1-2 tsp kelp granules or more, depending on how 'seafoody' you want it to be
6 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
4-6 nori sheets
2 Tbsp Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
Preparing with dry yuba sheets or sticks:Soak dry yuba in a lot of warm water in 2 large bowl. Make sure the water covers the yuba. Let it sit over night or at least 6 hours.
If they are not soft enough, boil a large amount of water in a large pot, simmer soaked yuba about 5 - 8 minutes. The idea is to make the yuba soft. After soaking, a few sections of the yuba are still hard. Simmering them for a few minutes will help.
Let them cool and then squeeze the water out as much as you can, then proceed to the next step below.
Preparing 'fish' mixture (with fresh or dryyuba):
Chop the yuba with a knife or put the yuba (soaked yuba) in a food processor and process about 5 seconds only. Do not process too long. The idea is to chop them to small flakes.
Squeeze the water out of the yuba (especially if using dried yuba sticks). You may use a piece of cloth or drain the yuba in a colander and squeeze the water out using your hands. Transfer the yuba to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, excepts the nori and glue. Mix really well.
'Fish Fillet' :
Layer a piece of nori on a cutting board. Brush lightly with the cornstarch and water mixture (glue mixture). Scoop about 1 1/2 cup of the 'fish' mixture on the bottom half of the nori sheet. Press it down with your fingers or a spoon. You need to press and squeeze the filling tightly so it won't fall apart after it is steamed and cooked. I found out that if you wet your hands, the mixture will less likely to stick on your fingers or you can use a saran wrap.
Then, fold the other half of the nori over and make sure there is a 1/2 inch overlap to cover the fish (see picture). Seal the fish using cornstarch and water mixture that is spread over the 1/2 inch overlap and press and squeeze the 'fish' mixture tight together as much as you can. Repeat with the rest of the mixture for each nori sheet.
To prevent sticking to your steamer, put a few of cabbage leaves or lettuce leaves on your steamer, arrange fillet on top of the leaves (see picture). I have used Chinese bamboo steamers without leaves and it works nicely (didn't stick). Steam for 20 minutes. Let the fillet throughly cool before transferring it out of the steamer. Put them in the refridgerator to cool off some more for a few hours before cooking it. They freeze well.
It is best to use the 'fish' for cooking after it is refridgerated for a few hours or frozen and then thawed.
JAPANESE VEGAN UNAGI DONBURI ('Eel' On Rice Bowl, pictured above)
Also, featured in Dimensión Vegana in Spanish Language with Video.
I used to order Unagi Donburi when I visited Japanese restaurants before I became a vegetarian. I sometimes missed the 'sea' flavor of Unagi. I was able to re-create this dish after I discovered how to make my own vegan fish. It is best to eat this dish accompanied by vegetable miso soup and vegan kimchi. Since the unagi sauce is so sweet, the saltiness of the miso soup balance it out. I also serve it with hot Genmai Cha (Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice). I am now back to eating Japanese food again.
1 recipe 'fish fillet' above
Note: For Unagi, I added 1/4 cup of reconstituted chopped wakame seaweed when making the 'fish fillet'. This will add more 'sea' flavor to the fillets. This is optional, of course.
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame seeds
Dash of roasted sesame oil
4 cups steamed Japanese rice (short grain rice, white or brown)
1/3 cup Japanese soy sauce
1/3 cup Mirin (Sweet Style Japanese Mirin)
1/3 cup vegetarian Kombu Dashi or vegetable broth
2-3 Tbsp sugar, depending how sweet you like it or use agave syrup
Prepare the sauce:
Put the sauce ingredients together in a small pan. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Set it aside. I only use a small amount of sauce for each fillet. It is a matter of preference. Some people likes lots of sauce on their donburi. If you do, you can double the recipe.
Preparing the unagi:Heat a non-stick frying pan, then add 1/2 to 1 tsp vegetable oil. Pan fry 'fish fillet' in batches,2 fillets each time. Make sure both sides are crispy. Turn down the heat to low, pour 1/3 of sauce over fillets. Let the sauce cover the fillet and immediately take it off the heat. You don't want the sauce to crystalized in the pan. The longer you cook the sauce in the pan the thicker it will be. Repeat for the rest of the fillets.
Divide rice into 4 or 6 bowls. Transfer and divide the fillets and sauce on top of the rice. Sprinkle with dash of roasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds on top.
Yield: 4-6 servings