminos, which are raw, taste less salty, and have a rich fermented flavor. They’re a little different if you’re used to the taste of soy sauce, but still delicious.
Raw Vegan Pancit Recipe
A light and healthy raw vegan pancit recipe, inspired by the traditional Filipino pancit bihon dish.
Chop the vegetables. Make sure there are enough chopped carrots and sweet peppers to put through the juicer for the broth juice.
Put the "Vegetable Ingredients" into a large bowl and set aside.
Juice the Vegetable Broth Juice vegetables and add the pinch of salt and pepper.
Put the chopped mushrooms and the vegetable broth juice into a bowl together and let them marinade for at least an hour (overnight is better).
Add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and whisk.
Pour the sauce over the Vegetable Ingredients and mix until everything is well coated. Let it marinade until your mushrooms are done (about 45 minutes, but again, I prefer the overnight marinade).
After the marinading is complete, strain the mushrooms out and mix into the vegetables. You are ready to eat it!
Regarding sesame oil, I have also made this with EVOO and avocado oils and both work well, though the olive oil has a much strong flavor and the avocado oil is neutral tasting for the most part.
You can substitute red, orange, or yellow bell peppers for the sweet peppers if you like.
You can substitute bok choy for the Napa cabbage.
I prefer to marinade the mushrooms and the vegetables overnight for the best flavor. If you are in a hurry, an hour will do. If you want a rich flavor and soft texture, go with the overnight soak.
For this recipe, I have tested both diluted and non-diluted vegetable juices to soak the mushrooms. I prefer the juice to be un-diluted in this case, but you can use any strength that you like the flavor of.
You can drink the vegetable juice after you extract the mushrooms or reuse it for another marinade, depending on what kind of juicer you have. If you have a masticating juicer, it should be "fresh" for about 72 hours.
If you are mold sensitive, soak your mushrooms for 15-20 minutes in a dilute mixture of water and vinegar before chopping them to kill off the mold spores.
By Adrienne Engell
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/
Asian-inspired recipe #2 is a raw vegan Pad Thai! I really love spicy ethnic food, especially Thai and Indian cuisines, but historically, my options have been limited because of my severe gluten intolerance (I have celiac’s disease). I started making some dishes at home with gluten free and vegan alternatives, and then as my diet became more raw, I started experimenting with additional modifications. This recipe is obviously a little different from a a traditional cooked recipe, but rest assured that it is more nutritious and cruelty free. Look at all those vibrant colors from the fresh vegetables! 🙂
I’ll let you in on a little secret – one of the reasons that I love re-creating noodle dishes so much is because I get to play with my spiral cutter (some people call them “spiralizers”). I’ve always enjoyed playing with my food, and this little kitchen gadget lets me make extra pretty vegetable noodles. I have used it to make noodles from zucchini and other squashes, leftover broccoli stems, beets, sweet potato, jicama, apples, and a lot of other things. I have also used it to shred my cabbage for sauerkraut! It’s a really handy tool to have for raw food recipes, or even just making low carb boodle alternatives. This is a similar model to the one that I have: Spiralizer Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer.
Raw Vegan Pad Thai
This is a light and nutritious raw vegan version of Pad Thai. The recipe is loaded with colorful fresh vegetables and sprouts.
This Asian lettuce wraps recipe is one that I have made before, but not officially documented measurements for or taken good pictures of until now. When there is a good meal sitting in my kitchen, it’s a little like torture waiting until the photographs are taken before I can eat it. Oh, the life of a food blogger… =P
I’ve really been wanting some Asian foods lately, so over the next week, I’ll be posting not just this one, but THREE total Asian-inspired raw vegan recipes, and all of them filling enough to be a main course! Making dishes with some ingredient and flavor overlaps is also a great way to use up leftovers and be efficient with your prep time. I only had to shred my carrots and scallions once and I can still toss extras into a salad for lunch!
I’ve also been trying to come up with some more recipes for this blog that will make the omnivores and cooked food lovers in your life happy, mostly because I enjoy feeding my husband and it makes me happy when I can sneak an enzyme and vitamin-rich raw vegan meal in front of it him and he says it tastes great. 😉
This one has had good reviews both times that I’ve attempted to feed it to my husband, and one of my friends made it as a dish to share with her coworkers, so I feel confident that you will love it too. It you are new to raw foods, it’s not too difficult to make, and you will find the flavors and textures to be familiar, so it would be a great transition meal. It is also very filling, and will not leave you hungry if your body is still adjusting to a plant-based diet.
Raw Vegan Sesame Ginger Asian Lettuce Wraps
These Asian inspired raw vegan lettuce wraps contain a textural variety of nutritious vegetables, walnuts for good fats, and of course, leafy greens!
2 tsp powdered garlic (PROBIOTIC UPGRADE: use 2 cloves of ACV fermented garlic instead)
1 TB raw apple cider vinegar (I used the garlic infused ACV from my ferment)
2.5 cups chopped fresh mushrooms of your choice (I used button mushrooms and baby bellas, but have also used rehydrated shiitake and oyster mushrooms, and it is still great)
2.5 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
1/2 cup chopped celery (you won't even miss water chestnuts with the crunch that celery provides)
1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper
12 large romaine or iceberg lettuce leaves leaves
Combine sauce ingredients in a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix). This will ensure the dates are thoroughly incorporated and the sauce is smooth.
Chop vegetables as listed in ingredients section.
Pour sauce over vegetables and mix thoroughly until well-combined.
Marinade for 15 minutes (longer is ok too, but this is a minimum to help soften the ingredients and allow the sauce to soak in).
Spoon the filling/sauce mixture on the romaine or iceberg lettuce.
Pick them up and eat them. 🙂
This is a very rich and filling recipe. My husband and I only used half of the filling mixture and we had 3 each as our dinner. We were both very satisfied. This recipe will feed 4 people as a meal, or you could turn it into an appetizer for a large crowd.
If you are sensitive to mold spores (I am), but still want to enjoy some mushrooms, you can soak them in a dilute mixture of water and white vinegar for 20-30 minutes and then rinse before you chop them up for the filling.
By Adrienne Engell
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/