Monday, August 07, 2006

Vegan Quinoa and Brown Rice Sushi and Cavi-Art

As you can tell, I am still in Japanese cuisine mood! I made vegan quinoa and brown rice sushi this time. I have been making sushi since the days before I became a vegetarian (10 years ago) . After becoming a vegetarian, veggie sushi was one of the first dish I tried to make. However, last week, it was the first time I used quinoa and brown rice mixture (following WW Core) in sushi. The result was amazing!

The idea came from a recipe of a Sushi Salad (Bara-Sushi) with Quinoa and Brown Rice from Bryanna's newsletter. I was thinking that I can roll this mixture and make rolled sushi. I added some vegan 'fish eggs' in the sushi. Yes, there is such a thing! I can't believe it myself when I first heard about it from a friend that I had to order some. They are basically fake caviar made of sea vegetables. Check this out: Cavi-Art . It was invented by a mistake according to the story. BTW, only the Black and Yellow lumpfish are vegan. I used the yellow lumpfish in the rolled sushi and the black ones on top. Professional chefs use this fake caviar in their dishes, vegetarian or not. Probably, it is due the high price of real caviar.

The pale green glob is wasabi. I used natural wasabi powder I bought from health food market. Most wasabi out there contains green food coloring. The natural wasabi is pale but there is no additives in it. The Japanese market sells wasabi in a paste form in a tube like toothpaste too but I prefer the powder form without food coloring.

The pinkish rose is Japanese pickled ginger that I bought from an Asian market. The idea of making a rose out of pickled ginger came from my favorite sushi cookbook: Vegetarian Sushi by Brigid Treloar. This cookbook contains artful designs of vegetarian sushi and garnishes with lots of picture. I just love it! The recipes are mostly vegan except some that use omelet. What helped me the most was the technique to make sushi rice (brown or white). The rice has to be hot while the seasonings (rice vinegar, sugar, mirin, and salt) are poured into it. Then, you have to fold the rice with over and under motions while your other hand (or your loved one's hand) is fanning the rice with a fan. I usually use my left hand to fan and my right hand to stir and fold. It is quite a challenging! Just like when you try to draw a cirlce with the right hand and a square with the left hand at the same time. After a while, the sushi rice becomes cool, shiny and sticky. The technique really works!

Vegan Quinoa and Brown Rice Sushi
Makes 32 sushi pieces
Printable Recipe

Sushi Rice:

2/3 cup short-grain brown rice cooked in 1 1/4 water
1/2 cup quinoa cooked in 1 cup water
3 - 4 Tbsp. Organic Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Aji-Mirin (or other kind of mirin)
3/4 Tbsp. vegan sugar
1/2 tsp salt


Shredded carots from 1 carrot
Thinly sliced peeled and seeded cucumber from 1 cucumber
Sliced avocado from 1 avocado
Yellow lumpfish and
Black lumpfish Cavi-Art

4 Nori sheets
a small bowl of water to wet your finger
Natural Wasabi Powder
Soy sauce

  1. Mix natural wasabi powder ( 1:1 ratio) with water to create a thick paste. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes (if you use it right away after mixing, it could be bitter).
  2. Cook brown rice for 45 minutes. 30 minutes after the brown rice has been cooked, cook Quinoa in simmering water for 15 minutes, remove it from heat and then let it sit for 10 minutes. This way the brown rice and quinoa will be ready almost at the same time.
  3. Combine brown rice and quinoa in a shallow glass bowl. Add all the seasonings for sushi rice (rice vinegar, mirin, salt, and sugar) and fold the quinoa and brown rice with over and under motions with a rice paddle while fanning the rice at the same time to cool it off. After about 5 minutes, the mixture should be cooler, shiny, and sticky. Taste the rice. Add more rice vinegar or salt if necessary.
  4. Use a sushi bamboo mat layered with a piece of saran wrap on top it, place the nori sheet on top of it (shiny side down).
  5. Divide quinoa and brown rice mixture into 4 equal parts. Layer 1 part of rice on the lower half of the nori and pat it down with your hand (using saran wrap helps for the rice mixture not to stick onto your hand). Cover only about 1/2 of the nori (lower half) with rice mixture.
  6. Pile filling lengthwise on the middle of the rice mixture.
  7. Lift the bamboo mat and fold all together to form a log on the lower half where the rice mixture covered the nori. Squeeze tight the bamboo mat evenly. Wet your finger with water and dab about 1 inch of the edge of the nori on the upper half.
  8. Release the bamboo mat and plastic wrap from the sushi log. Roll the sushi log to the upper half of the nori. Use the bamboo mat if necessary to tighten the roll. The upper half of the nori should stick to the log.
  9. With a sharp knife, cut the log into half. Then cut each half equally into 4 pieces.
  10. Repeat for the previous step to make 3 more rolls.
  11. Serve with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger.
I even taught my co-worker to make this during lunch time at work. My co-worker bought frozen already cooked brown rice from Trader Joe's and I cooked the quinoa at home. Then, we reheated both grains in a microwave. By golly, it worked! I really like the shortcut to buy the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe's! She thought that the fanning of the rice mixture was so much fun. She also said that someone really needs to show her how to do the technique because she would not able to follow just from a recipe. That made me thinking that I can start a cooking class and quit my job (just kidding).


Dori said...

Sushi - ART is right. This is beautiful, but I've already told you that. The pickled ginger rose takes it straight over the top. :)

KleoPatra said...

Thank you for this! And also thank you for making your blog available for comments from your fans. I tried to post months ago and was unable. I am very excited to tell you how much i enjoy your blog and that i miss your posts when you take breaks...

julie hasson said...

Just gorgeous SIV!! I am going to make your sushi this week (finally!). I love the idea of mixing the grains for it. Was it trickier to roll this way, as compared to using white sushi rice?


spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks Kleopatra!

Julie, it is not tricky at all. Especially, if the brown rice and quinoa are hot when the seasonings are pour into it. I was worried that it won't stick together but they do. I am planning to make inari sushi with this brown rice and quinoa combo. Yeah, I like it too!

Thanks for telling me about the Cavi-Art! They are awesome!

spiceislandvegan said...

BTW, my co-worker made this sushi TWICE last weekend after I taught her how to do it at work. Her family was so thankful to be able to eat them at home. They are expensive in Japanese restaurants. She bought rice cooker, bamboo mat, paddle, and all the ingredients right away!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

This is so beautiful, Debbie! I'm going to try it in inari pockets, too (Brian doesn't like seaweed).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great post! I found it looking for a way to eat sushi on the core plan. Do you count the sushi as core even with the mirin, or would you exchange that for something else?

spiceislandvegan said...

You can omit the mirin or the sugar, use either or.


Anonymous said...

Funny, I thought to make this (w/o the Brown rice though) and I figured I'd search to see if someone else has before. What a delight reading this! I think the "cavi-art" is a great touch I had no idea about.

Anonymous said...

i know this is old but this is fabulous; I am in vegan seafood mode and I will start rolling some sushi now

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel Kooy said...

Great recipe! I just bought 2 jars of Cavi-Art. Do you have any other ideas on how to use it?

Anonymous said...

i loved it and i'll try.
rice cooker with steamer

Julie kelly said...

Great recipe. It's really simple and descriptive. I will definitely try it.

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