Making Vegan Sushi for Beginners

We bought sushi once, granted it was from a supermarket, but we did not enjoy it. We found it bland, and the sauce was very hot…very hot.

Fast forward some years later, we make vegan food now, we run a small business, and Ma Dolla has fully committed to her true calling of fine flavor and unique combinations.

The exact way we got here is unclear, but Ma Dolla decided weeks ago, we are going to make Vegan Sushi.

We were skeptical. Really skeptical.

We’ve used nori in many recipes and dishes and we were always pleasantly surprised by the flavor and consistency of this lovely and versatile ingredient. Though, when thinking about Sushi we were reserved.

I mean it is an inherently odd concept, coming from a Western food background anyway. Sushi is cold, it is soft flavors, yet incredibly complex and the wasabi sauce adds such density to it.

Pa Dolla was not excited.

Other Dollas were, very excited. We were encouraged to practice, and we received a lot of support saying we will perfect the technique.

This must be one of the first times Ma Dolla actually pre-made the sushi. Before the day we would take it to Social Eats Market at Twisted Realms for our first time back, we tested it out.

Skeptical and all thumbs we let Ma Dolla do her thing…

And then we were pleasantly surprised yet again.

Sushi is steeped in tradition. In the weeks leading up to our ‘dress rehearsal’ Ma Dolla watched all the videos she could find.

In Japan there are masters, who have been making Sushi all their lives exclusively. It is a proud part of their cuisine and we encourage the Dollas to have a look at the history of the dish. Respect the masters, and honour their intention.

So keep in mind, we are making a sushi, not the sushi. Also note, the dish is not about fish. It is not about raw fish or even wasabi, it is about rice.

Loads of vegans figured this one out, and there are tons of videos from all over the world about how to prepare this incredible meal in your own home.

Plenty research has gone into ‘faking’ both fish aesthetic, and taste, but we did not lean into that Vegan Idea with our preparations.

Sushi is about rice. It is not simply nori rolls or even California Rolls, it is about rice. So you are going to need all the rice….really, all the rice.

Depending on how much you want to make etc.


Now, the How of Sushi, from a South African Vegan Business.

Start with the rice, yep, loads of rice.

Mix rice vinegar and sugar together, we used four teaspoons to more or less a cup of vinegar. Pour over the warm rice, blend well, and then let the rice cool.

Then the world is literally open for your ideas.

Ma Dolla did stick to more traditional flavor combinations, at times, with sweet potato, tofu – we made this ourselves with Chickpea Flour – and mushrooms marinated in Chinese Bean Miso Sauce.

Then we got creative.

We prepared strawberries with balsamic vinegar, combined it with Asparagus lightly fried in low oil. Cucumber and pink ginger, cucumber and asparagus, Ma Dolla added radish and Jalapeno to one Nori Roll.

We made eight flavor combinations, and then when we made it again, we added some more combinations.

Yes, we have not made Sushi four times.

It sold out at Twisted Realms, at the most amazing Foodie Market. Ma Dolla took it to Walkerville and it was successful again. Quite a bit of people shared Pa Dolla’s skepticism, which despite everything is still pretty strong.

*Pa Dolla is allergic to iodine, common in shellfish, and also present in Nori. One more of our Dollas has this allergy as well, so there are allergens present.

We made the Sushi for one of our Dollas after the market, and she liked it, but not as much as the Bunny Chow.

We knew sushi was popular before and shook our heads at its success, but since making it ourselves, we understand.

We preparing your own, the ingredients are readily available. Simply go to your local Asian Restaurant or Outlet, the restaurant owners were super helpful, supportive, and when they heard we make it Vegan they were curious.

A few notes: the nori is dense, wet a really sharp knife before cutting.

Be sure to wrap the roll as tight as possible.

Pack the rice tightly, as flat as you can. When making the inside out rolls this is very important.

There is no hard limit to what you can put into a Sushi roll.

We used strawberries, asparagus, even Vegan Cream Cheese, using the recipe for our Vegan Mayo.

This dish is incredibly universal, modern, traditional, adaptable, set in its ways, and truly delicious. It is hearty, filling, when all the preparations are done right, more or less easy to make, and it’s a lovely way to sit down and eat together, out of one dish, off one plate.

Now, to self-promote here, we will be making Platters on order. The preparation is an extensive process, and we want to gaurantee freshness.

Happy rolling, Dollas.

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