I love sushi. Love love love it, it should be a food group. Back in my San Francisco days, for years I could not go through a week without my fix. When I moved to London, a principal complaint I had was how hard it was to come by sushi, and that what little was around was of pretty low quality. Really, the basic conveyor belt sushi available in London over ten years ago was all kinds of terrible. I could not believe that a world city like London didn't provide what I (and much of San Francisco) thought of as a basic culinary requirement. After trying most options within anything like a reasonably commutable distance and found them all wanting (although I will say that I tried Nobu and only found my bank balance wanting there...), I did what any true sushi lover would, and learned how to make it myself.
Even transitioning to a plant-based diet, the very last non-plant based meal I had was sushi, and i was keen to find a way to keep sushi in our menus when we went irreversibly plant-based. I was delighted to discover that the distinct flavours of sushi that define it were not at all the fish or seafood elements, but rather the seaweed, rice vinegar and wasabi - all happily fully plant-based.
I have experimented with different sushi fillings and we regularly have maki rolls for supper much to everyone's contentment. It is not difficult, but does require a certain level of organisation and is quite involved in terms of preparation. Sometimes, however, I want the flavours but don't have the time. Sometimes, Mrs Green mentions sushi multiple times in the course of a single day as a way of indicating what might make her happy, but I am short of time.
As a solution, please meet the sushi bowl, a good friend of the time poor sushi junkie. For this bowl, the sushi "fillings" are carrots, avocado and kale, but I could - and often do - also add thinly sliced radishes, julienned cucumber or raw turnip. Adding some salad-y leaves also brings nice variation, try wood sorrel. I haven't tried it yet, but imagine samphire would also work nicely.
We used brown short grain rice in this bowl, it takes a little longer to cook, but worth the wait. All rice cooks at a ratio of 2:1, bring two measures of water and one of rice to the boil, cover and simmer till cooked, this rice took about 40 min. The rice isn't dressed as it would be when making maki rolls, instead we dressed the kale (see below). We didn't use a 'sauce', but just some tamari/soy sauce and a squirt or three of sriracha. The nori sheets were torn into trips and added to the bowl.
A new addition to our sushi/sushi bowl repetoire is kale tenderised in brown rice vinegar, a touch of salt , sesame oil and sesame seeds. I am particularly fond of the cavolo nero variety of kale and was lucky enough to have had it included in our weekly veg bag. We like the sweetness that brown rice vinegar provides, but I imagine regular old rice vinegar would do the trick with the addition of a little sugar or mirin. Not making sushi? use this as a side salad to most Japanese fare.
- 1 bunch of kale (roughly 200g)
- 4 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Strip the kale leaves off of their stems and tear into bite sized pieces or slice into ribbons and place in a large bowl
- Add remaining ingredients and gently message the leaves. The volume of the leaves will decrease and they will become much darker.
- Mix the sesame seeds through and serve.