Traditional Japanese sushi spots mostly cater to the fish-eating types, and living in Orange County, I have limited access to good vegan sushi. Shojin is the best, most amazing and tastiest vegan sushi in the entire universe, but sometimes I can't afford to drive all the way to L.A. and then eat to my hearts content at a place like Shojin, so I decided to make my own.
My boyfriend got me a sushi-rolling kit from our local Asian grocer, and I am always making new sauces and eating nori like it's nobody's business, so why not!?
I made a mandarin orange, ginger and soy ponzu style sauce and marinated the bamboo tofu (dried tofu skins, also known as yuba) in this sauce overnight, to get the tofu really saturated with the mandarin orange and ginger flavors. Of course, I love mushrooms, so I sauteed some shitake mushrooms as well, and rolled up the bamboo tofu, sauteed shitakes, fresh green onions, and avocado into a nice little roll with some treated sushi rice I made, then sliced it into sushi bites. I am not great at the roll, but with practice I got better, so do not be too discouraged if you can't get that trick down right away. Ended up topping the a few batches with a sriracha veggie mayo sauce drizzle, and we couldn't get enough. Enjoy!
serving: 1 roll (to be cut into 2-3 pieces)
1 sheet of nori
1 scoop of sushi rice, spread evenly over the entire nori sushi wrap
2-3 pieces of the marinated bamboo tofu
3-4 green onion stalks (no white parts, just the green parts, like scallions or chives)
1 tablespoon of sauteed shitakes
1-2 slices of avocado
optional: a drizzle of sriracha mayo on top, after cut, or inside the roll before cut
Makisu or bamboo sushi rolling mat
1 pack of nori - seaweed (can also use soy paper wraps)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I like soy bean oil or safflower)
1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos
1 teaspoon garlic-infused vegetable oil (I like Trader Joe's)
4 green onions (green parts only)
Okay, a lot of the prep can be done day before, but does not take a ton of time if you want to do it all same day.
To marinate the tofu, first you have to re-hydrate the tofu. It is dehydrated, so, you will need to submerge the bamboo tofu sticks in warm water (not hot) for 10-15 minutes, until it is soft (a bit like the consistency of cooked bamboo, hence the name), but does not come apart. Set aside. Drain the can of mandarin oranges, and muddle them until they become a kind of orange mush or relish looking thing. Heat a frying pan or wok, with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and add in mandarin orange relish. Cook on low, and add in ginger, sesame oil, chili flakes and 1/4 cup Braggs.
Let that simmer into a nice condensed sauce, reducing down a bit, and then add the re-hydrated bamboo tofu. Simmer about 5-8 minutes more, then transfer to a glass dish of some kind, and let sit overnight or at least an hour or two.
Rinse rice in colander or strainer until water runs clear. Either in rice cooker or in medium pot on stove, combine rice and water and cook! If on stove, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Rice should be tender and water should be absorbed. Let cool until cool enough to handle. In a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, oil, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool, then stir into the cooked rice. When you pour this in to the rice it will seem very wet. Keep stirring and the rice will dry as it cools.
To sautee the shitakes, heat a frying pan with the garlic-infused oil and add sliced mushrooms and Braggs, let simmer and sautee until soft and brown, and remove from heat, set aside.
Slice up green onion stalks and avocado and set aside.
To assemble, carefully wrap the Makisu in plastic cling wrap. Lay the sheet of nori on the Makisu and scoop about 1/2 cup of sushi rice and cover one side of the sheet of nori with it. To do so, first set the rice on the end of the nori sheet closest to you. Then, working with your fingertips and/or knuckles, gently spread the rice over the surface of the nori. Then, add the marinayed bamboo tofu (with very little juices or relish) in one layer, then green onion stalks, then mushrooms on top of that, then avocado.
To roll the sushi, carefully lift the edge of the mat closest to you, begin rolling the mat away from you, pressing as you roll it lightly. At this point, the end of the roll has been rolled upward, and your very light pressure is ensuring that they roll will remain nice and tight. Lift up the end of the rolling mat and pull it away from you, allowing the roll to roll the rest of the mat. Then carefully remove the roll from the mat and place it on a cutting board. Lay the mat over the top of the roll and exert gentle pressure once more to make sure it’s all secure. Slice your roll using a very sharp knife, first running the knife through a damp dishtowel with the blade facing away from you. Slice the roll exactly in half. Then set the two halves side-by-side to slice into individual pieces. This ensures that each piece will be a uniform size.
Drizzle with sriracha mayo (simple whisk of sriracha and vegenaise) if you'd like, and enjoy!