Thursday, May 29, 2008
When I moved out of home at 18, I jumped straight into the lion's den: New York City. I spent my the better part of my first eight independent years in the greatest city in the world (don't argue with me on this one), and thus there are certain New Yorker attitudes that have been ingrained into my being. I enjoy wearing black, I walk everywhere with efficiency and purpose with little mind to pesky cars, I read the New York Times and do the Sunday crossword with religious regularity, I can recommend a fantastic restaurant in every neighborhood, I miss ordering in any kind of food I want at any hour, I am a strong believer in the power of therapy, and I am devoted to sushi.
There seems to be a sushi bar on every block in New York, right next to the local Starbucks, and I frequented these ubiquitous Japanese haunts more than I'd like to admit. If I wasn't eating sushi out, chances are I was ordering it in. I had my favorites, depending on what neighborhood I found myself in - one near my apartment, one near work, one near my boyfriend's place, one in my sister's area. I was a sushi addict.
There are a few good sushi restaurants in Adelaide, but they are certainly not of the same quality and prevalence as those of New York City. Since going raw, I have actually increased my visits to local sushi spots, as I do not follow a strictly vegan diet. But too much raw fish is actually dangerous, as fish bioaccumulate mercury, and much as I love sashimi I really miss the fun of eating sushi rolls.
Enter the amazing Remedy, a creative and passionate raw lady that South Australia can proudly claim as our own. I was lucky enough to attend a fantastic raw food preparation workshop this past Sunday, and in addition to Anand and Runi's creative recipes and insightful information, we were given the gift of watching Remedy prepare raw vegan sushi. Just watching this glowing beauty, seeing the passion in the way she handled and presented the food, hearing the joy in her voice as she talked about studying raw food preparation and working on opening her own raw cafe in a few months, was enough to convince me to give this dish a try. I'll admit, my first attempt did not taste as delicious as hers, but I really like this idea and how open it is to variation. I've titled it No-No Nori, as it contains no rice and no fish but plenty of raw sushi love! It's bursting with flavor and appeals to the New York sushi addict in me.
Courtesy of Remedy.
This recipe contains 3 parts. I made the yam salad first, then the winter pesto, then build the sushi rolls. You can have so much fun with this recipe; I have infiniate variations in mind.
1 large yam/sweet potato
2 Tbsp coconut oil (if the flavor is too strong for you, use a different oil)
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Tamari
Grate the yam or sweet potato into a large bowl. Add coconut or other neutral oil, lemon juice, grated ginger, salt and Tamari. Mix thoroughly and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
1 cup almonds, soaked for 1-2 hours and drained
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch coriander/cilantro
1/2 bunch parsley or basil
large handful of rocket/arugula
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Pulse almonds and garlic cloves in food processor until you achieve a bread-crumb like consistency. Add herbs (you can vary the herbs based on what is available seasonally), salt and a good drizzle of olive oil, then pulse to combine. Add more olive oil if necessary. You want some texture here, much chunkier than traditional pesto.
1 ripe avocado
1 red capsicum/bell pepper
soft greens, such as fancy lettuce, red oak lettuce, boston lettuce, etc.
small bowl of room temperature water
Cut 1/2 carrot, 1 cucumber, 1 avocado and 1 bell pepper into thin julienne strips. Set aside. Lay nori sheet on a clean, dry cutting board. Place 2-3 lettuce leaves in center, leaving a bit sticking out the ends. Arrange about 2 Tbsp yam salad along the middle of the lettuce leaves, lengthwise. Arrange about 1 Tbsp winter pesto next to yam salad. Top with slices of julienned vegetables. Take far end of nori sheet and roll over fillings toward your body. Roll tightly - this procedure takes some practice! When you are nearly at the end, dip your finger into bowl of water and wet the open end of the nori sheet. Finish rolling and press securely. Let the roll sit for a few minutes before slicing in 4-5 segments. Make as many rolls as you like.
Again, julienne vegetables and set aside. Take remaining cucumber and slice very thinly lengthwise into long strips. Lay strips on cutting board, overlapping each strip slightly with the previous strip. Lay nori sheet on top of layered cucumber strips. Place 2-3 lettuce leaves in center of nori and continue as above. When you are ready to roll, take the end of a knife and gently side it under the ends of the cucumber strips. Lift with the knife so all the cucumber moves as one. Slowly and carefully roll up your sushi. Let sit for a few minutes before slicing.
Remember, you can have so much fun with this! Use different fillings, try other vegetables or pickles, and make your own dipping sauces. I like a simple dipping sauce of tamari with a little bit of wasabi. The key to the sushi taste here is the nori - that essential seaweed flavor that the New York sushi obsessed have come to crave.