Homemade Vegetarian or Vegan Sushi and Poke Bowl
Who doesn’t love (Westernized) Japanese food? Sushi is such a simple yet nutritious and delicious food! And Poke Bowls are amazing, I have recently discovered them and just can’t get enough; they’re like a huge sushi deconstructed in a bowl! And to those who think sushi can’t be great without raw fish, give this recipe a try and you’ll be instantly convinced that vegetarian sushi is delishhhh!
However, it can all be really expensive at restaurants, so here is a simple recipe on how to make them at your house. It really is much easier and cheaper than we think, though it does take some time, especially for the rice. But honestly, I have had loads of fun making this recipe with friends or family, it can be a whole activity night! Plus, you can really choose what you’ll put in your rolls; it can be vegan, vegetarian, or not. Here, you can find my recipe for the seemingly complicated but actually simple sushi rice, then some tips and of my favorite combinations for the rolls!
Go have fun and make sushi or poke bowls, and enjoy an amazing homemade dinner!
The Rice (same for sushi and poke bowl)
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Cooling down time: 40-45 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings of sushi OR 3-4 servings of poke bowl
-500 g (2 cups) of Sushi rice (I like the brand MITO)
-2 cups + 4 tbsps clean water
-2 teaspoons salt
-2 teaspoons sugar
-2 tbsp rice vinegar
-Rinse the uncooked rice in a strainer for a few minutes, until the water stops coming out very white with starch (there can still be a white liquid coming out, but more like water).
-Put the strained rice in a large pot and add the clean water.
-Cook the rice in high heat until the water starts to boil (around 7-10 minutes); stir every minute or so.
-When the water starts to boil, reduce heat to medium, stop stirring and cover the pot.
-Leave the rice like that for around 15-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed completely.
-Turn off the heat and use a wooden spoon to take the rice out of the pot and put it in a large bowl. Don’t scrape the pot; if there’s a layer of rice stuck to its bottom, leave it.
-Let the rice cool off for about 15 minutes, until cool enough to be handled.
-In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar, salt and sugar. Leave it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, so that the ingredients mix well.
-Pour this mixture on the rice and stir until well mixed.
-Let the rice cool down at room temperature for about 30 minutes. By now, it should be very sticky. This is the famous sushi rice! You can use it to make sushi or poke bowls!
Preparation time: 40 minutes = 10 min for pealing and cutting the fruits and vegetables + 30 min for making the sushi rolls
Yields: 100-120 sushi pieces, ideal for 4-6 people
-15 toasted seaweed for sushi rolls = nori sheet (I also use the brand MITO)
-Spicy mayo (I usually buy the Canadian brand WAFU, but you can buy any brand you’d like or even make your own. You can also make your sushi rolls vegan by buying or making vegan mayo)
-2 tbsp sesame seeds
-Ginger, wasabi and soy sauce
-You can use ANY fruits and vegetables of your choice; the combinations are infinite!
Here are the vegetables and fruits needed for my favorite combinations:
-1 medium mango
-1 large bell pepper
-2 medium carrots
-1 large cucumber
-1 tbsp of capers
-Peal and cut your fruits and vegetables
-Set up a roll-making station: Place a wooden cutting board on a spacious counter or table, next to the vegetables, rice, nori sheets or seaweeds, and a bowl half-full with clean drinking water.
(If you don’t have a wooden cutting board, you’ll want to use a thick towel covered with plastic wrap. Also, you don’t need a bamboo mat to roll the sushi, though it can help if it’s your first time, but don’t forget to cover the mat with plastic wrap.)
-FOR A REGULAR MAKI ROLL, place the seaweed/nori sheet with its rougher side up (so that the rice sticks well). Then, lightly wet your hands and place a handful of rice at the middle of the nori sheet.
-Use your fingers to gently but firmly spread the rice on the whole sheet, only leaving an upper rectangle of the sheet without any rice. Try not to make the rice layer too thick.
-Place the vegetable and/or fruit pieces on the rice and start rolling (see my favorite combinations below)! You want to make it as tight as possible, but without forcing too much. Before you get to the end of the roll, use your fingers to wet the part of the nori sheet without any rice, so that the roll can close and stick well.
-Once you finish a roll, use a sharp knife to cut it in pieces and place them on your serving plate. However, if you make the sushis a few hours in advance, I advise you NOT TO CUT the rolls just yet; if this is the case, place the rolls on a plate and leave them in the fridge, so you can cut them in piece just before serving.
-FOR AN INSIDE-OUT ROLL, start the same way; place the seaweed/nori sheet with its rougher side up (so that the rice sticks well). Then, lightly wet your hands and place a handful of rice at the middle of the nori sheet. Use your fingers to gently but firmly spread the rice on the whole sheet. Try not to make the rice layer too thick. Then, put some plastic wrap on top of the rice layer and gently FLIP the sheet so that the plastic is facing down. Then, you can add the vegetable and/or fruit pieces and start rolling (see my favorite combinations below). You want to make it as tight as possible, but without forcing too much. Before you get to the end of the roll, use your fingers to wet the inside part of the roll, which is the nori sheet (even though there is rice on the other side), so that the roll can close and stick well. I like to add sesame seeds on those before cutting and serving!
-MY FAVORITE COMBINATIONS:
. Only avocado
. Avocado, capers, onions and spicy mayo (it’s like an avocado tartare!)
. Avocado, bell pepper and cucumber
. Mango, cucumber and carrot
. Avocado and mango
As I explained already, a poke bowl is a lazy version of sushi, so you can basically use the same ingredients and mixes as for sushi, but you don’t need to roll it!
Basically, you must choose:
-A base for your bowl (here I’m using sushi rice, but it also works with quinoa or regular rice)
-A protein (tofu or mushrooms)
-Some veggies (bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, avocado, lettuce…)
-Seeds and grains (like sesame seeds or nuts)
-A dressing (spicy mayo, light soy sauce, peanut sauce, etc.)
–Anything else (I like to add nori sheets or seaweeds, capers, and mango slices!)
There isn’t a whole lot of transformation here; you only have to add the ingredients in the order presented above to a large serving bowl. Alternatively, you can give each person an empty bowl and place the ingredients on the table, and each person can serve whatever they want!
My favorite combination is: sushi rice, slightly grilled mushrooms, raw slices of bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, avocado and lettuce, sesame seeds, spicy mayo, a hint of soy sauce, slices of seaweed or nori, capers and slices of mango!