A year or two ago, I had placed some bell peppers among other things in a marinade which got shoved into the back of my fridge and forgotten for a couple of days. When I took them out, I noticed the peppers had gotten really soft and kind of resembled salmon. However, they didn’t taste very good, but it got me thinking about how I could replicate this texture while removing that bitterness.
What I decided to do was combine mirin (my thought was that the sweetness would help neutralize that bitterness) and rice vinegar (which would cook the peppers). Would it work after a couple of days?
Yes! Although slicing off the thin but sturdy skin on the outside was essential to developing a consistently silky texture that was perfect for draping over rice to make a cute “salmon” sushi. Does this taste like salmon? Not at all. Does it look like salmon? Kind of! Does it taste good on its own and make a great little vegan sushi dish? You bet.
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for the bell pepper
- 2 orange bell peppers
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
for the sushi rice
- 1 cup sushi rice, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and rinsed several times
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- white and black sesame seeds
- pickled ginger and wasabi
- soy sauce
to prepare the bell peppers
- Slice off the tops and pull out the seeds and slice away any white, pithy skin inside. Slice in half, then slice the halves into halves to make a total of 8 pieces. Repeat with the other pepper.
- Slice away the paper-thin skin on the outside of the pepper slices. Do this by placing the strip so it’s pointing at 1 o’clock away from you, then slide a sharp knife under it so you can slice off the top while also taking off as little of the flesh under the pepper as possible. Repeat with the remaining slices. The pieces don’t have to be uniform.
- Combine the mirin and rice vinegar in a tupperware or glass container and place the peppers inside, adding a little more mirin or rice vinegar as needed to cover. Just keep a 2:1 ratio of the liquids.
- Allow the peppers to marinate in the fridge for 2 days. During this time, they will soften.
to make the sushi rice
- Place the rice and water into a rice cooker and cook according to the manufacturer instructions. Once done, season with the rice vinegar, sugar and salt and set aside to cool.
to assemble the nigiri sushi
- Run your hands under cold water, then take out a bit of the rice and mold into a football shape, about the size of your thumb. Rinse your hands each time before you return to the rice. Repeat until you have 16 pieces.
- Place a strip of the softened, marinated pepper over each piece of rice, garnishing with sliced scallions and sesame seeds as desired. Serve with soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Marinating Time: 48 hours
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Appetizer, Dinner
- Method: Marinating
- Cuisine: Japanese
Keywords: vegan sushi, bell pepper sushi