New Sushi Quinoa – Vancouver based company Top Tier Foods has developed a Canadian grown alternative to Japanese sushi rice: Sushi Quinoa, the first quinoa product of its kind. I sat down earlier this week with Blair Bullus, the president of Top Tier Foods, to get more details on this exciting innovation.
Unlike other kinds of quinoa, Sushi Quinoa is sticky and can be cooked and flavoured just like sushi rice. As Blair explains, “Sushi is such a traditional thing,” and his team was dedicated to honouring that tradition. “We focused really closely on the characteristics of Japanese rice,” he continues, “how it falls apart in your mouth, how it cooks… We wanted to replicate what people expect when they think of Japanese rice.” So, together with a team of students from the British Colombia Institute of Technology, Top Tier foods set to work developing a quinoa that would satisfactorily replicate the texture of sushi rice. When they succeeded, they turned to world-renowned sushi Chef Tojo – who also happens to be the inventor of the California roll- to ensure that their product was truly authentic. Not only did Chef Tojo give Sushi Quinoa his stamp of approval, but he also incorporated it into his restaurant menu. “Tojo thinks that in three years, Sushi Quinoa will be everywhere,” Blair says.
When I asked him what the big differences were between white sushi rice and Sushi Quinoa, Blair explained that Sushi Quinoa can be used exactly like sushi rice, however, it has a slightly subtler flavour. It is milder, if perhaps a little nuttier, and allows for the flavours of other ingredients in a roll to come through. For this reason, Sushi Quinoa pairs nicely with delicate flavours, ones that perhaps would be imperceptible if served with white rice.
Quinoa is also much more nutritious than white rice. With 6 grams of protein per serving, it provides a nice alternative to white rice for vegan and vegetarian sushi-lovers. In fact, Top Tier Foods recently partnered with Ocean Hugger Foods, a company making vegan “tuna” sashimi out of tomatoes. Ocean Hugger Food’s mission is to help reduce over-fishing by providing plant-based alternatives to fish. However, plant-based “fish” has little to no protein content, if served with white rice. Serve it with Sushi Quinoa, however, and that problem is solved! Quebec based company Yuzu Sushi is also using Sushi Quinoa in order to expand its options for vegan and vegetarian customers. Blair explained how glad he is to be able “support sustainability through these partnerships,” and to provide options to people looking to incorporate plant-based foods into their diets.
A little something to get you started:
I asked Blair for a recipe you can make at home. He recommended that you first watch one of hundreds of Youtube videos about how to roll sushi, and then try out what he calls a “Knock off of Tojo’s Celebration Roll”: Just wrap up some smoked salmon, pickles, roasted red pepper, mayonnaise, avocado and baby corn in some Sushi Quinoa and enjoy!
So, if you’re looking for a fun meal you can make with the kids, or you’re a sushi expert looking to try something new, or you want to impress a vegan date with a nutritious and beautiful home cooked meal, why not give Sushi Quinoa a go? You can find Sushi Quinoa on Amazon, at T&Ts and Whole Foods Markets across Canada, and at Yuzu Sushi restaurants in Quebec.
By: Charlotte Esme Frank – firstname.lastname@example.org