Came across this tomato sushi while doing some online reading lately. Wow! The chef who came up with this idea is just genius!
I wanted to try this out and initially thought that finding a detailed recipe would be easy. Searches proved against my expectations and I ended up coming up with a recipe of my own.
Online reviews all raved about how similar these tomato sushis looked, felt, and even tasted like the real thing. At least I know that I have one of the challenges covered – putting slices of ripe Roma tomatoes on top of sticky white rice would certainly look like ebi sushi.
As for getting the tomatoes to a texture similar to fish(soft but with some slight chew), I know that sous vide cooking would solve this. It’s just a matter of getting the cooking temperature and time right, which I’ll get to after a few tries.
Let’s deal with the most important aspect of this dish – the flavor. Tomatoes do naturally contain a very high umami profile just as tuna does, but it still needs some marinade of some sort to give it a slight ‘fishy’, or ocean-like taste. A fish-stock would really be an obvious route to consider, but I’ve decided to ditch this option to keep the dish vegan. We’re almost there anyway.
So, how do you get a fish-flavored stock without fish? Seaweed. I’ve simmered two sheets of Nori in about one and a half cups of water. Added a tablespoon of soy sauce and some salt too for more flavor.
Allow this seaweed stock to reduce to about half a cup and strain it through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth. Allow this reduction to cool completely.
This reduction will taste really strong and salty at this point. Don’t worry, we’re really after a strong-flavored marinade to flavor our tomatoes which naturally have a high water content.
While our stock is left to cool, let’s work on the tomatoes. Using a pairing knife, lightly score an “X” pattern over one end of each tomato. This will make the skins come off easier later.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a rapid boil, dunk the tomatoes in. Give them about 30 seconds to a minute in the pot.
Immediately submerge the tomatoes in an ice bath to stop any further cooking. We don’t want them turning too mushy.
The skins should come off easily by now.
Discard the seeds and cut each tomato into quarters.
Put the tomatoes in the seaweed stock and leave to marinate for at least four hours. Overnight would certainly make them more flavorful.
Put the tomatoes together with the marinade in a sous vide bag. You can use ziploc, or a home vacuum sealer.
Cook the tomatoes sous vide for 4 hours at 140F. I use a variety of immersion circulators, but one of my favorites is the Anova Precision Cooker. It’s fairly priced, sturdy, and looks great. Read my full review of their newest model of immersion circulator!
While the tomatoes are cooking, it’ll be good to prepare your sushi rice.
Rinse glutinous white rice and set it in a pot with water in a 1 part rice to 1.5 parts water ratio. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and leave to steam for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring rice vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil just until the sugar dissolves. Stir this vinegar mixture into your cooked rice. It would feel really wet in the beginning but should dry out perfectly after a bit of mixing.
Time to assemble the sushi. This needs no explanation I guess.