Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mushroom Nigiri Sushi

Raw fish is not for everyone's taste buds, but my Mushroom Nigiri Sushi is built to please. Thick-sliced, and tender sauteed mushrooms make a tasty vegetarian nigiri sushi.

Sushi comes in many guises. Usually it's raw or cured like Mackerel; sometimes the fish is fully cooked, like Unagi (Japanese eel, topped with a sticky sweet sauce;) and even scrambled eggs formed into a yellow block, called Tamago, is presented balanced on ovals of sushi rice.

Sticky Sushi Rice is the unifying ingredient. A ping pong ball-sized mound of rice is squeezed and formed, then the sauteed mushroom slice(s) is placed on top. You can buy a sushi rice plastic mold to press the rice into, or just do it by hand. I recommend cooking a small pot of sushi rice and practice forming rice ovals. I was sloppy at first, but quickly got better at it. While not perfectly formed, the rice held together, even when dipped in soy sauce.

You can get my Sushi Rice video recipe by clicking here. And make sure to have a small bowl of water nearby when squeezing together sushi rice - you have to keep your hand moist so the rice doesn't stick to your fingers.

The basic ingredient list is short: sauteed mushroom, sushi rice, sliced green onion and a dipping sauce (optional.) Everyone knows how cheap white rice is. I get a pound and a half for about a dollar.

Mushrooms are much more expensive, but even that turns up frequently in my local 99c only Store. I like to use large portabella mushrooms, as they fit nicely on ovals of sushi rice. You could even use easy-to-get and cheaper white button mushrooms.

Portabella mushrooms take a little extra cleaning. Just brush off any dirt and remove the stem. And it's best to scrape out the black gills underneath the mushroom cap. I slice each mushroom in half. That seems like large pieces, but they shrink considerably while sauteing. For small white mushrooms all you need to do is clean and slice them in half, stem and all.

If you've been following my Sushi Video Series then add this mushroom recipe to any sushi video you've bookmarked. Tryout sauteed mushrooms instead of spicy tuna for a vegetarian hand roll; or stuff a regular roll with cooked mushrooms.

My bite-sized vegetarian Mushroom Nigiri Sushi is earthy and tasty, plus it's one meaty morsel -- enough to tantalize anyone's taste buds.

Ingredients (about 4 pieces)
  • Portabella mushrooms - 5 ounce package. Okay to use any type of mushrooms including easy-to-get white button.
  • 1 cup cooked Sushi Rice - my recipe is a click away, here.
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil - any favorite.
  • Chopped green onion for garnish - optional.

Dipping Sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce - I like low sodium.
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or sake - optional
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil - or a favorite olive oil.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar - or favorite sweetener. Okay to add more, to taste.
*You can also dip (or drizzle-on) the Mushroom Nigiri Sushi a favorite store-bought Teriyaki sauce.

Make Sushi Rice first, and for my direction, click here.

For portabella mushrooms brush off dirt. Break off the stem. Underneath the mushroom cap are black feathery gills that are best removed. I use a spoon and gently scrape them off. If you break a piece of the mushroom cap, don't worry as you can still use that as well.

Once the portabella caps are cleaned and gills removed, slice in half. Each slice will be cooked and placed on formed rolls of Sushi Rice.

To prepare regular button mushrooms, just clean off any loose dirt and slice each one in half, to get a flat surface.

Heat a frying pan to medium and add a tablespoon of cooking oil. Add the mushroom slices and allow to cook 3 to 5 minutes until soft. Don't stir or handle too much at the beginning to keep them from breaking apart, but again, if they do they can still be used.

While mushrooms are sauteing make the Dipping Sauce from the ingredients list above. Just mix the soy sauce, wine or sake, sesame oil and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.

If you have a favorite teriyaki sauce you could use that instead.

Thinly slice green onion for an eatable garnish - discard stringy root and yellowing stem segments.

You can also start making Sushi Rice ovals for the cooked mushrooms. Click here to see my detailed directions.

Once the mushroom slices are cooked through and soft, remove from heat and set aside for final sushi assembling.

To assemble simply place a mushroom slice (or smaller button mushroom pieces) on a prepared Sushi Rice oval. Drizzle on a small amount of Dipping Sauce and top with a few thin slices of chopped green onion.

(For a slight spicy version put a dab of horseradish or wasabi under the mushroom slice or directly on the rice.)

You can treat Mushroom Sushi like regular sushi and skip my Dipping Sauce. Just hold sushi and dip it mushroom-side into into soy sauce (or drizzle some on top, if the mushrooms are chopped into smaller pieces.)

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