Shiitake, Avocado, and Pickled Ginger Sushi Rolls
- Course/Dish: Main Course, Appetizers
- Meals: Dinner
- Main Ingredient: Avocado
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Makes: 6-8 rolls
Vegetarian sushi is always packed with flavor, especially with marinaded shiitake mushrooms and pickled ginger. A touch of raw wasabi completes this flavorful roll.
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1/4 cup nama shoyu plus 1/2 cup for dipping
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large young ginger-roots, peeled and sliced very thing on a mandolin
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 1/2 cups raw apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup beet juice* (optional)
6 cups chopped jicama (roughly 1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup brown rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons agave nectar
6 to 8 sheets un-toasted nori
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly julienned
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 small bunch sunflower sprouts or other long-stemmed sprouts
2 green onions, white and 1 inch of green, thinly sliced
1/2 cup wasabi
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds for garnish
In a small bowl, toss the shiitakes with 1/4 cup of the nama shoyu and the olive oil. Allow to marinate for about 1 hour. Drain well and set aside.
Place the sliced ginger in a bowl and sprinkle generously with the salt. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Rinse well, drain, and squeeze out the water.
Place about 2/3 of the ginger in one bowl with 1 cup of the vinegar and 1/2 cup of the agave nectar.
Julienne the remaining ginger and place in another small bowl with he remaining 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup agave nectar.
Add the beet juice (if using) to the bowl with the julienned ginger. Be sure the ginger is fully immersed in liquid — if not, simply add more vinegar and agave accordingly.
Cover both bowls and refrigerate for at least 1 day and up to 3 days. Drain well before using.
Place the jicama and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped to the approximate size of rice grains.
Press the jicama between clean kitchen towels or paper towels to remove all of the excess moisture.
In a large bowl, combine the rice with the salt, rice vinegar, and agave nectar and mix well.
Gently spread the mixture onto dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 115 F for about 2 hours to remove additional moisture.
Note: It’s a good idea to check the rice occasionally to make sure it is not getting too dry, and to toss it around a bit on the tray as the edges dry faster. If left too long in the dehydrator, it will start to turn pale brown, which is not really so bad, it just doesn’t look as nice.
Note: If this happens, just add a bit seasoning liquid, and keep in mind that the yield will be a bit less, and the texture not as soft. The rice will keep for up to 2 to 3 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. You should have about 4 1/2 cups.
Place a sheet of nori on a bamboo mat with the rougher side facing up; if you look closely, one side is usually smoother. Make sure the shorter side is closest to you (in art-school works, so that the nori sheet is portrait, not landscape).
Place about 1/2 cup of rice on the nori and spread out evenly across the bottom third of the sheet, leaving 1 inch of space clear on the bottom. Lay some of the cucumber, avocados, shiitake filling, sprouts, and the pink julienned ginger across the rice.
Sprinkle with some of the green onion. If you like wasabi in your rolls, spread a small amount anywhere across the exposed nori before rolling (it is much easier to spread wasabi on the nori than to try to distribute it evenly with the rest of the filling, and it all ends up inside the roll either way).
Fold the bottom of the bamboo mat up and over the filling and roll the nori tightly.
Wet the top edge of the nori with a little water to help seal it shut.
Hold the roll in the mat for a few seconds to let it set and seal.
Gently unwrap the mat, and using a very sharp knife, cut the roll into 6 pieces, wiping the knife clean with a wet towel between cuts.
It helps to cut it in half first, and then cut each half into 3 evenly sized pieces.
Arrange the sushi on a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Garnish with a small pile of the pickled ginger slices and a bit of wasabi.
In this recipe, we call for young ginger, which is a paler, almost pinkish color, and milder in taste then mature ginger-root. Along with un-toasted (and toasted) nori, you can find it at Asian markets, but the more commonly available ginger will work well, too. The beet juice used in pickling the ginger that goes into the rolls is optional, but we highly recommend it because it looks so pretty. And if you really want to cheat, you can just buy pickled ginger, if you can find any without preservatives.
If you can’t find fresh shiitakes, you can substitute another wild mushroom or thinly sliced portobello, or even use dried shiitakes that have been re-hydrated in purified water.
Wasabi is a very spicy variety of Japanese horseradish — fresh is best but it’s hard to find and extremely expensive. You can buy powdered wasabi at most health food stores and Asian markets and mix with water according to the directions to make a paste.
Try other variations of sushi, using different vegetable fillings.
“I like using jicama as a substitute for rice because it has a sweet quality to it that is similar to the seasoned sweetness of Japanese sushi rice. This is nice to serve if you are having guests. You can prepare all of the components ahead of time (except the avocado, which should always be sliced fresh) and then roll the sushi just before serving. We use biodegradable chopsticks at the restaurant that are made of corn and wheat — I love that.” – SM