Dairy free. Gluten free. Vegan.
photos by Morgan Ione Yeager
"Sitting at a sushi counter and enjoying a glass of sake accompanied by fresh fish is one of my favorite things to do. But if you're vegan and someone suggests Japanese, it's not always that easy to be excited about it! Cue the Ume Shisho Roll. It is almost always on the menu and if it's not, i promise you could ask the restaurant if they will make it for you and they will. I generally love finishing my meal with this option as it's super fresh and clean.
If you've never had Ume plum before it's both salty and sour and mixed with the the Shisho leaf (a part of the mint family) the flavors are balanced out perfectly. Ume is really easy to find, your local health food store should carry it. Shisho leaf might not be as easy. I would look for you closest Japanese specialty store or you could even pop into your local sushi place and ask them if they would sell you a couple. You never know!
Don't forget to grab yourself a bamboo sushi mat too. I think most supermarkets sell them these days"
1 cup short grain brown rice (or you can use regular sushi rice if you prefer)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 packet nori sheets (option to toast by "swiping" over an open flame a few times, it brings out the flavor)
1 jar umeboshi paste (you won't use it all but it keeps in the fridge forever)
8-10 shisho leaves
1 -2 cucumbers, sliced into large matchsticks
ON THE SIDE:
soy or tamari sauce
- Prepare the rice as instructed on the package. When done, add the rice vinegar and stir through. Let cool.
- Place the sushi mat on your bench with slats running crosswise. Arrange 1 sheet of the nori with the shiny side facing down on top.
- Press about 2 inches of rice onto the nori about 1/2 an inch down from the side closest to you (see 2nd picture above)
- Add a spread of umeboshi, a couple of shisho leaves and some cucumber (option to add avocado or even pickled ginger here)
- Beginning with the side closest to you, lift the edge of the mat up with your thumbs while holding the filling in place with your fingers (see 3rd picture above)
- Fold the mat over the filling then tighten along the length of roll by tugging the edge of mat farthest from you (see 4th picture above)
- Remove the mat and continue rolling until you almost get to the end, leaving about 1/2 inch free.
- Moisten the edge with a tiny bit of water and then join together to finish. Gently rolling back and forth to seal the seam.
- Cut into 6 pieces along the perforated lines in the nori sheet with a sharp, wet knife.
- Repeat for each roll you want to make.
- Serve with soy or tamari, wasabi and pickled ginger.