Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekend o' sushi, part 2

Welcome back to the house o' sushi! For my second round, I opted for inari-zushi and various freestyle nigiri-zushi, plus another impressive-looking uramaki-zushi and a pinwheel sushi roll. Today's themes: fresh and green.

You see here some items I found at the Asian market yesterday morning, namely chive buds and pea shoots, which are so cute and taste exactly like snow peas, only they're leaves and stems:
May I mention once again how glad I am that I have a blog? I vacillated over the decision to start one for nearly two years, and I am so very glad I finally did. No, if there were no blog, likely I would not have spent most of today, like yesterday, carefully reading rather complex instructions and cooking up something I had never done before; but on the other hand, neither would I have enjoyed this excellent food with my one and only wonderful sister, who brought Sapporo Japanese beer as a supper gift which we did not drink because (1) we were having such a good time without it, and (2) we were already drinking our homemade wine that was awesome.

So anyway, you already know that I love my family. How about that sushi? I did repeat a few things from yesterday, because I wanted to refine my technique from lessons learned, and because I thought Diane would like to try them. What did I learn? Well, first, after you spread the rice out on the nori, you should press it down, which contributes to a more compact roll. Yes, it did. Yes, my new rolls were better than yesterday's. Hallelujah! So here is the new uramaki-zushi (inside-out roll):

Then I made a pinwheel roll. These are actually much easier to make than the regular California-type sushi rolls, since you just start rolling from the end and don't have to worry about "rice meets rice," but I didn't make one yesterday so I thought I would today. New, original addition: reconstituted dehydrated tomatoes! Yes, they were great in sushi! Also, pickled umeboshi (plums), ground to a paste, which is supposed to be great for the digestion, and hangovers.
Moving on to pastures new, the inari-zushi, or sushi in seasoned tofu pouches. You buy the pouches in packets like this:

Then you cook them in various ways with different ingredients, cut, split, and stuff them…I had fun with these. Again, some of these presentation ideas, like the chive buds used as drawstrings for these little pouches, come from The Complete Book of Sushi, by Hideo Dekura, Brigid Treolar, and Ryuichi Yoshii; and some of them are my own. They were fun to make, and so delicious to eat. Messy, though, since they must be eaten in more than one bite, unless you maybe have a huge mouth. Here they are stuffed with a mixture of sushi rice, minced seasoned carrot and cucumber, topped with minced chive bud:

Then some more nigiri-zushi. For me this weekend, this has been the hardest type of sushi to make, though it looks the simplest. Also, there was a few hours' waiting period between my making these bites and our actually eating them, so I couldn't load them with sauces and condiments the way they were meant to be. They were served with a number of sauces (see yesterday's post, and know that Diane appreciated them as those traditionalists, my parents, did not), plus the marvel that is wasabi Veganaise--which is simply (simply!) Veganaise with wasabi paste stirred in, but oh, god, it must be tasted to be believed:

And more:

And, finally, I can't let this weekend come to an end without an ode to the quiet star of both shows, miso soup. If there is one dish that's going to make it out of my VeganMoFo 2009 Japanese challenge and into the wider world of my everyday cooking after the end of October, it is this deceptively simple, absolutely wonderful soup. It has four ingredients only: water, dried shiitake mushrooms, kombu, and white miso. I've given the recipe earlier this month, but I'll repeat it since it's worth repeating. Basic miso soup is a combination of dashi and miso:

Kombu mushroom dashi:
Simmer 5 dried Chinese mushrooms in 4 cups of water for half an hour. Add one postcard-sized piece of kombu and simmer (don't boil) a further 5 minutes. Strain the resulting liquid through a fine cloth to get your dashi. The mushrooms and kombu can be reserved for another use.

To make miso soup:
For each two cups of dashi, spoon 2 tbsp of white miso paste into a very small metal sieve and lower the sieve partially into the hot dashi, stirring and pressing the miso through the mesh and into the soup. There may be some solids left over; these should be discarded. Keep the stock warm but don't let it boil. Place finely chopped green onions and a few enoki mushrooms into a serving bowl, pour the soup over them, and serve immediately.


Now I am tired. So tired. This tired:

Goodnight, my friends.


  1. I don't even have about amazing?


  2. everything looks great! i love making sushi, but you definitely need to set a lot of time aside to it. there are a couple of really nice vegetarian sushi books out there too, just in case you haven't seen 'em before.

  3. Everything is exquisite. Almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. I love age, and your version is inspirational.

  4. I love inari-zushi! Everything looks so colorful and creative--what a wonderful job.

  5. Wow, everything is so gorgeous and beautiful! (And making me want sushi!) Beautiful job!

  6. where have you been all my life???!!!!!

  7. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.