Simple nori rice bowls are subtly infused with the tasty sea vegetable. Embellished with crispy tofu, cucumber, and avocado, it’s like veggie sushi deconstructed.
Tofu fans will surely enjoy this easy rendition of rice bowls. The tofu is crisp-cooked, and nori gives the bowl a hint of sushi-like flavor. If you like this sea vegetable, make sure to see A Guide to Nori — With 10 Recipes That Aren’t Sushi.
This is an ideal use for leftover cooked rice, and the combination makes for a delicious lunch or dinner. Depending on the size of your bowls (and appetite), this makes 2 to 3 servings.
What kind of nori should be used? The sea vegetable nori comes in deep green sheets, wrapped in cellophane packages. It’s also available in the form of pre-toasted sushi nori.
Now, of course, nori snacks, which come in almost one-bite sized mini-sheets, have become widely available. There are so many brands to choose from, including Annie Chun’s, Sea Tangle Snacks, and store brands like Trader Joe’s. For this recipe, you have the option of using the this type of nori snack or the kind that comes in sheets. Both work quite well.
For the tofu
- 14-ounce tub extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sriracha, or to taste, optional
For the bowls
- 1 sheet toasted nori or 6 to 8 pieces nori snacks
- 2 to 3 cups cooked rice (brown or white), warm or cold
- 1 to 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, to taste
- Pinch of salt
- 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
- Thinly sliced cucumber as desired
- A handful of cilantro or parsley leaves
- Sesame seeds
- Extra soy sauce for serving
- Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch-thick slices crosswise to get 6 slabs. Blot well between clean tea-towels or several layers of paper towel (or use a tofu press ahead of time). Cut each slab into dice.
- Slowly heat the oil, syrup, and soy sauce together in a skillet or stir-fry pan, stirring together as they heat up.
- Add the tofu and stir quickly to coat. Sauté over medium-high heat until golden-brown and crisp on most sides, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more syrup and/or soy sauce if you’d like, along with sriracha, if you’d like the tofu to be spicier.
- Cut the nori into short narrow strips. Stir most of it into the rice, leaving a little for garnish. Add rice vinegar to the rice, as well as a little salt.
- To assemble: Divide the rice between 2 or 3 bowls (depending on the size of the bowls and appetite). Arrange the avocado, cucumber, and tofu over the surface. Garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds, and reserved nori.
- Serve at once, passing around extra soy sauce if you’d like.
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