Dried shiitake mushrooms are lovely. Rich, woodsy and delectable, they are great to incorporate into patés, soups and chowders. They also work incredibly well in sushi—their chewy and dense texture actually works better than fresh shiitake, and they hold up well to deep-frying. Adding some rich and spicy sriracha-Vegenaise sauce makes everything melt together here fabulously, producing a heavenly bite of sushi that's also very easy to make.
1 cup sushi rice
2 cups water
1 TB rice vinegar
1 TB sugar
1/2 TB salt
5-7 large dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in very hot water for 30 minutes to an hour
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G, whisked with 5 TB water
1 cup cornstarch (stored in the freezer a few hours before frying)
2 nori sheets
1-2 TB sriracha, mixed with 1-2 TB Vegenaise
crushed red pepper, pickled ginger and soy sauce, to serve
Soak the rice in plenty of cold water for about 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly under fresh cold water and place into a rice cooker with the 2 cups of water. Once the rice is ready, place the rice vinegar, sugar and salt into a large glass bowl and place in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Transfer the cooked rice to the glass bowl and stir well. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat several inches of oil over medium-high heat. Drain and destem the mushrooms and slice into strips. Once the oil is ready (test by dropping a pinch of cornstarch into the oil—if it bubbles up immediately, you are ready to fry), dip a few of the mushroom slices in the Ener-G mixture, then coat in some of the cornstarch. Fry for 1-2 minutes and place on a few paper towels to drain.
To assemble your sushi, place a nori sheet (shiny side down) on a sushi mat. Using a sushi paddle, spread an even layer of rice over the sheet. Using your fingers, distribute the rice evenly, using a small bowl of water nearby to keep the rice from sticking to your fingers.
Place half of the mushrooms on the shortest end of the nori sheet. Drizzle with desired amount of sriracha-Vegenaise mixture and slowly and carefully roll it up, keeping it tight as possible. Using a very sharp knife, cut the roll in half and repeat until there are eight rolls. Serve with pickled ginger and soy sauce.