Buddha-approved Yum-stuffed Papaya

Last Friday was Buddha’s birthday, and I was lucky to enjoy this public holiday almost completely without work. Since I haven’t posted any recipes lately, I though this sweetie would definitely be worth it – I’m sure even Buddha himself would have approved and appreciated this!

Quinoa and Mango Stuffed Papaya

– 1 ripe mango
– 1 papaya
– (cooked or sprouted) quinoa, amount depending on the size of your papaya
– coconut cream
– vanilla, cinnamon, salt according to taste

This is not quite what you are aiming for, but close
This is not quite what you are aiming for, but close

Cut the end of your papaya off, and scoop the insides out: first the seeds, then flesh (or then cut the fruit half lengthwise, and carve the flesh). Cut your mango into small pieces, and mix it with some of the papaya flesh. Combine fruits with cooked quinoa, and season according to your taste. Fill the carved papaya with the mixture, and pour some coconut cream in.

In case it’s a special occasion, i.e Buddha’s birthday, garnish your Papaya stuff with cocoa nibs, bee pollen or whatever goodies you have in hand and prefer. Another good option is to boil your quinoa in tea, it gives some extra flavor. Other fruit than mango would work too, but I like the mushy, soft textures and intense flavor of mango together with papaya. Pictured is my this morning’s breakfast with watermelon and apple – a bit more crunch, no cool stuffing involved. My papaya creation didn’t make it to picture before it was all gone. Wonder why…

Education of the day: Quinoa is super good in so many ways – complete amino acid profile, whole source of vegan protein, it’s gluten-free and hella versatile to use! If I will start posting more recipes as soon as I land back to the dear Motherland and have loads of free time (10 days, FYI), you are sure to see some quinoa stuff coming up. Try it instead of rice. Way, way better, in all possible ways. Paleo-friendly and possibly suitable for all other cool diets lifestyles you can come up with. Some more education: Buddha died supposedly due to overdosing on magical mushrooms. You gotta take which and how much shrooms to take, man!

Oooooommmm and namaste.

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How I Roll

Sushi, probably the best-known definition of Japan and the Japanese cuisine, is definitely one of my favorite things to eat and make myself. Rather than the conventional white rice rolls and balls topped with all sorts of sea creatures, I prefer to jazz things up a bit. By “a bit” I mean skipping the rice, which technically makes these rolls not sushi, since sushi is based on su-meshi¬†rice. Sushi or not, these rolls are as modifiable as far as your imagination goes, and my results have always been rather pleasing.

Here’s few ideas on What and How to Roll.
If you want your rolls raw, opt for ingredients that require no cooking (duh). If heating is not a problem, then you have more options to choose from. Since there is no need for washing, soaking, boiling and waiting for the rice to cool, the rolls are ready to be devoured quite quickly. Fast food at its’ best, specially if you don’t cut them!

Step 1: “Rice”
First of all, the base of the roll doesn’t need to be rice-like. You can opt for quinoa in stead of rice, or puree or chop some cauliflower into tiny bits to make it resemble rice (add some cashews for extra creaminess). Sprouts, salad or chopped cabbage work as well – the result just won’t be so conventional sushi-like. If you use cabbage, sprinkle it with some salt and squeeze excess liquid out. Mixing some chia seeds in gives more texture, but also helps to bind the moisture. If the base is too moist, it might be hard to roll and the nori might break.

Chopped veggies for filling
Chopped veggies for filling

Step 2. Veggies
Go crazy. Anything works – the more color, the prettier! Avocado gives creaminess, carrots and bell peppers are nice and crunchy, mushrooms are always good…try your favorites, but don’t over-stuff the roll – you’re supposed to be able to actually roll it (or then just eat it like a temaki handroll, but still it shouldn’t be too fat). If you wish, season the fillings with wasabi, pepper or which ever spices you wish.

Few favorite combos:
Sprouts, avocado, fresh mint and mango
Cauliflower “rice”, avocado, cucumber, red bell pepper
Salad, strawberries, cucumber, fresh basil

Cabbage-chia (mushroom powder) base with veggies, ready to be rolled
Cabbage-chia (and mushroom powder) base with veggies, ready to be rolled

Step 3: Ready to Roll
Place a nori sheet on a dry cutting board (or use sushi bamboo rolling mat). Spread your “rice” evenly, leave about 1/3 of the top of the nori without filling. Top the “rice” evenly with veggies, and hope for the best. Moisten the top edge with water, fold the front edge over the fillings. Keep rolling until the end, making a firm tube. Place the seam on the cutting board, and use your best knife to cut even pieces.

Quality nori and knife are essential in cutting the rolls
Quality nori and sharp knife are essential in cutting the rolls!

 

The rolls are best served with tamari/shoyu soy sauce, with gari (pickled ginger). And what’s sushi without misoshiru (soup)? Oh, and edamame (soy beans) would make a perfect appetizer to this. All to be enjoyed with a nice pot of sake and a cup of green tea, of course.

Itadakimasu!
Itadakimasu!

Have you tried making sushi yourself? What is your favorite kind of sushi – conventional, fusion or other?