Tag Archives: sushi rice

Convenience Foods: Inari Sushi

Inari sushi are one of my favourite specialty sushi at the all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants I frequent. If you’re watching your pocket book, however, they’re a snap to make at home with just a few ingredients. Traditionally filled with cooked and seasoned sushi rice, they may be served plain or topped with egg salad, tuna salad or a variety of other sushi fillings. I’ve also filled the tofu pockets with a somen noodle seafood mixture and with leftover Arborio seasoned Korean style (Yubu Chobap).

You can make your own fried and seasoned tofu pockets, but why bother, when you can buy a can of 16 half pockets for a fairly reasonable price (~$5 CDN, locally) and save yourself the mess? Leftover tofu pockets freeze well in the seasoning liquid once the can has been opened, so they’re practical for single diners.

Seasoned Fried Tofu Pockets

Lap Cheong Sausage Inari Sushi

Lap Cheong Sausage Inari Sushi – makes 15-16 inari sushi

1 cup raw sushi rice, cook as per package instructions
4 lap cheong sausages
2-3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar to season the cooked sushi rice
1 can Hime brand inarizushi

Optional add-ins:
1/4 cup of finely cubed cooked carrot, thawed frozen peas or thawed corn kernels (omitted)
6-8 shiso leaves, julienned
a couple of sweet Japanese thin omelettes (usuyaki tamago), rolled and cut into 1/8 inch strips

Once cooked, you’ll have about 3 cups of rice, enough to fill 15-16 inari sushi. When cooking the sushi rice, lay the sausages over the top of the rice, cook, then remove the sausages and dice. Add the diced sausage to the cooked rice and cut in along with the rice vinegar.

For ease of stuffing the tofu pockets, use 2-3 tablespoons of the rice mixture, shape into an oval and insert it into the opened tofu pocket.

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Gyudon (Japanese Beef Rice Bowl)

A donburi is a delicious and easy-to-make bowl of sushi rice. There are a number of variations depending on the toppings.

I haven’t had the the beef version or ‘gyudon’ before but I had some leftover steak from my ‘shooter’s sandwich’ so I threw this together.

Gyudon (Japanese Beef Rice Bowl) – serves 1

Ingredients of the Dish

1 cup hot cooked sushi rice (unseasoned) or regular cooked rice
1 recipe for ‘simmering sauce’
2 oz/ 57 gm thinly sliced leftover steak
2 tbsp leftover onion/mushroom mixture, from the ‘Shooter’s Sandwich’**
poached egg (optional)
garnishes – thinly sliced green onion, toasted black or white sesame seeds

** In the absence of the onion/mushroom mixture, half and thinly slice 1/3-1/2 medium onion and poach in the simmering sauce until soft before adding the sliced steak to warm through.

Simmering Sauce

1/2 cup dashi stock (or 1/2 cup water and 1 tsp dashi powder, or 1/2 cup chicken stock)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar (brown sugar may be used)
1 tbsp sake (dry white wine may be used)
1/2 tsp wasabi paste (optional)

Simmer together in a small pan or wok.

Assembly/Serving the Rice Bowl

Add the hot cooked rice to a deep bowl.

To the pan of simmering sauce, add the steak and onion/mushroom mixture and stir through just long enough to warm the steak through. With a slotted spoon, transfer the steak and onion/mushroom mixture to the top of the hot rice, leaving behind the majority of the simmering sauce. You may poach the egg in the sauce, place it on top of the steak in the bowl and then spoon the sauce around the periphery of the bowl. Scatter the green onion and/or sesame seed garnish on top. Serve.

An alternative to poaching the egg is to lightly scramble it in a small bowl, and then add it to the simmering sauce in the wok. Stir the egg through the sauce just long enough to cook/poach the egg and then spoon the egg and the sauce around the periphery of the bowl. Garnish and serve.

Some more pretty pics of the Shooter’s Sandwich … next time, I’d put the mushroom underneath the steak to make cutting neater


Chirashi Sushi (Scattered Sushi) and More

Eating out at one of the local sushi restaurants is a great treat, but, when I’m strapped for cash, I make my own.

There are many rolled and shaped types of sushi but this version is one of the easiest to make and requires no special equipment or rolling skills. And nori (seaweed) is not needed.

You can serve/assemble this dish in whatever container you’ve got … a special sushi bowl, a bento box or just a pretty bowl that’s large enough to hold your rice and toppings.

Chirashi or “scattered” sushi starts with a bowl of sushi (seasoned) rice and is topped with an assortment of ingredients. Of course, you may use raw fish (dip in soy sauce before eating) or other items traditionally found in sushi rolls.

Chirashi Sushi – serves 2,  1 1/2 cups of cooked rice per person

1 cup raw sushi rice**, Calrose, Nishiki and Kokuho Rose are what I’ve tried

Cook according to package directions and then season with two to three tablespoons of seasoned rice vinegar. Each cup of raw sushi rice will give you three cups of cooked sushi rice.

** Note: This amount of rice is enough to make 4-6 sushi rolls

I decided to cut back on the rice serving size, to one cup (instead of 1 1/2), so that I could make three different sushi dishes.

Toppings

raw ahi tuna
blanched shrimp
hard boiled egg, sliced into wedges or rings
sliced avocado
sliced green onion

Condiments

wasabi
soy sauce, for the raw tuna
pickled ginger

If you can find wasabi powder, make it fresh ( 1 1/2 heaping teaspoon of wasabi powder with 1 tsp of cold water stirred in) for each sushi meal as the heat lessens as it stands. Store the powder in the freezer to keep it fresh.

Garnishes

shredded nori
masago (capelin or flying fish roe)

Ochazuke or “rice with green tea” is a great way of using up leftover cooked sushi rice, odds and ends from making sushi rolls, grilled fish and blanched fresh or pickled vegetables.

Ochazuke – serves 1

1 cup leftover cooked sushi rice (unseasoned), reheated in the microwave
1 cup of hot green tea
toppings ie furikake (rice seasoning)

If you stir your raw fish into the hot tea, it will poach quickly.

And with my third cup of sushi rice and the last of the raw ahi tuna I had thawed, I made these two traditional sushi rolls. The spicy tuna roll was topped with masago (capelin roe) while the other roll just had strips of the tuna and avocado so that the flavour of the tuna could be appreciated ‘naked’.

Last Minute Sushi (Crab Stick and Avocado)

Shades of Deadpool

I want sushi.

What kind?

No sushi grade fish/seafood? No smoked salmon? No asparagus? Don’t want to make tamago? The bacon’s frozen solid?

Well, what DO you have?

A couple of avocados in the fridge and three fake crab sticks in the freezer.

Sigh!!

Ok …. I CAN do this.

This is the internal conversation I had with myself.

Luckily, the crab sticks thawed quickly when I submerged the plastic freezer bag in cold water.

I had to make a quick batch of seasoned rice vinegar (6 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp salt) cause I was almost out but otherwise, this is what I ended up with.

Four gunkan sushi (3 spicy crab stick, 1 guacamole) and Two crab stick and avocado temaki (hand rolls)

Prepping the strips of nori (1 1/2 inch or about 2 finger width) and the rice ovals (about a rounded soup spoon of rice) for the gunkan or battleship sushi

One crab stick, avocado and spicy Sriracha mayo futomaki (cause it was pretty fat)

Home Made Sushi … Preparation and Condiments (Pt. 1)

Making sushi at home is easier than many imagine.

There are a few basic ingredients: short grain sushi rice, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, toasted nori sheets (full or half size). Fillings vary, of course, but the unsung heroes of sushi are the condiments like soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.

And sauces … to include in your roll or to drizzle over the rolls for a garnish.

Sriracha and Wasabi Mayonnaise

Unless you’re planning on a big party, only make small amounts of the sauce shortly before making your sushi rolls.

Basic Mayo Sauce Recipe – 1/4 cup home made or commercial mayo (or Miracle Whip) and 1/2 tsp Sriracha or a rounded 1/2 tsp of wasabi powder. Stir into the mayo and taste. Add more of the add in, or the mayo depending on your preference.

Getting ready to make the sushi rolls: sharp knife, working/cutting surface, rolling mat and a freezer bag to wrap the mat in so it stays clean.

Nori … nori sheets have a smooth/shiny side and a rough side (left of the picture). The rice is placed on the rough side.

Along with making the more commonly known maki sushi rolls, I made something called “gunkan” or battleship sushi.

Instructions for making the Gunkan sushi:

1 1/2 inch wide strip of nori
2-3 tbsp (~40 gm) cooked rice per rice ball, shaped into a 1 1/2-2 inch oval.

Wrap the strip of nori around the rice ball.

 

Top with about a tablespoon of desired filling … like the spicy Sriracha shredded ‘crab stick’ below.

Sushi Rice Creations … Cream Cheese and Lox Onigirazu, Philadelphia Roll and Okaka Onigiri

My favourite starch sides are potatoes, pasta and rice … in that order. Since I haven’t had any potatoes in the house for almost two weeks, I’ve been relying more on the other two in my cooking. Especially rice.

Whether long, medium or short grain, rice is quick to prepare and a fitting neutral base for many flavours and add-ins.

Sticky, short grain rice brands, like the Nishiki ($2.20 / lb), Calrose and Kokuho Rose varieties, available locally, are something I’ve only been eating for about five years, mostly in sushi dishes, though you can make a great sweet rice pudding with them too. And risotto, usually made with Arborio and Carnaroli, can also be made with ‘sushi’ rice brands.

To switch things up, I decided to make “onigirazu”, a type of sushi rice sandwich wrapped in a full sheet of nori. Like the rice balls, “onigiri”, I posted a while ago, this is a portable sushi food item often found in bento boxes.  Depending on the fillings, the onigirazu may be served cold, room temperature or warmed slightly.

Okaka Onigiri and Cream Cheese and Lox Onigirazu

I’ve been putting off making this dish because I made the mistake of buying a package of (400) half sheets of nori, a while ago, and am too ‘frugal’ to buy more before I use them up. However, I’ve made thicker sushi rolls using two overlapping nori half sheets, so I thought I’d use that technique and attempt this dish.

Another variation/adaptation of the regular onigirazu is that instead of making a square block of rice on top of the nori sheet, placing the fillings on top, then covering it with the same amount of rice, shaping that into a square block and wapping the whole with the nori sheet, I used a mold into which the sushi rice would be placed etc. This is similar to the technique I used to make the Spam “musubi” some time ago. Since I didn’t have a square mold, I thought I’d use a short tin can with the top and bottom removed. An English muffin ring may be used if you have one. A TOTAL of about 1/3-1/2 cup of rice is divided between the top and the bottom of the ‘sushi rice sandwich’.

A few pictures of how to assemble the onigirazu … start with a sheet of food wrap over your assembly area then lay down your sheet of nori and center your mold on the sheet.

Cream Cheese and Lox Onigirazu

    

    

I really like smoked salmon so I went with two layers.

Philadelphia Roll – there are several versions of this roll but they all include smoked salmon and cream cheese. Other ingredients include sliced avocado or julienned cucumber.

 

Okaka (dried bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce) Onigiri – ingredients needed for this include about a cup of cooked sushi rice, 2 tbsp of bonito flakes, enough soy sauce to moisten, a 1-1 1/4 inch strip of nori and a large pinch of salt to flavour the rice.

Add the soy sauce a few drops at a time to your bonito flakes and stir them in, repeating, until most of the flakes are moistened.

 

Baker’s Dozen of Onigirazu Filling ideas

… as found on various web sites especially “Just One Cookbook”. Nami makes her many Japanese recipes accessible to the western home cook and her website is a valuable resource for new ideas and adaptations of classic dishes.

1. Spam, fried egg, iceberg lettuce (for crunch, you may also use the more tender butter lettuce)
2. Chicken or pork katsu, finely shredded lettuce, mustard and tonkatsu sauce
3. Beef bulgogi, sauteed mushrooms and shredded carrot, blanched spinach and bean sprouts, and fried egg
4. Sliced ham, cheese and Japanese sweet rolled omelette (tamago)
5. Tofu – plain or marinated (sweet teriyaki, spicy BBQ, dijon mustard and garlic or honey mustard, lemon herb) and grilled
6. BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato)
7. Western Omelette (diced ham, green bell pepper, and onion)
8. Clubhouse (sliced cooked chicken or turkey, fried bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise)
9. All Veggie – romaine lettuce, julienned carrot, thinly sliced English cucumber, tomato, red onion, avocado, red cabbage, mustard and mayonnaise
10. Chicken, egg or tuna salad sandwich
11. Teriyaki salmon and grilled asparagus
12. Avocado and lox (smoked salmon)
13. Hot dogs and lettuce

Home Made Sushi featuring a Volcano Roll and a Red Dragon (sort of) Roll

I get periodic sushi cravings and try to shop appropriately for making it at home cause I’m trying to be financially responsible when it’s a choice between a tank of gas (or getting my grass cut) and going out for sushi.

I had bought an avocado a week (or more) ago, and I had a package of tempura shrimp in the freezer. I was going to make tempura shrimp onigiri, but … plans change.

I had good quality salmon in my freezer and decided to risk raw salmon rolls. When I cut into my avocado it was bruised and yucky. I couldn’t save any of it so it went into the garbage. Luckily, I bought a mesh bag of little avocados a few day ago so I cut into the ripest looking of the bunch.

After making four pretty boring regular rolls on Saturday: spicy raw salmon, spicy tempura shrimp, tamago (sweet omelet) and avocado, and baked teriyaki salmon and avocado, I challenged myself with two specialty rolls on Sunday.

Volcano Roll  – There are different kinds of volcano rolls depending on where you go. Classically, julienned cucumber sticks and cream cheese fill the rolls. Then, they’re sliced and topped with a mixture of mayonnaise, Sriracha and some sort of seafood. (I’ve had shredded fake crab legs but you can use diced raw shrimp, salmon and scallops, alone or in combination.) The topped rolls are placed in a toaster oven, or put under the broiler in your regular oven, until the topping is hot and bubbly and browned and the raw seafood is cooked. I’ve read that shrimp may take a bit longer to cook so you can partially saute them before adding them to the mixture. Or just use cooked and thawed shrimp.

Since I didn’t have any cream cheese and I don’t care for cucumber, I was going to use sliced avocado in my volcano roll filling. But I got distracted and used the strips of raw salmon that I was going to use in the red dragon roll. You can also use roasted asparagus, sweet potato or yam.

I didn’t have any fresh green onion to garnish with so I topped the roll with frozen sliced green onion before baking. A bit wilted but they gave the volcano rolls a nice look.

Red Dragon Roll – This is a roll within a roll. The red dragon roll I’ve had at my favourite sushi restaurant is an inside out roll filled with tempura shrimp, sliced avocado and julienned cucumber. Thin slices of raw salmon are overlapped over the top. The green dragon roll is covered with overlapping thin slices of avocado. There’s a rainbow roll which has alternating bands of salmon, sea bass (or white tuna) and avocado. The latter is my favourite but I didn’t have a second kind of raw fish so I stuck to the salmon. The filling was just sliced avocado.

 

Cover the roll with a sheet of plastic wrap and use your sushi rolling mat to press down and firm up the salmon covering.

Leave the plastic wrap on the roll and cut through it so you don’t mess up the salmon layer. Then, garnish with black sesame seeds or nigella seeds and volcano sauce (mayonnaise and Sriracha).

Bakudan Onigiri (Bomb Rice Balls)

ETA (08/23/2017) : Some additional notes on onigiri ideas added to bottom of post.

In these last couple of weeks, before school starts again, I’ve been in a frenzy of cooking.

I broke open the one kilo bag of frozen raw shrimp, from Costco, and made two different pasta dishes (I’ll post a picture of the second one soon) with home made semolina pasta. Sales on fresh fruit meant that I finally made another batch of raspberry curd so I could take some pictures. It’s hard to believe the last time I made raspberry curd was before I owned a camera. I made red chile pulled pork for tamales … and then changed my mind and made a vegetarian filling instead and froze away the rest of the pork.

The nigiri in this post had been planned for on the same weekend that I did the last bbq. In fact, I was going to grill a foil wrapped package of teriyaki basted salmon belly meat on the grill, for the onigiri, at the same time. And then I forgot the salmon in the fridge. So I had to bake it off in the oven. Instead of shaping the onigiri into the most commonly seen triangles, I made rice balls or ‘bombs’.

Bakudan Onigiri Platter

Two different ways of serving the rice balls

Instead of stuffing the salmon, or other seasoning, in the middle of the balls, it was stirred into half of the hot rice. Wrapping the rice balls in a half sheet of nori keeps it moist longer. For including in your bento/lunch bag, wrap the rice ball up tightly in food/saran wrap. Biting into the neat package can be a wonderful surprise if you’ve made an assortment.

And for something even simpler, a couple of tablespoons of furikake (rice seasoning or topping) were stirring into the other half of the rice.

Making the Rice Balls:

1 cup of raw sushi rice, cooked with 1/2 tsp of salt
6-8 half sheets of nori
90-100 gm cooked salmon, flaked for ver. 1
2 large shiso leaves, julienned for ver. 1
2 tbsp furikake (rice seasoning) for ver. 2

Garnishes (optional)
tobiko (fish roe)
bonito flakes, moistened with some soy sauce

The cooked rice was divided into two halves and the salmon (and julienned shiso leaves) and furikake were stirred into each respective portion. The salmon portion was divided into 4 larger rice balls as the salmon added a lot of bulk, while the furikake half only made 3 somewhat smaller rice balls.

Various Types of Onigiri/Omosubi

1. Filled onigiri

fish – salmon (sake), tuna, shaved bonito moistened with soy sauce (okaka), shrimp
umeboshi (pickled plums)
tempura shrimp
tsukudani style kombu (sheets cooked with soy sauce and mirin until tender, shredded and tucked into rice ball)
meat – Japanese friend chicken (karaage) or regular friend chicken ***
miso glazed baked eggplant
fish roe – tobiko (flying fish), tarako (salted sac of cod roe) and mentaiko (spicy sac of cod roe), ikura salmon

*** very perishable, transport refrigerated or on ice packs

2. Mixed rice

sushi and brown rice

3. Seasoned

a) Stir the flavourings into the rice after it is cooked
furikake (nori seaweed and egg, ume (pickled plum), shiso, shrimp, and dried fish)
shredded baked, fried or smoked fish
veggies ie sauteed onion, shaved carrot, edamame, green onion
sesame seeds
pickled ginger

b) Cook along with the rice
julienned gobo (Japanese root vegetable)
peas
hijiki (Japanese dried seaweed)
julienned carrot
dashi kombu/soy sauce/sake/sugar

4. Shaped

triangular (traditional)
bakudan (bomb)
hockey puck – dimple and fill then serve filling side up
cylinder shape or tawara (bale of hay)

5. Grilled (Yaki) – brushed and grilled ** Usually NOT filled

soy sauce
miso butter

6. Wrapped

nori is traditional
takana mustard greens
ooba leaf
tororo kombu kelp
salted lettuce
salted green shiso
parcooked bacon and then grilled

7. Coating

furikake
sesame seeds or salted sesame seeds (black is more striking)
ground shiso leaves

8. Onigirazu

Sashimi Grade Ahi Tuna and Sushi Rolls

I’m bored and have nothing much to do these days except cook little throwaway dishes.

While visiting the city market on Sunday morning, I stopped to chat with the fish monger. He’s the closest source of “sashimi grade” ahi (yellow fin) tuna I have that I can buy before the sushi restaurants in town snap it all up.

I bought a small piece of vacuum packed tuna and made 3 kinds of sushi with it … one hosomaki (thin maki rolls with a single filling), 2 nigiri sushi and 2 gunkan (battleship) sushi.

I made the mistake of buying a package of 200 half nori sheets, so my maki rolls have been sloppy when I tried to stuff them with the usual 2 or 3 fillings I use. For a single ingredient, like tuna, tempura shrimp, a couple of very thin or one thick asparagus spear, the nori sheets are just fine. If you ever do this, you CAN slightly overlap the 2 half sheets and get more filling inside, but I haven’t yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Hosomaki – one inch diameter roll cut into 6-8 pieces

Nigiri sushi – an oval (~5 cm) of sushi rice, smeared with a bit of wasabi paste and covered with topping of raw fish, sweet Japanese omelet etc.

Not a great job of slicing the tuna but passable.

Gunkan sushi – 3-4 cm tall strip of nori wrapped around an oval (~5 cm) of sushi rice and topped with a loose filling like spicy tuna

Home made wasabi – enough for 1 or 2 people depending on how much they like their wasabi

1 heaping tsp wasabi powder**
1 tsp very cold water

In a small bowl, stir the two ingredients together with a single chopstick, about 10-15 min before you want to use your wasabi. Cover the bowl tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Don’t make more wasabi than you’ll use as the hotness levels decreases dramatically with time.

** Your wasabi powder should be a pale green colour and in a sealed bag, preferably vacuum sealed. Once you open your package, store the rest in an small air tight container in the freezer.

Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar for Sushi Rice – makes 1/4 cup

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Stir until sugar and salt is dissolved and store in a small tightly sealed bottle in the fridge. Use 1 1/-2 tbsp per 1 cup sushi rice that’s been cooked with 1 1/3 cups of water.

International Cooking

What country/nationality’s cooking, other than your own, do you enjoy?

I live in Canada and other than poutine and butter tarts, I can’t really claim that I cook anything that is particularly CANADIAN. Throwing maple syrup into a dish doesn’t make it Canadian, does it?

I enjoy a variety of national cuisines. This past week … I made Chinese (kale and white miso soup), Japanese and Tex-Mex dishes.

Donburi, or Japanese rice bowls, are a great way to use up leftover sushi rice. Chicken is one of my favourite proteins to top the rice bowl. The beef version was a new one for me though I didn’t have the paper thin fatty beef that is usually used and ended up with some chewy strips of sirloin steak. It still tasted good, though.

Chicken katsu (cutlet) with scrambled egg poached in the simmering sauce …

… and gyudon (beef) with egg. In Japan a raw egg is broken over the hot rice bowl but our eggs aren’t safe to eat raw so I poached mine. Paper thin cut fatty beef is preferred for quick cooking time and flavour. I garnished the rice bowl with shredded pickled ginger and green onion. And the pink, white and green colours looked pretty too.

I made a half dozen crab stick and avocado hand rolls with the rest of the sushi rice.

As for Tex-Mex … well, it’s better than going to Taco Bell. (Even if it IS an occasional guilty pleasure.)

Beef fajitas

Tamales are more Mexican than Tex-Mex but I’m going to throw them into the mix.

And, lest I forget … an iced Thai coffee to beat the heat. One of these days, I’ll make a more expansive Thai menu.

Iced Thai Coffee

Make double strength coffee and let cool to room temperature. If you like cardamom, a pinch or two added to the coffee while you’re brewing it is tasty.

In a tall glass, add a few ice cubes, 1-2 tbsp of sweetened condensed milk depending on how sweet you like your coffee. Pour the coffee over the ice cubes.