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Friday, 16 December 2011

Vegetarian sushi rolls

Of all my personal shortcomings (and there are many), the one I'd change first is my fish allergy.  You might be wondering why a guy who can't eat fish is writing a post about sushi and your concerns are indeed valid.  After all, what can a guy who can't so much as look at a fish stick tell you about making sushi?

Well as it happens, quite a bit.  Because of my allergy, I can't really eat sushi in a restaurant as even the vegetarian rolls inevitably get contaminated.  So if I want to eat sushi I have to make it myself, which I do quite frequently.  It's easy, delicious and makes one of the best appetizers ever.

Because the fish is generally uncooked, making sushi is really about rice and rolling.  That and buying really good fish but you're on your own on that front.

1 cup sushi rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 package noori (seaweed paper)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Vegi-filling (all items julienned):
1 avocado
1/2 red pepper
1/2 mango
1/2 cucumber

Wash the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear.  This is key as if you don't do it the rice won't become properly sticky and you'll end up with something more akin to rice pudding.

Put rice in a pot and add water until rice is just covered.  Add sugar and heat on medium high.  When water boils, stir rice, turn heat to low and cover with a tight lid.  Simmer until water has cooked off (~10-15 minutes) and remove rice to a large bowl to cool.  As rice cools start cutting and folding it with a wooden spoon while gradually adding in the vinegar.  As it cools, the rice will start to take on the sticky texture that holds the rolls together.

Place noori on a sushi mat and use two spoons to spread rice on top in a thin layer, leaving 1" or so of free space at the top of the noori sheet.

Arrange filling in a thin line starting 1" above the bottom of the noori. Use the mat to roll the noori up and over the filling, contunuing until the noori is rolled into a tight cylinder. Repeat until filling and rice are all used up or until you run out of places to store the vast quantities of sushi you have made.

Let rolls rest for ~2 minutes so that noori has a chance to seal before cutting.  When cutting the rolls, wipe some sesame oil across the knife to prevent it from sticking to the rolls.

Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.


  1. Interesting. I have a shellfish allergy (but can eat regular fish) and have always avoided even seaweed just in case. I'd love to try the vegetarian sushi because they look so yummy - your recipe looks extremely tempting...

  2. This is also great with a variety of vegetables - finely julienned carrots, enoki mushrooms, chili pepper, onion, etc.

  3. I had the same worry as you Laura but if you're like me and the majority of other people with fish/shellfish allergies then you likely don't need to worry about seaweed. This is because the proteins that cause most fish allergies are not present in plant life.