08 October 2011

Tutorial: Tofu Musubi

The first week of Vegan MoFo is already over! There has been an overwhelming amount of vegan goodness going around. One can sense the enthusiasm; it's quite something to behold. I'm excited to see what the blogosphere has in store for week number two.

Readers seemed particularly interested in this week's musubi and inari post, so I thought it might be fun to provide a tutorial on how to assemble the musubi. I haven't put together a tutorial for the inari (not yet, at least), but I basically consulted these instructions for preparing the tofu pockets and this post for seasoning the rice (using calrose, not sushi rice). To give the completely assembled inari its cone shape, prior to simmering the tofu skins, I cut them in half diagonally to produce two triangular, rather than rectangular, pockets. For the rice, I simply mixed in finely shredded carrot (squeezed of excess moisture to prevent the filling from discoloring and becoming too wet) and toasted sesame seeds. I've used black sesame seeds, too, for more striking color contrast.

Ready to make musubi? You'll need the following items:

- Freshly steamed white rice, still warm. A medium grain rice like calrose works just fine. Just use something that will stick to itself; avoid longer, less sticky grain rice like basmati or jasmine. You don't need to use sushi rice, but can if you prefer.
- Seasoned tofu of choice, cut into 1/4" to 1/2" thick, rectangular slabs. Baked tofu works well, but you can probably use whatever filling you want.
- Yaki nori (roasted seaweed) sheets, each cut into three or four strips of equal size.
- Plastic cling wrap

- Optional: musubi press. The rice can be formed by hand, as you'll see momentarily.
Time to assemble musubi!

Step 1: Have all of your supplies on hand and ready to go.
Step 2: If using a musubi press, lay a piece of cling wrap on a flat work surface, placing your mold atop it. (Instructions for pressing the rice without a mold will be at the end of the tutorial.)
Step 3: Fill the mold with approximately 1/2 c of steamed rice. Lay another piece of cling wrap over the top of the mold, so that the wrap will be between the rice and the plunger. Insert the plunger into the mold (from the top), pressing down to compact the rice. Remove the musubi press so that all that remains is the rice and plastic wrap. I like to do this by keeping the plunger pressed down, pulling the mold up over it, then carefully peeling the plunger and plastic wrap from the top of the rice cake.
Step 4: Gently place the rice cake at one of the long ends of a cut piece of nori. (It's actually easier to press the rice directly atop the nori, but I didn't realize that until after I had begun this particular process.) Place a piece of tofu atop the rice cake. Fold the rice and tofu over onto the strip of nori, rolling it until you reach the end of the strip while keeping the filling wrapped as tightly as possible without breaking the nori. The heat of the rice should make the nori stick to itself; if not, lightly wet the end and press it against the roll so that it does stick.
*You can also make musubi that has rice that sandwiches the filling, which ends up being double the amount of rice. To make this rather large type of musubi, do the following:

Step 1: Press the rice as you would in Step 3 above. Before removing the mold, place a piece of tofu atop the pressed rice.
Step 2: Fill the mold with a second layer of rice. Press it as you did for the first layer, encasing the tofu in the middle. Remove the mold and plunger.
Step 3: Roll the musubi as shown in Step 4 above.
*To press the rice without any special equipment:

Step 1: Place 1/2 c of steamed rice over cling wrap that is cupped in one hand.
Step 2: Tightly pull up the edges of the cling wrap, twisting it while pressing the rice. Form the rice into a flat, oblong cake.
Step 3: Carefully untwist the plastic wrap, remove the rice cake, and proceed to assemble the musubi as you would in Step 4 above.


  1. Oh no. Add another kitchen tool to my want list. This looks too good not to make! Thanks for sharing.

  2. veganinbrighton10/8/11, 1:25 PM

    This is so awesome! I really need a musubi press now too.

  3. Oooo! That press is so neat. Great step by step :)

  4. Oh, so very kewl!  Excellent step by step.  I've been doing the nigiri sushi by hand but your way with the plastic wrap looks so much easier.  And the press, well, I need one now...beautiful food!

  5. Beautiful photos this looks so good!

  6. Thank you! thank you! thank you! The step-by-step is so great, I can't wait to try it! :-)

  7. Fanny G (Northernveg)10/9/11, 5:28 AM

    Awesome! I've never seen anything like this but I will make sure to try it out.

  8. Vivacious_siren10/10/11, 11:06 PM

    Wow before I became vegetarian I LOVED musubis!!!! I've only had a tempeh musubi which was really good. This looks so good and easy to make definitely going to be a staple meal! Thank you for posting this!


Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)