Long before there was YOLO, for my husband and me there was PTL. PTL was coined by my husband’s friends to describe his crazy ways growing up in NYC. It stands for Push It to the Limit and for us it essentially became a motto for our relationship, our way of saying, “live life to the fullest.”
When we first started dating, we promised each other that we would never become one of those “boring” couples that stays in rather than going out on a Friday night. It seemed then that we’d never run out of energy, that money would always be expendable, and that the key to living the PTL life was to go nonstop every second of every day and night.
Well, six years, two cross-country moves, a dog, and a wedding later, our ideas have changed a bit. What we once called boring, we now admit might actually be considered relaxing and we’ve come to realize that a night in can sometimes be even more fun than a night out.
For an evening in that is anything but mundane, Jeremy and I love to make our own sushi and this spicy tempeh recipe is one of our favorites. The filling is easy to make, inexpensive, vegan, and mercury-free. Take that, spicy tuna!
Sure, you will need to invest in some sushi rolling mats and the task of making your own sushi can seem daunting at first, but truthfully it is not that hard and is always so so so much fun. After all, how many times in your life is playing with your food not only considered acceptable, but actually encouraged?
Rolling sushi is best done while sipping on a Sapporo and your favorite vegan sake and is sure to result in lots of laughs and a delicious meal. Last summer, we hosted a make your own sushi party and our friends and family are still raving about it. Of course, they loved the spicy tempeh, but they also loved doing something out of the ordinary and having an opportunity to be a bit adventurous.
Boring? I think not.
- For the Spicy Tempeh
- 1 8-oz pkg. tempeh
- ¼ cup vegan mayo
- 1 tsp. hot pepper sesame oil
- 1 tsbp. green onion, chopped
- 4-6 tsp. Srriracha
For the Sushi Rice
- 4 cups cooked sushi rice, prepared according to directions
- 2½ tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1½ tsp. sugar
- 8 sheets nori seaweed
- black sesame seeds
- Add sugar and rice vinegar to prepared sushi rice and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
- Cut the tempeh into 1 inch cubes and steam for 10 minutes.
- Mix together the vegan mayo, hot pepper sesame oil, green onion and Srriracha. Reserve 1 tablespoon to use as garnish.
- Add the mashed tempeh to the remaining spicy mayo and mix well to create the spicy tempeh filling.
- Cut a sheet of nori in half and cover it with about ¼ inch of sushi rice.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the sushi-covered nori and flip it over so that the covered side of the nori is face down on top of the plastic wrap. Line up the bottom edge of the nori (and plastic wrap) with the bottom edge of the sushi mat.
- Place a small amount of spicy tempeh filling along the middle of the nori.
- Using the mat, begin to roll the sushi. As you roll, be sure to peel away the plastic wrap so it doesn't get caught in your roll.
- Once completely rolled, unwrap the sushi roll and roll in black sesame seeds.
- Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the roll into 1-inch pieces.
*Not up for making 8 sushi rolls? Create a deconstructed spicy tempeh roll by serving leftover rice and spicy tempeh filling in a bowl with avocado.
The most important items to notice in the picture are the water and rice vinegar (1/3 cup water and 1 tbsp. rice vinegar) and the sharp serrated knife. The water and rice vinegar tip is one that I got from Veganomicon and I can’t imagine trying to make sushi without it. Dipping your hands in the water helps to prevent the sushi rice from sticking to you and makes the process a whole lot easier. Having a sharp knife is important so that you can easily cut your roll into pieces once you’re finished. The plastic wrap isn’t pictured, but you’ll need it to make the inside out roll.
Then, follow these five simple steps to make a perfect inside-out spicy tempeh roll: (1) Cut a sheet of nori in half and cover it with about 1/4 inch of sushi rice. (2) Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the sushi-covered nori and flip it over so that the covered side of the nori is face down on top of the plastic wrap. Line up the bottom edge of the nori (and plastic wrap) with the bottom edge of the sushi mat. (3)Place a small amount of spicy tempeh filling along the middle of the nori. (4) Using the mat, begin to roll the sushi. As you roll, be sure to peel away the plastic wrap so it doesn’t get caught in your roll. (5) Once completely rolled, unwrap the sushi roll and roll in black sesame seeds.
When Jeremy and I made these the other night, we only made four rolls and then made deconstructed spicy tempeh rolls for dinner the next night by combining the leftover rice and spicy tempeh in a bowl with some avocado.