Tired of eating the same ol’ cucumber sushi roll? or avocado roll? or some other vegetable roll that’s equally as pedestrian? Me too.
As a remedy, I decided to make pressed sushi also known as oshizushi, where rice is pressed into a rectangular shape using a wooden mold. But I didn’t have a wooden mold. Looking around the kitchen for a diy hack, I spied the tofu press. Hey, that’s a box shape and it’ll do the pressing for me to boot.
Since it’s diy, I went with some of my all-time favorite ingredients: roasted trumpet mushrooms and carrots, shiitake mushroom namul, spicy yuba strips from Hodo (the same people that make the tofu for Chipotle’s sofritas), and massaged kale which strangely enough kinda looks like nori seaweed. You can see it there on the top.
Pressed sushi seems much easier to make than sushi rolls. After all, it’s just packing ingredients into a box. The challenge is in the layering since you go from the top down. One layer ended up sliding around as it only had carrots and kale, nothing to really anchor it down like rice.
Lesson learned. While the layer fillings can be whatever your stomach desires, the rice is what holds it all together.
Vegan Pressed Sushi
Make a batch of sushi rice
Assemble any number of your favorite fillings, candidates include:
Roasted vegetables such as trumpet mushrooms, eggplant, carrots, squash
Raw vegetables such as cucumber, carrots
Shiitake mushroom namul
Yuba strips or baked tofu strips
Massaged kale or cooked spinach
Nori seaweed sheets
Cut the ingredients to fit into the mold.
Line the tofu press with plastic wrap so that it hangs over the sides. Decoratively arrange alternating strips of whatever you want to be on the top at the bottom of the mold. Dip your fingers into a little bowl of water so the sushi rice doesn’t stick to you and spread a thin layer of rice over the strips. Be careful not to mess up the arrangement.
Next, lay in a piece of nori seaweed cut to size. Continue layering various ingredients in between the rice and nori layers. Pressing down gently as you go along. End with a nori sheet as that will become the bottom of the finished pressed sushi.
Put the top on the tofu press and press for about 5 minutes or so. Apparently there’s a newer version of the tofu press with a lighter tension spring. If you have one of those, you could probably press it a bit longer.
After pressing, remove from the press, use the plastic wrap to gently coax the sushi out. Slice using a sharp knife and a wet cloth. Wipe the knife with the cloth before each slice so it doesn’t stick. Arrange on a plate to serve.
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