Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls

From “Veganomicon”

For the sushi rice”

1 cup sushi rice

2 T rice vinegar ( do not use white vinegar)

1 t sugar

Spicy Tempeh filling

1/2 (4 oz) package tempeh

2 T vegan mayonnaise

1/2 to 1 t hot chili sesame oil

4 sheet nori

1 scallion, white part discarded, slice lengthwise into narrow strips

1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, and slice into 1/4 inch strips

1 T toasted or black sesame seeds if used inside the roll or 1/4 c if used as a coating for inside-out rolls

In a heavy bottomed, 2 qt pot with a cover, combine the rice plus 1 1/4 c cold water.   Turn the heat to high, bring the water to a boil, and stir the rice just once.  Lower the heat to low, cover the pot, and steam the rice for 20 to 22 minutes, until it is tender and the excess liquid has been absorbed.  Or, prepare the rice according to the package instructions.   Cook until the rice is tender but slightly firm, and remove from the heat.

Empty the hot rice into a large glass or plastic bowl.  Sprinkle with the rice vinegar and sugar, folding in the rice gently with a large teaspoon or rice paddle to mix thoroughly.  The rice should be moist and have a very mild vinegar flavor.  Cover with plastic wrap and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.  When the rice is slightly warmer than room temperature (but not completely cold), it’s ready to work with.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the filling by steaming the tempeh.  (Steam for 20 minutes).  Allow the tempeh to cool for 10 minutes, chop into small cubes, and place in a medium-size bowl.  Add the mayonnaise and chile-sesame oil and mash until chunky; taste and add more chile-sesame oil if desired.

Fill a shallow cup with abotu 1/3 c water and 1 T rice vinegar; and keep near your sushi workstation.  Follow these steps to the perfect nor roll:

1.  Place the nori sheet (toast first over a gas burner) on the bamboo mat.  With wet hands, take a handful of  rice, about a cups worth.  Gently pat onto the bottom two-thirds or so of your nori sheet.  The layer of rice should be less than 1/3 inch thick.

2.  Place a small amount of the fillings across the center of your rice.  Lay or spread them horizontally to each side of the nori to created a straight line of filling — the less filling the easier the sushi will be to roll.  Aim for about 1 1/2 T of spicey tempeh, three strips of avocado, and some scallion strips.  You’ll figure it out.

3.  Using the mat, gently roll up that sushi starting from the rice-topped end; try to keep your grip relatively tight, for a firm roll.  When you’ve reached the seweed-only end, pat gently with a bit of vinegar water to seal the roll.

4.  Slice your roll into 1 inch pieces with a sharp, serrated knife.  That’s it.

Other fillings:

Raw vegetables: cucumber, carrot, scallions – julienned  Fill and roll.

Spinach-Sesame: Lightly steam 1/2 pound fresh spinach, squeeze to remove excess water, and chop finely.  Toss with 1 t toasted sesame oil, 1 T sesame seeds, and a dash of rice vinegar.  Fill and roll as directed for Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls.

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