I never thought the day would come, but yesterday we made sushi without fish and it was a revelation. Instead of salmon or tuna or crab sticks, we used raw carrot, bell pepper and cucumber for crunch and freshness and omelette and avocado for creaminess. And it was everything a person could want when they crave sushi, which, if you happen to be me, is quite often.
I like my maki rolls with lots of filling and I don’t care if they come out a little wonky. I don’t use a bamboo mat, so they invariably do. And even if you do use one, chances are it still won’t look perfect. That’s alright, though. Just tell people your sushi has character.
Those attractive little brown pillow slopes are deep-fried tofu pouches, marinated in a sweet mixture of soy sauce and mirin. The more interesting option would be to buy unseasoned pouches and marinate them yourself, but I could only find pre-seasoned ones. Less interesting perhaps, but also very convenient. All you have to do is stuff them with rice (and veggies) and you’ve got yourself some inarizushi.
In addition to the usual suspects – wasabi and soy sauce – I also used some nanami togarashi: Japanese chili powder. It contains red chili, sansho pepper, black and white sesame seed, orange peel, ginger and seaweed, which, as it turns out, is the recipe for pure magic.
Ingredients (for 2):
250 g sushi rice
5 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 sheets of nori
4 seasoned inari tofu pouches
1/4 cucumber, in long thin strips (and a little extra in small cubes)
1/2 a carrot, peeled and cut into long thin strips (and a little extra in small cubes).
2 avocados, sliced
1/2 large red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into long thin strips
a 2-egg omelette, cut into long thin strips
nanami togarashi (Japanese mixed chili powder)
- Wash the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear.
- Put it in a lidded saucepan along with 350 ml cold water.
- Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to low, put the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Take off the heat and leave for another 15 minutes with the lid on.
- Mix the vinegar, salt and sugar and gently fold it in the rice.
- Carefully open the seasoned, fried tofu pouches and stuff them with 1 large tbsp sushi rice.
- Top the rice with chopped crunchy vegetables (I used carrot and cucumber).
- Sprinkle with Japanese chili powder and eat with a little bit of soy sauce.
- Divide the rest of the rice in 6 more or less equal parts.
- Keep a bowl of salty water on hand to dip your hands in and stop the rice from sticking to your fingers.
- Flatten a portion of rice on a nori sheet, add strips of your chosen vegetables and roll it tightly. For neater results, you could use a bamboo rolling mat, but I personally like to just use my hands.
- Seal the edges with a bit of water and leave the rolls to firm up for a while before cutting them.
- Eat with soy sauce and wasabi or Japanese chili powder.