There is no such a thing in traditional Japanese cuisine as a vegetarian nigiri sushi, except the nigiri with tofu skin (and omelette nigiri doesn’t use fish, but it can hardly be called vegetarian). For my sushi bar, which I owned between 2009 and 2013 I created many kinds of vegetarian nigiri – with roasted bell pepper, avocado, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms and sprouts to cater to the tastes of customers who aren’t fish lovers.
1 cup sushi rice,
1 tablespoon rice vinegar,
1 teaspoon sugar,
1 1/2 cups cold water,
1 red bell pepper,
little sesame oil oil,
several nori strips cut from a large sheet of nori,
for serving: soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.
- Rince the rice until the water runs clear and place it in a rice cooker with the cold water. When the rice is cooked, let it stay for 10 minutes before lifting the lid.
- Stir the rice gently with a spatula and fan the excess steam with a fan. Combine the rice vinegar and sugar and fold it gently into the rice. Let it stand for about 20 minutes to cool down, but not completely cold, as nigiri is better made with warmer rice.
- Make as many oblong rice balls as you can using vynil gloves.
- Meanwhile, cut the red bell pepper to diamond shapes large enough to cover the nigiri balls, toss them with a tiny bit of sesame oil and saute them in a cast iron pan. Smear a small amount of wasabi over each rice ball, place a piece of red pepper over them and secure each nigiri with a nori strip.