Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vegan Lion King Sushi Roll

Have you ever been at a sushi restaurant enjoying your miso soup, avocado/cucumber roll, and inari, but secretly eyeing the warm, gooey Lion King roll that someone else is eating? I have! So I decided to take matters into my own hands. A Lion King sushi roll is typically a California roll topped with salmon and covered in a creamy Kewpie mayo-based sauce, broiled in the oven or with a blow torch. This is my attempt at veganizing it. I never actually tasted one during my pre-vegan days, so I have no clue how close this comes to the real thing.  But I do know that this turned out insanely good due to the special savory/sweet Lion King sauce. Holy smokes. Warm sushi is some good stuff.
Makes 2 sushi rolls
For the spicy tofu roll:
1 cup sushi rice, cooked 
6 oz. firm tofu (I used 1 package of Hodo Soy Beanery firm tofu)
2 tablespoons vegan mayo
½ teaspoon (or more) chili oil, to taste
½ teaspoon (or more) shichimi togarashi, to taste (optional; if you don’t have this you can just increase the amount of chili oil)
½ of an avocado, sliced into strips 
2 sheets sushi nori 
Sushi mat
  1. Cut about 1/3 of the tofu block off and cut that piece into 12 thin slices, about 1/8" thick and 1” wide (to place on top of each piece of sushi). Set aside.
  2. Mash the remaining 2/3 of tofu in a bowl and then add the vegan mayo, chili oil, and shichimi togarashi (if using). Mix well and set aside.
  3. Lay a sheet of nori on your sushi mat (shiny side down).
  4. Place a layer of sushi rice on top (about 1/4 inch thick), leaving a ½ inch gap on each edge.
  5. Place a line of the spicy tofu mixture on the rice, followed by a line of avocado strips.
  6. Roll the sheet as tightly as possible using the sushi mat.
  7. Moisten the edge with water and seal. Set aside and make the second roll. 
For the Lion King sauce:    
2 tablespoons vegan mayo
1½ teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin 
1½ teaspoons sugar
  1. Mix the vegan mayo, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in a small bowl.  
  2. Adjust the amounts accordingly, based on how salty or sweet you want the sauce to be. Set aside.
  1. Turn your oven on to broil.
  2. Using a wet, sharp knife slice each roll into 6 ½-inch thick slices. (remove the not so pretty ends and eat them!) 
  3. Place the cut sushi rolls on a sheet of foil and fold the edges up to prevent sauce from spilling out. Place on a baking sheet.
  4. Top each sushi piece with one thinly sliced piece of tofu. 
  5. Pour half of the Lion King sauce over your rolls, covering all of the tofu.
  6. Place the sushi directly under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes until the sauce begins to brown. 
  7. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls and continue to broil for 2-3 more minutes until it starts to bubble.  
  8. Most of the sauce will have dripped down to the foil, so before serving, spoon some of the sauce back on top of the sushi rolls.  
  9. Optional: Top with black sesame seeds, shichimi togarashi, or sliced scallions for garnish.
  10. Serve warm.
This is definitely one of those dishes that requires some serious ‘mis en place’ action. I didn’t prep things in advance and ended up with a huge mess in my tiny kitchen! I’m also a novice sushi maker, so I probably would’ve benefited from studying a YouTube video on sushi rolling beforehand. If you’d like to save time, you can just fill the sushi with plain tofu strips or tempeh instead of the mashed spicy tofu. With all the yummy Lion King sauce on top, I don’t think the filling really matters.  Enjoy! 
P.S. I have no clue why this is called a Lion King roll. Do you? :)