Monday, 2 March 2015

SUMA: Konnyaku Sushi Two Ways (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Natalie Imbrugia ~ Big Mistake
Foo Fighters ~ I'll Stick Around
Thunder ~ Broken 
Jack Johnson ~ Cupid
Maroon 5 ~ She Will Be Loved
The Cranberries ~ Salvation (Live in Paris)
Buckcherry ~ My Friend (Acoustic)
James Morrison ~ If You Don't Wanna Love Me
Pearl Jam ~ Man Of The Your
Otis Redding ~ Hard To Handle
Clawfinger ~ TheTruth
Garbage ~ The Trick Is To Keep Breathing
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band ~ While We Cry (Live)
Thunder ~ Wonder Days

I had fun creating the dishes for my Suma Bloggers Network posting. Since the new year I have been exploring Japanese cuisine..well the veggie and vegan kind. And I've really been enjoying the research and gathering of ingredients. When it came time to make my Suma Wholefoods ingredients selection I lost myself in their fantastic offerings of Japanese foods. When my box arrived I started scribbling down recipe ideas straight away. And I had so many options...and for that reason I am bringing three recipes to this posting. They have been tested and devoured and I promise you...the dipping sauce is a little addictive. Now some sushi purists could argue that I've strayed a little from traditional Japanese flavourings but I would simply state...these recipes are inspired by the Japanese cuisine. It's taken me some time to find my seaweed love but I really think I'm there. 

Konnyaku...have you heard of this? I confess I hadn't until I was flicking through the Suma catalogue. I ordered some out of curiosity and I have to say when we opened it, it is the most unpleasant food item I've ever smelt. I ordered the brown block which is seasoned with ground kelp. Goodness was an experience. It had my pal Ann fleeing the kitchen in horror whilst I rinsed and re-rinsed the block of shivering jelly. I had researched the product and the uses of so was ready for the jelly/rubbery/wobbly texture. (Am I selling this to you?) But no where in that research did it prepare me for the odour. It's awful so we set about preparing it with the kitchen door and windows open. You initially boil the prepped pieces for 5 minutes and then rinse and drain them. At this point I felt the need to wash the pans used, in an effort to eradicate the smell further. Once the prepped Konnyaku is seasoned and other ingredients are added the smell dissipates. 

Konnyaku is high in fiber, has almost no calories and is widely used as a diet food in Japan. I wasn't aware of this until after my purchase. I decided to divide my block into two parts and use them as the main ingredient in two sushi dishes I had created. Originally I was going to use tofu but was very happy to try something new. For the more traditional style of sushi I went for a spicy addition and then minced down the cooked Konnyaku. For the open sushi I kept the seasons savoury and finished the cooking process by baking the slices off and then finely shredding them to scatter over the fresh veggies. If I'm honest with you I wasn't sure if I would be able to enjoy the texture of Konnyaku...but I surprised myself and enjoyed it very much. And having run the gauntlet of using Konnyaku once and knowing that it takes...well a peg on the nose whilst prepping it...I would happily use it again. 

I made a choice to use brown rice in both my sushi recipes. It is my personal preference but using traditional sushi rice would work well if that's your choice. I spread a thin layer of wasabi paste across the sheets of nori when making the first sushi recipe. This is great for flavour but also assists with the sticking of the rice to the sheet. I scattered over toasted sesame seeds and then placed the asparagus slices, red pepper slices and lemon zests in a row. The minced Konnyaku was placed along the veggies and then the roll was made. I made two rolls and had 16 sushi pieces..some more perfect than others! Ahem! 

I made a dipping sauce using black rice vinegar, Braggs, sugar/stevia, dried chilli flakes and finely chopped fresh coriander. It was delicious and complemented the sushi pieces very well. The sushi itself was of great textures, the individual flavours worked perfectly with the fresh asparagus and slightly spiced Konnyaku. I was extremely happy with this recipe and we both devoured every bite. Ann (incredible friend and willing kitchen bitch helper) has become a little addicted to the dipping sauce. I have warned you twice now..

The open sushi idea came from a trip to my local Chinese warehouse. I found little packets of pre-seasoned nori sheets cut into little rectangle shapes. I instantly had visions of creamy avocado, brown rice and plentiful mounds of fresh veggies. It really was that simple...but the difference in flavours was intense. It is a very different experience entirely as the creamy avocado is the first flavour to hit your tastebuds followed by the nori sheets and as you get munching the fresh flavours of the vegetables come through and then the earthiness of the enoki mushrooms. The final flavour of the savoury konnyaku strips joins the party and blends well with the others. It was also great fun sitting together and building your little stacks...a great platter to share. 

During the recipe testing I also made a dip to go with some lotus chips. The lotus were seasoned with shichimi and I wanted a cooling dip to enjoy with them. I opted for silken tofu, fresh lemon & ginger juices and used a 'new to me' product Umiboshi paste. Believe me when I say just a tiny tip of the tsp was measure enough to balance out my dip. It is a very salty ingredient but you also get the slight pluminess too. It worked very well for my R&R Fragrant Cool Dip 

During the recipe testing day I also made a dessert using Suma Incan Berries. I partially re-hydrated the berries and combined some cooked brown rice with unsweetened almond milk and agave syrup. But I will be posting that recipe soon - bet it has got you intrigued, eh? 

I had a great time creating these recipes and spending the day recipe testing with my pal Ann. We sat down to an evening meal of all the recipes and the banquet was something else. So thank you to Ann for helping rock. And thank you to Suma Wholefoods for allowing me to be part of the Suma Bloggers Network. So time to start plotting once again....
Rocket & Roses Asparagus & Chilli Konnyuka Brown Rice Sushi

Rocket & Roses Asparagus & Chilli Konnyuka Brown 
Rice Sushi    Makes 16 pieces

110g Yutaka Brown Konnyaku 
freshly boiled filtered water

freshly boiled water
3 spring onions, finely sliced
2" piece of fresh ginger, micro-grated
1 large garlic clove, micro-grated
1/2 tsp low sodium salt
1 tsp brown sugar/stevia blend
2 tbsp Braggs (or tamari/soy sauce)
1/2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
1 tbsp extra hot chilli sauce
1 tsp rapeseed oil

2 sheets of Nori
3/4 tsp wasabi paste 
1 cup of seasoned cooked brown rice
toasted black and white sesame seeds
4 thin asparagus, tips removed, stalk sliced into strips
1/3 red bell pepper, thinly stripped
1/4 tsp lemon zest strips
8 tbsp minced chilli konnyaku

Step 1: Rinse the block of konnyaku. Cut into strips and place in a wok and cover with freshly boiled filtered water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the strips onto some kitchen towel and scrub the saucepan. 

Place the strips back into the cleaned saucepan and add the spring onions, ginger, garlic, salt, brown sugar/stevia, Braggs, vegan oyster sauce and extra hot chilli sauce. Stir well to coat the strips. Add enough freshly boiled filter water to just cover the strips and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to leave the mix simmering. Cook until the liquid has cooked off and the strips are slightly sticky. Set to one side to cool. 

Take the cooled strips and using a large knife mince them down and set to one side for sushi assembly.

Step 2: Take one nori sheet and place it on a cling-filmed wrapped sushi bamboo mat. Brush a layer of wasabi paste over the entire sheet. Take the brown rice and press it down over the wasabi pasted sheet, leaving approx 1 1/2" space at the top edge (the furthest away from you). Sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds. 

One inch in from the edge closest to you lay some asparagus strips from one side to the other..try and keep it straight. Do the same with the red pepper strips and sprinkle over some of the lemon zest. Press it down and then add a layer of the minced konnyaku. 

Damp down the bare nori strip at the top with a little water. Start to roll the mat over and gently but firmly pull in the mat to make sure the filling stays inside. Keep with this action until the roll is complete and the dampened nori has sealed against the edge. Remove the mat but keep the cling film wrapped around the roll and set to one side whilst you repeat with the second nori sheet. 

Step 3: Take the two nori rolls and make ready a serving platter. Using a very sharp knife make a slice in the centre of the roll and repeat this 'halving' process until you have eight pieces. Then repeat with the second roll. 

Place the sushi pieces on the serving platter with Rocket & Roses Coriander & Black Vinegar dipping sauce. And devour...

(Original recipe from the Rocket & Rose Vegan Kitchen) 

                           Rocket & Roses Coriander & Black Rice Vinegar Dipping Sauce                               Warning..Highly Addictive!

Rocket & Roses Coriander & Black Rice Vinegar Dipping Sauce   Serves 2

1 tbsp Braggs (or low sodium soy sauce)
2 tbsp black rice vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar/stevia blend
1/8 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

In a small bowl whisk together the Braggs, vinegar, sugar and chilli flakes until the sugar has dissolved completely. Then add the coriander and stir well. Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Pour into a serving dish and get dipping. 

(Original recipe from the Rocket & Rose Vegan Kitchen)

Rocket & Roses Open Avocado & Sesame Konnyaku Strip Sushi

Rocket & Roses Open Avocado & Sesame Konnyaku Strip Sushi   Serves 2 

110g Yukata Brown Konnyaku 
freshly boiled filtered water

2 spring onions, minced
1/2" fresh ginger root, micro-grated
1/2 garlic clove, micro-grated
1/2 tsp low sodium salt
1 tsp brown sugar/stevia blend
1 tbsp Braggs
1/2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp rice mirin
1/2 tbsp ground toasted black sesame seeds

1 pkt seasoned pre cut nori rectangles (approx 10)
1 cup of seasoned cooked brown rice
1 avocado, mashed 
1 carrot, cut into thin noodles
1/4 cucumber, seeds removed and sliced
handful of enoki mushrooms, trimmed & rinsed
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
toasted black and white sesame seeds to scatter

Rinse the block of konnyaku. Cut into thin slices and place in a wok and cover with freshly boiled filtered water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the slices onto some kitchen towel and scrub the saucepan.

Place the konnyaku slices back into the cleaned saucepan. And add to it the spring onion, ginger, garlic, salt, sugar, Braggs, vegan oyster sauce, rice mirin and ground sesame. Stir well to evenly distribute. Add enough freshly boiled water to just cover the slices. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced down and the slices are slightly sticky. 

On a parchment lined baking sheet place the konnyaku slices and cook in a pre-heated hot oven for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for a final 10 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and leave the strips to cool on a wire rack. When the slices are cold, stack three up together and cut into strips across the width. Set to one side.

To assemble: Place the nori sheets on a serving plate along with individual piles of the prepared veggies and rice. Taking one piece of seasoned tofu..spread a small amount of avocado across the centre, followed by a small amount of rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Place strips of red chilli, cucumber, carrot noodles, enoki mushrooms on top of the rice and then finish with some strips of sesame konnyaku. Fold up the sides and then get munching.

(Original recipe from the Rocket & Rose Vegan Kitchen)

So there you go...I hope you try these recipes out and let me know what you think. Thank you as always to Suma for letting be part of the Suma Bloggers Network and to Amy for all her hard work. Right now I'd better get started on planning the 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is a great one! 


NB: These recipes are my creation. I have no problem with you using them or sharing them. I simply ask that you give credit where it's due and provide links back to this posting..many thanks ~R~