August 29, 2016
In a recent post, written while it was 95˚F, I mentioned I craved sushi when the weather was hot, but didn't crave making it myself. That's probably still true, but it's much cooler now, it's been in the 70s the last few days, and today it was only 80, so my idea of what I will and won't make has altered a bit. And besides the mellowing weather, I also have a new Instant Pot. You know how it is when you get something new in the kitchen — everything seems like a good idea. With a bag of sushi rice and my Instant Pot, all things seemed possible.
It's been ages since I last made sushi, so I consulted three different sources to check the proportion of rice to water, and how long to cook the rice — using a pressure cooker. I found everything from 1 cup of water:one cup of rice to one-and one-half cups of water:one cup of rice. The later was the proportion of white rice to water in the Instant Pot recipe booklet. I chose to follow the directions in the booklet, but I can tell you now, it's too much water, as I suspected it would be. I was disappointed, but I couldn't let a pot full of really soft and sticky rice stop me from making sushi.
The planned fillings were nontraditional, but vegan sushi in general is nontraditional, so what you choose to roll up inside is pretty much up to you. First I made a seasoning mix of rice vinegar, mirin, tamari and a little bit of coconut sugar, which I mixed into the hot, cooked rice while also fanning the rice, to cool it. Then I prepped three fillings. The first was made with oyster mushrooms, sautéed in a little vegetable broth, then paired with arugula. The second was strips of fresh cucumber and the third was leftover stir-fried tofu, kale, carrots and cherry tomatoes. The cucumber rolls were also enhanced by a thin stripe of umeboshi paste along the length of the nori sheet, so that each piece of sushi would contain a bit of the tangy umeboshi flavor to offset the bland but sweet cukes.
The first roll I made was a clear indication that I'd forgotten how to make sushi; I didn't even think to check my own blog for tips. Had I clicked here to review what we learned in a sushi-making class back in 2010, everything from the rice cooking to the sushi rolling might have gone more smoothly. The first roll I assembled was too fat. When I saw the way it looked, I remembered how little rice it takes to make a sushi roll. The first bloated pieces were eaten immediately, to hide the shame, and are not in any of the photos.
All three of the varieties were delicious (or would have been had the rice not been the consistency of rice pudding) but my favorite was absolutely the oyster mushroom and arugula. The sweet, delicate taste, and tender but toothsome texture of the mushroom was perfect with the crisp sharpness of the greens. I'll definitely be making more of these.
I'm looking forward to perfecting my sushi rice cooking in the Instant Pot. Any advice happily accepted.
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