Maki sushi is probably the most well known type of sushi in the U.S. It consists of a layer of nori surrounding a layer of rice surrounding the fillings in the middle, all rolled into a cylinder and then cut into several smaller slices. The most well known type of maki sushi is the California Roll.
I’ve been a big fan of Marisa Baggett for quite some time now. (We sushi ladies stick together!) I loved her first book, Sushi Secrets – so when I heard she was coming out with a second, vegetarian sushi cookbook… I was definitely excited.
Then she reached out to me about a year ago, asking if I’d write a foreword for her upcoming cookbook. I was flabbergasted. Marisa Baggett, southern sushi chef extraordinaire, wants me, maker of the most random sushi and owner of a more or less defunct sushi blog, to write something for her cookbook?! This woman had Trevor Corson write the foreword for her last cookbook. I was certain she’d made a mistake, perhaps she meant to ask someone else?
But no – she really did mean to ask me.
And today, nearly a year later, I can officially say I’m a published author (I swear this counts… sort of…), because today is the release date of Vegetarian Sushi Secrets!!!
(Can you tell I’m all sorts of excited?)
And seeing as not only did I contribute a foreword to the book, but also that I am a sushi blogger (ignore the fact that I haven’t blogged in ages), of course I had to try out some recipes from her book to celebrate!
As a matter of fact, I tried three recipes. Her Faux Roe “Boats” are a fun vegetarian take on fish roe gunkan maki! Her Clear Soup with Pumpkin Dumplings was delicious and easy to make, and perfect for these cooler autumn days – you can find that recipe over on the Fridgg Blog.
But my absolute favorite recipe that I tried from Vegetarian Sushi Secrets is her Spicy Tofu Roll.
To say Son and I loved this roll would be to put it mildly. It would be more accurate to say we’re obsessed, we’re addicted, we couldn’t stop going back for more.
Now I must warn you – there’s a good reason this is called a Spicy Tofu Roll. One piece had me sprinting for a glass of water, then following it with a glass of milk to try to cool my flaming mouth. (Although, yes, I am a bit of a spice wimp. But in my defense, Son thought it was pretty spicy too.)
But despite all that (or perhaps because of it), I couldn’t.stop.eating them. The flavor combination is exactly on point (and trust me – even though it makes it even spicier, you must top each piece with a bit of curry mayonnaise!), and the textures of the ingredients complemented each other perfectly. Next time I’m quadrupling the batch, because Son and I demolished the rolls I made.
And the ultimate complement? Of all the sushi recipes I’ve ever posted on Sushi Day, there are only a few that end up on the annual New Year’s Day sushi rotation: I make a bunch of bacon crunchy shrimp rolls, a few kyoto rolls, plenty of spicy shrimp inari, and just a couple of kappa maki. But despite the fact that my mom’s generation of my family really, really doesn’t do spicy, these Spicy Tofu Rolls are definitely going in this year’s sushi rotation – even if the younger generation are the only ones brave enough to eat it!
Recipe from Vegetarian Sushi Secrets by Marisa Baggett, out today!
- 4 oz (100 g) tofu, drained and cut into tiny cubes
- 1 green onion (scallion), thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- 1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-flavor pepper)
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste
- salt, to taste
- Four 4×7-in (10×18-cm) nori sheets
- 3 cups (600 g) sushi rice
- 1/4 avocado, cut into 4 wedges
- One 4-in (10-cm) length carrot, cut into matchsticks
- curry mayonnaise, to taste
- faux roe (optional)
- Mix together the tofu, green onion, orange juice, fresh orange zest, togarashi, dark sesame oil, and garlic chili paste. Add salt, to taste.
- Place a 4×7-in (10×18-cm) sheet of nori vertically on a bamboo rolling mat. Make sure that the short end is parallel to the bottom of the mat and that the rough side is facing upwards.
- Dip your fingertips lightly in cool water and spread about 3/4 cup (150 g) of the sushi rice evenly over the bottom 3/4 of the nori.
- Spread 2 1/2 tablespoons of the spicy tofu mixture horizontally across the center of the rice. Place 1 avocado wedge on top of the spicy tofu. Top with 1/4 of the carrots.
- Wet your fingertips again and slide your thumbs underneath the mat while grasping the fillings with all other fingertips. Roll the bottom of the mat just over the fillings, tucking the fillings tightly under the fold. (Do not allow the mat to get stuck inside the roll!)
- Lift the edge of the mat. Continue rolling until the roll is complete and the seam is facing down. Gently shape the roll by pressing your forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers on the sides.
- Allow the roll to rest seam-side down on a cutting board for at least 2 minutes. Repeat steps to make 3 more rolls.
- To cut the rolls, dip the blade of a very sharp knife in water. Use a swift sawing motion to cut each roll into 5 pieces. Dollop curry mayonnaise on each piece and top with faux roe before serving.
I received a copy of this cookbook for free, as well as provided a foreword for the cookbook. Links in this post may be affiliate links.Continue Reading
Every few months, Son and I go out to eat KBBQ with some of his old coworkers. Charred meat, a huge variety of banchan, your clothes smelling like KBBQ all the way home… what’s not to love? Unless, of course, you’re the one vegetarian of the group, who always gets stuck in the corner, marinating in meat smoke while noshing on whatever meatless dishes the restaurant happens to serve.
To make up for that, every time we have a potluck, I try to make some hearty, delicious meatless dishes that our token vegetarian can enjoy. Especially when he’s the one hosting – it just seems so wrong to bring a meaty dish to a vegetarian’s house.
One of the sushi recipes that I make most often for potlucks and at home is my Spicy Shrimp Inari. It’s simple and delicious… and, as it turns out, seriously easy to convert to vegetarian! Now, this new mushroom inari recipe, along with my Vegan Sushi, are my go-to recipes when I know vegetarians or vegans will be present. Both are easy to make, and both are delicious enough that even serious carnivores love them!
- 1 package aburaage (inari pouches)
- 3 cups sumeshi
- 1 whole portabello mushroom
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- Cook sushi rice.
- Slice the portabello mushroom into long slices, then cut each slice in half.
- Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat, and saute the mushroom slices until softened and brown.
- Prepare the inari pouches according to the directions on the package. (Some require no preparation, while some say you should boil the pouch of inari for a few minutes before using them.)
- Mix the mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce until well blended.
- Stuff each pouch of inari with about 1/4 cup of rice.
- Lay a piece of mushroom on top of each stuffed inari.
- Drizzle a little spicy mayonnaise over the mushroom.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds over the sauce.
I love to cook for others. Like, really, really love making sushi for other people.
In a perfect world, I’d be allowed to experiment and have as much freedom coming up with new rolls as I do here on Sushi Day. But this isn’t a perfect world, and not everyone will eat all the random rolls I put together (and, to be honest, not everything I attempt comes out well…). And I’m okay with that.
These days, there are a lot of things you have to take into account when making sushi for other people, like if you’re going to a potluck. While my Spicy Shrimp Inari is always a crowd pleaser, you know there are always a few picky eaters: “I don’t eat seafood… at all.” (Hence my Man Sushi… trust me, that’ll convince any meat eater that sushi’s actually delicious!)
Then there are those with allergies – gluten-free? Just stay away from tempura. (And bring some wheat-free tamari soy sauce… did you know that most normal soy sauce actually has wheat products in it?) Dairy-free? Okay, no rolls with cream-cheese.
And, of course, you have those with other dietary restrictions, like vegetarians and vegans. At the most recent potluck I went to, I knew we’d have a few vegetarian/vegan attendees. So in addition to the other sushi dishes that I brought, I decided to come up with a vegetarian roll.
Obviously, I was going to use primarily vegetables in the roll. I considered using tofu, but decided against it since I didn’t think there would be a quick, easy way to make tofu taste good in sushi. (I needed something that wouldn’t be too time-consuming, since I was making four dishes that morning for the potluck.) I also couldn’t resort to tempura-frying the veggies, since tempura isn’t vegan – the batter uses egg. For the same reason, no mayonnaise is allowed either.
But it had to be a delicious, somehow interesting roll. It just wouldn’t be right to make delicious rolls for my meat-eating friends, and then bring a boring, “blah” roll for my vegan friends. So I had to come up with something so good even the meat-eaters would love it.
“Asparagus… roasted. Obviously. I love roasted asparagus.”
“Onions… sauteed? Nah, I want a texture contrast. How about fried? Yeah, I’ll need to heat up oil to fry the Arctic Char and Cream Cheese Wontons, so I can just fry up a bunch of thinly-sliced onions before I start the wontons.”
“What else… what would go well with asparagus and onions? Hm. How about carrots? Yeah, carrots would be good. But I don’t want to just roast them. I’m already roasting the asparagus; another plain roasted vegetable would be boring. Oooh, what if I glaze them with a little maple syrup? That would add a nice sweetness that should round out the roll.”
So how did it turn out? According to my veg(etari)an (as well as my omnivorous) friends, this fish-less, meat-less roll was a grand success. So much so, that it has definitely earned a place in my regular potluck menu. ^_^
Question: What do you do when you’re tasked with making sushi for a group of friends, but one of your male friends has never eaten sushi and refuses to try raw fish?
Easy: MAN SUSHI. (Just imagine I’m saying that in a deep, “manly” voice.)
But what on earth is “Man Sushi”?
Well, what sort of food does your stereotypical man love? That’s an easy one: beef, and anything battered and fried. Of course.
All you have to do is put grilled beef teriyaki and tempura-fried vegetables in a sushi roll, (and throw in some spicy mayonnaise for good measure), and you’ll have a roll that your man will not only try, but will still be talking about a year later.
Lately we’ve been trying to get a little more creative with the things we make here. After I mixed the honey-rice vinegar marinade (inspired by the ingredients list from a package of gari), I tasted it and thought it tasted just like lemon tea with honey.
So what goes better with those flavors than… green tea! But once we tried it, the roll was good, but… missing something. What to add, to give it the oomph it needed?
A few days before I had tried the combination of cucumber slices dipped in shoyu. It’s a fantastic combination. Kind of like salt with cucumbers (I’ve eaten that as a snack… do you too?), except better. Turns out, that was exactly what this roll needed to make it just right.
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you… happy birthday dear Sushi Day, happy birthday to you!
Don’t worry, I won’t actually subject you to my singing. Promise. That would be cruel and unusual punishment, and I’m fairly certain you haven’t done anything to deserve such a fate.
Today’s Sushi Day’s fourth birthday! Can you believe it’s been four years already? I’d tell you to go back and revisit some of the very first posts I ever wrote… but some of those are rather embarrassing. And silly. So we’ll just stay right here today, okay? 😉
This heart is for my little brother.
This heart is for my dad.
This heart is for all of my friends and family who are or have ever had to suffer through cancer.
I wish I could take all the hurt away.
(These hearts are also for Barbara Harris’ event, LiveSTRONG with a Taste of Yellow 2010 – Heart Series.)
- 6 sheets nori
- 3 cups sumeshi
- 1/2 small onion, sliced into half-rings
- 1 small yellow squash, sliced into long sticks
- cooking oil
- 1 cup flour
- 1 batch tempura batter
- 12 scallops
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp curry powder (or more, to taste)
- Cook sushi rice.
- Coat onion and squash in flour, then dip in tempura batter, making sure to cover it completely.
- Fry the tempura onion and squash in cooking oil until golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels, salt.
- Sear scallops in 1 tbsp cooking oil.
- Thinly slice scallops.
- Mix mayonnaise and curry powder.
- Roll the sushi, using the tempura onion, tempura squash, and seared scallops as fillings.
- Drizzle with curry mayonnaise.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. These values are only estimates based on the individual ingredients, and not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional.
Our third day in Japan, we decided to get out of Tokyo for a day, and head down to Kyoto. Which meant getting up early (which is really that much worse when you have jet lag and are exhausted from so much walking!) and catching the first Shinkensen (bullet train) to Kyoto. Luckily it left from Shinagawa Station (the station right next to our hotel) and we already reserved seats (free with the JR pass, but this way we had seats and could just relax and not worry about getting enough seats together.)
When we got to Kyoto, it was pouring rain. Pouring.
But gosh darn it, we’re not going to let a little rain keep us from seeing everything we wanted to see, now were we?
Nope. Of course not.
So we trekked through the rain to get to our first destination: Nijo Castle.