KINPIRA VEGGIE SUSHI (vegan or made RAW)
Traditional Japanese food is one of the healthiest foods that we can eat. This cuisine is based on tons of land veggies, sea veggies and whole grains. I pretty much love most Asian food but I think Japanese food can be the most vibrant, creative and flavorful of them all. One of my favorite things to make from the Japanese list of dishes is sushi. I feel that sushi gives us an opportunity to create healthy combinations that can wow even picky taste buds. Most people who are not familiar with sushi shy away from it; in their minds it is plain rice and raw fish. First off, raw fish in Japanese is called SASHIMI not sushi, they are not interchangeable. Second plain rice is served as a side dish, not as a main course. So yes, there are meals that have plain rice and raw fish but there is a list of other ingredients a mile long that are included. Back to sushi…. I love that I can create sushi that is made with only plant-based ingredients and I can even make it RAW. Sushi is defined as any dish made with vinegared rice or “sumeshi”, I like to define it as anything rolled up in raw nori (seaweed) sheets. I do use vinegared brown rice in my vegan versions of sushi but use sprouted grains like quinoa for my raw versions like in my SPROUTED QUINOA VEGGIE SUSHI. I also like to mix up the flavors and create new versions of sushi, as in my KINPIRA VEGGIE SUSHI. Kinpira is a slightly sweet and spicy method of cooking root vegetables and is served as a side dish or condiment in Japan. I added a little twist and made it into a RAW version. It still has all the flavor of traditional kinpira but with all the health benefits of raw food. This version of sushi uses fresh raw organic veggies, raw nori sheets, raw kinpira and steamed brown sumeshi (you could make this fully RAW by using sprouted quinoa instead of sumeshi, see recipe below). Not only is this sushi tasty, just look at those vibrant colors! Whenever I see colors that electric, my mouth waters–it is probably because I equate “vibrant” with “tasting good”. I hope that you found this article enticing enough to give the recipe a try, even if you are unfamiliar with sushi. Who knows, maybe you find another way to EAT YOUR VEGGIES….
A CHEF’S TIP: this recipe has 4 main elements of sumeshi (or raw sprouted quinoa), raw kinpira, ingredients and dipping sauce. I wrote the article so that all of the elements would be finished at the same time so for ease of preparation. NOTE: all of these elements can be made the night before just do not put together until you are about ready to serve. ALSO you can make this 100% raw by using raw sprouted quinoa (recipe below) instead of sumeshi. Just be sure to note that it takes 4 days to make so plan accordingly.
MAKES 24 PIECES
1 1/2 cups organic brown rice
4 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup raw organic cider vinegar
1/4 cup raw organic sugar
In a rice cooker, add the rice and water. Steam until complete. Mix the vinegar and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Add this vinegar mix to the steamed rice and gently mix, be sure not to mash the rice. On a 16 inch or medium/small rectangle cookie sheet fan out the rice in an even thick layer all the way to the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2 cups organic carrots fine vermicelli sized shreds
1/4 tsp organic cayenne pepper (I like turkish)
1 TBSP raw organic sugar
3 TBSP raw organic liquid aminos
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP raw organic cold pressed sesame oil
Toss all of the above ingredients into a medium mixing bowl to coat well. Allow to set for 30 minutes, stir often. Drain and squeeze out any liquid. Reserve in a bowl and set aside.
2 ripe organic avocados
2 organic green onions
1/2 large organic red pepper
3 inch piece of mature organic ginger root, do not peel
4 raw organic nori sheets
1 TBSP organic black sesame seeds
Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and pit. Gently peel the skin off and discard. Lay the avocado halves pit side down on a flat surface. Cut each half into 6 even slices lengthwise. Trim the root end of the green onions. Use a sharp knife and cut the onions into thin strips lengthwise (both green and white parts), then cut into 3 inch lengths set aside. Cut the red pepper into thin strips lengthwise, set aside. Cut the ginger root in half lengthwise. Now cut each half into 1/2 thickness but placing each half on its side and gently cut it through the thick part. Now cut these thinner pieces into small match sticks, set aside. Lay your sushi rolling mat down on a clean flat surface so that it rolls easily up and away from you (vertical). On a sushi rolling mat lay down 1 nor sheet shiny side down with the lines on the nori going vertical. Take your sumeshi out of the refrigerator and uncover. Cut vertically the rice into 4 sections, remove with a spatula. On the bottom 2/3 closest to you, gently spread one of these sections onto the nori sheet by gently pressing down with water damp fingers all the way end to end horizontally. Now cover the middle half of the sumeshi with a thin layer of 1/4 of the raw kinpira. In the center on top of the kinpira layer, lay 1/4 of the avocado, green onions, red peppers and ginger root side by side in rows and end to end vertically. Now gently and slowly, roll the topped nori sheet up and away from you vertically (just until all of the ingredients are not visible, just a small section of nori sheet remains). Be sure to gently press down and tightly roll your sushi. If you go slow you should do just fine. Wet your finger with clean water and moisten the exposed nori sheet section and complete the full roll. Lightly wet the seam and lay on a clean dry flat surface with the seam facing down. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. When all of your rolls are done, lay the rolls vertical on a clean flat surface. You will need a VERY sharp knife and a clean wet paper towel. With each roll,trim the ends off (you are the chef so you get to eat this part). Start with one roll and cut in half lengthwise. Now cut each half into 3 even pieces, wipe the knife off clean after each cut. Repeat with the other rolls and arrange inside facing up on your serving platter and evenly sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with the dipping sauce.
4 TBSP raw organic aminos
4 TBSP raw organic cider vinegar
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP fresh chili paste (2 small organic fresh red-hot chili peppers with 1 tsp water fine grind to a paste in food processor)
OPTION: RAW SPROUTED QUINOA SUMESHI SUBSTITUTE for a 100% RAW version of this recipe
2 cups dried organic white quinoa
4 cups water
2 TBSP raw organic granulated sugar
In a medium bowl, mix the quinoa and water together and set for 24 hours. Strain into a large fine mesh strainer and hang over a bowl to drain out of direct sunlight. [For best results keep in this strainer for the remaining sprouting time] thoroughly rinse with cold water every 6 to 8 hours and drain completely. After 72 hours of rinsing and draining cycles, the quinoa will now be ready to use or place in a covered container up to 1 day in the refrigerator. Fine grind the raw sugar to a powder and mix well into the sprouted quinoa, set aside.