Sunday, August 20, 2006
Sushi Party: Vegan Temaki and Inari Sushi
More sushi? That's right, I am sushi crazy at this moment. This time I made 2 different ones: Inari and Temaki sushi. Inari sushi is made of seasoned aburage or tofu pouches (the brown pockets) filled with sushi rice. The Temaki Sushi (the cone shape one) is a hand-rolled sushi which is great for a sushi party. I'll tell you why later! Both kinds were filled with brown rice and quinoa mixture from my previous post: Vegan Quinoa and Brown Rice Sushi and Cavi-Art.
It is easy to order Inari sushi in any Japanese sushi bar or restaurant. Most of the time, the chef can prepare you some. It is considered vegetarian by them but I know that usually fish broth is used to cook and season the tofu pouches. It is only a miniscule amount but it is not pure vegetarian. You have to ask! The Japanese market also sells the seasoned tofu pouches (ready made for Inari). But again, guess what is used to season them? Yes, bonito flakes or broth! So, please read the ingredients if you are concerned of buying a pure vegetarian product. I seasoned my own aburage (recipe below). Un-seasoned aburage or tofu pouches can be bought in any Japanese or Asian market. It turns out that I need to buy frozen ones since the refrigerated ones may have been on the shelves too long. They can become moldy as I found out. Yuck! The Korean market near me sells it in frozen section.
The Temaki sushi or hand-rolled sushi is great for a sushi party. This kind of sushi is only good to eat when it is freshly made (unlike the ones rolled in a bamboo mat). If Temaki sits for a while, the nori becomes tough and chewey. Therefore, instead of rolling them ahead for your guests, put your guests to work! The ones who don't want to do it can enjoy your pre-made Inari and bamboo rolled sushi pieces you prepare ahead. But most of the time, everyone wants to participate. You can pile all the fillings on a tray (as pictured below), prepare a bowl of sushi rice, and put them in the middle of the table. Each guest should be supplied with a damp hand towel to wipe their sticky hands from rolling and a small bowl of water to glue the nori together. Then, the host or hostess (ME!) can demonstrate how it is rolled and how to make the cone shape with the sushi rice and the filling in the middle.
Anyone can be taught to roll a Temaki; after all, I was able to teach DH (dearest husband) who doesn't cook but likes to eat. He did pretty well, too! It is fun if you are with good company who likes sushi and enjoys something different. It should be a fun thing to do for a small group gathering where you want to have some conversation to catch up with old or new friends.
The Temaki filling from the top left, clockwise, are: seasoned shiitake mushrooms (recipe below), seasoned aburage (recipe below), sliced Japanese cucumbers, shredded carrots, seasoned and smoked baked tofu (recipe below), organic avocado, and nori sheets (cut in half).
Below are small recipes to prepare for Temaki and Inari sushi:
Seasoned Shiitake Mushrooms
6 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup mushroom soaking water or vegetarian broth or kombu dashi
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoon aji-mirin
If using dried mushrooms, cover mushrooms in warm water until softened for 20-30 minutes. Discard stems from mushrooms and sliced them thin (1/4 inch thick). Place the rest of ingredients in a sauce pan, bring it to a boil, then, simmer mushrooms in this mixture for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Seasoned Aburage (tofu pouches)
8 pieces thin deep-fried tofu pouches/aburage (store bought! don't try making it yourself)
1 cup mushroom soaking water or vegetarian broth or kombu dashi
2 tablespoons organic sugar
2 teaspoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
Boil about 3 or 4 cups of water. Remove from heat after boiling. Put thin tofu pouches in hot boiling water to remove the excess oil. Soak and dip for 2 minutes. Drain the pouches in a colander. Squeeze the water out after they are cool a bit.
In a saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients and let it boil, stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer the tofu pouches in this mixture for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool. Let the pouches soak in this mixture until ready to use. Squeeze the broth mixture out and cut each pouch lengthwise to make two open pockets. Seasoned aburage is ready to be used in Inari sushi.
1/2 recipe of brown rice and quinoa sushi filling (recipe in previous post)
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup frozen green peas
16 pieces of seasoned aburage pockets (from above)
1 teaspoon dulse flakes, optional
Blanch carrots and green peas in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water to retain the color, and let them cool. Mix carrots and green peas with the sushi filling. Add dulse flakes, if desired, and mix well. Fill the aburage pockets with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sushi rice.
Smoked Baked Tofu
1 to 1 1/2 lb. extra-firm tofu
3/4 to 1 cup water
1/4 cup dark Superior brand mushroom soy sauce
Note: regular soy sauce will do but this dark mushroom soy sauce is my preference. It makes the baked tofu dark chocolate brown but the inside is light cream color. Pretty and delicious!
2 tablespoon maple syrup or organic molasses
1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
Slice tofu about 1/3-inch thick lengthwise. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a plastic container with tight lid in which you can soak all of the tofu slices in this marinade sauce. Marinate the tofu slices for 24 hours in refrigerator. Bake drained marinated tofu slices on an oiled cookie sheets for 10- 12 minutes in 400 F oven. Flip and bake the other side about another 10-12 minutes. Let them cool before use.
As you can see, it is not that hard to prepare. Now, if you want to learn how to roll a Temaki sushi, please let me know and I'll invite you to our sushi party. We can have conversations while rolling so we'll know each other better and become lifelong friends!