Mar 17, 2009

Brown Rice Sushi and Deep Fried Pickles

Yes, this is a strange meal for St. Patty's Day... but I've just never been able to get into this holiday. I've never had Irish stew or corned beef and cabbage (although some of the recent vegan posts do look quite appealing). The only memory I have is of getting pinched in elementary school for not wearing green! Not that I've been scarred or anything (eh-hem!), but aren't those little leprechauns kinda scary, like clowns? Who here was(is) afraid of Ronald McDonald? Well, that's another story...

I do, however enjoy green foods- as long as it's not from an artificial dye #5 or ground up beetles, or some unknown chemical process!

So, here is my contribution- that has nothing to do with St. Patrick, except for the Luck 'o the Irish green. I'm not sure that fried pickles goes with sushi, but hey- it's California and we're crazy like that. I've been told that avocados are not a traditional sushi ingredient, but I can't think a good vegan sushi roll without it! Yay for the California Roll!

I made three variations of sushi. The one shown above is an "inside out roll" with the nori on the inside and the rice and avocado on the outside. The brown rice (actually a mix of 1/3 quinoa and 2/3 brown rice) was made a bit stickier by adding a bit more water in the rice steamer. How much? My guesstimate is about 1/2 cup more than usual. It is filled with a spicy chickpea "tuna" mixture and pea shoots.

NOTE: It helps to have a good sharp, finely serrated knife (which I didn't have)! To help out my lack of tools, clear plastic wrap was my savior both in rolling it and holding the roll together while I cut it... a trick taught to me by my friend who is a sushi chef.

The above picture is my nigiri "seatbelt" sushi, as we call it. This is an easy alternative to those who are sushi-roll challenged. The hard part is making sure that the rice is packed firm so it won't fall apart when picked up. I made this one with short grain white rice. NOTE: Make sure your hands are wet when handling sticky rice... no explanation needed.

To make this, simply make an oblong ball of rice in your hands by holding and shaping the rice in one hand, and compressing the rice with the other hand. Layer seasoned baked tofu (or tofu of choice- I made a teriyaki marinade and sauce) and a thin slice of avocado. Cut roasted nori into 1/2"-1" strips and wrap with the seam side down. I topped mine with some roasted white sesame seeds and also drizzled some home made teriyaki sauce.

Lastly, this was my attempt at a hand roll variation with the spicy chickpea "tuna." I started with half a sheet of roasted nori, and spread a layer of sushi rice and chickpea mixture in one of the lower corners. Then, I just rolled it into a cone shape and topped with a little more of the mixture, some black sesame seeds, and pea shoots. This would be great with cucumber too. These were probably the easiest to make, but a little messy to eat!

And now for the Pickles! If I haven't already mentioned, Mark (my housemate) is originally from England and came over here when he was about 18. He's also owned a couple of restaurants and loves to cook. Needless to say, he makes a mean fish 'n' chips! For these babies, it was a similar batter- very light and crispy, with the use of seltzer water. Mark had picked up this HUGE can of Costco-sized sliced dill pickles, and has been promising to make these for like a year! Finally, dude! Cee said they tasted like good salt and vinegar chips, and we ate these dipped in my creamy cucumber dill sauce. This was a very non-traditional "tempura" to my sushi, but very tasty and my first time trying them! I only ate one, as I don't like to eat too many fried foods, but these can be addictive- be careful!

Here are the recipes:

Sushi Rice Seasoning
  • 3 T. rice vinegar
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dark sesame oil
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if you like your sushi rice sweeter (as my husband does). Spread out about 3 cups of room-temp rice on a plate, making sure it's pretty even. Drizzle seasoning lightly over the rice with a spoon (don't use all of it). Mix the rice and taste. Add more seasoning until it's the strength you like.

Baked Teriyaki Tofu & Sauce:
  • 1 pkg extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 C. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 C. water
  • brown sugar
  • 1 T. mirin (rice wine)
  • orange rind of one orange
  • orange juice of one orange
  • few thin slices of ginger
  • 2-3 T. arrowroot & a little water
In a saucepan, mix everything except the arrowroot. Drain the tofu and slice into small rectangles (about 1/2" thick). Gently pat them dry with a towel to remove excess water. Place the rectangles onto a prepared baking sheet and spoon teriyaki mixture over the tops. Flip them over to completely coat, and bake for about 10 min. at 425. Heat the remaining sauce until boiling. In a cup, add a the arrowroot, then add a little water to dissolve. Whisk this slurry into the boiling sauce until thickened to a thin gravy consistency. Take off heat and set aside to cool.

Spicy Chickpea "Tuna":
  • 1 15oz. can of chickpeas, drained
  • 2-3 T. shredded nori
  • 2 T. Vegenaise
  • Siracha sauce
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
Roughly mash the chickpeas and mix in the remaining ingredients. Adjust the spicyness by adding more Siracha as needed. I didn't add this, but minced green onions would be good in it.

Fried Pickles:
  • @25oz. jar of sandwich sliced dill pickles (more or less)
  • 1 C. all purpose flour + small amount to dust pickles with
  • 1 C. Seltzer water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
Dip pickles in flour until lightly coated, shaking off excess. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk in seltzer water until you get a thin pancake consistency. Dip the pickles in the batter and fry.


  1. I've never eaten deep fried pickles before, but those look good... and high calorie, so they must be delicious! ;)

  2. i've had deep fried pickles in my pregan days and they are awesome. i can't wait to make these vegans. i love your blog: lovey-lovey-love-love. keep spinnin' the hits!

    xo jewy

  3. looks amazing! I've never tried my hand at making my own sushi... or deep frying anything, either :) but I think I'm gonna start!

  4. your sushi looks so pretty...and tasty!

    i have been looking for a good "tuna" recipe for ages...thanks!!

  5. deep fried pickles? I wouldn't be able to say no and stop eating them. I have a big pickle addiction.

  6. I have a pickle addiction too. lol Oh, the temptation!

    Meanwhile, these are fantastic. How did you get them so neat and professional looking? Wish I was neat like that with food prep. Lucky if it lands on the plate half the time ;)

  7. I can't find brown sushi rice. Can you just use plain brown rice for this? It doesn't seem like it. mmm I want sushi so bad now!

  8. @Catatonic Kid: They only look like that after a bunch of "rejects" get eaten, which is the main reason why I'm usually too stuffed to eat my finished products! Haha!

    @Tracy: If you can't find brown sushi rice, a short or medium grain brown rice will work. It's much easier if you put it into a hand roll and not inside-out. I was able to keep it pretty intact with the help of the avocado too.

  9. That sushi looks incredibly good, and the fried pickles are decadent-- a must-try!

  10. I do love me some sushi, and your variations sound so creative and exciting- I'd love to try them!

  11. gorgeous sushi! i love all your ingredients.

    and fried pickles! YES! i am a nut for them, but i can only find one place (like 30 minutes) away that serves them. i am so making this recipe!

  12. Are you serious with those fried pickles?? I love you :)

  13. I adore all your sushi! It's so pretty (and it all sounds so delicious!). I've always been too intimidated to try sushi. I love the idea of the avocado on the outside.

  14. I've always wanted to try fried pickles! Yum!

  15. Fried pickles are so good! I love that it became the tempura part of the meal. I have to give the spicy "tuna" rolls a try. They sound awesome!

  16. We make these deep friend fritters called Bajjis with gram flour. I have to try with the pickles next time around...mmmm Mixing soda water into the batter is a great idea!

    All those 'Sushi' rolls look yum!!

  17. Can I marry you lol? I love your recipes and creativity. I see a kindred spirit in that I make and/or adapt all of my recipes according to my health --and taste! -- needs. We're dairy-free, and often vegan, and big-time food lovers. Thanks again for some fun new recipes and a busy holiday of cooking/baking now in store for me. Such beautiful entries! Sara