Tag Archives: sushi rice

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聽 – 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).

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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.聽 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.

Re-imagining Basic Recipes

So much for my ‘break’. But I’ve been having a lot of fun and couldn’t resist sharing some pictures.

Taking a recipe and re-thinking some elements to come up with something new and exciting is important for the daily cook. And those of us on a budget who can’t run out and buy exotic or expensive ingredients.

So, adding beet puree (only 2 tbsp to a 2 egg pasta recipe) to a basic pasta recipe and coming up with a very pretty pink pasta doesn’t take a lot of money, just some imagination, or google-fu in case your imagination is as limited as mine.

Making the Beet Pasta

Dressing the resulting pasta is another fun pastime.

Shrimp Scampi … a very romantic shrimp supper for two

Browned Butter and Sage … a more modest meatless pasta dish with a generous grating of Grana Padano cheese

No changes in this dish from the basic recipe I posted before, but the pictures are MUCH nicer.

I haven’t made these onigiri (Japanese rice patties) in ages. You can leave them plain or fill them with anything from the classic umeboshi which are a type of pickled ‘plums’, dried bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce or a very Western tuna salad. The onigiri may also be eaten as is or grilled, basted with soy sauce and then grilled again briefly. Wrapping a strip of nori around the rice patty keeps your fingers clean, but you’ll want to wait til the last minute so the seaweed stays nice and crispy.

I learned a fun way to shape/pack sushi rice into a round ball. Simply take 2 small round bottomed bowls, rinse them with water so the rice doesn’t stick, add your rice to the bottom bowl, put the other bowl on top and SHAKE back and forth for a minute or so.

Crack open the ball of rice on a moistened sheet of food wrap over which you’ve sprinkled some salt, and add your filling. Tighten the plastic wrap around the ball and filling and squeeze it tightly, then form into a triangle shape.

Plain Onigiri – wrap a strip of nori around the patty before eating

Yaki Onigiri – I like to add a bit of wasabi to the onigiri before wrapping the nori around it and eating.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies become cookie cups … I used 3-4 tbsp to make balls which were placed into muffin tins sprayed with cooking spray. The cookies and cups were baked together for 15-16 min at 350 deg F and then I used the bottom of a shot glass to press down the cookie in the muffin tins to make a ‘cup’. The cups were allowed to cool for 5 minutes before being removed from the muffin tins and transferred to the cooling rack to cool completely.

I’ll fill the cups and share pictures soon.

April Clear-out

I haven’t done much cooking in April, certainly nothing post-worthy, but I thought I’d share some of the tasty things I made.

Barbecue meal of giant hamburgers and sausages, with mac and cheese and corn side dishes, and a Mexican beer to wash it down.

Burgers (ground beef and pork) and sirloin tip steak, chicken breast basted with Jamaican barbecue sauce and Grill ’em sausages

Baked chicken drumsticks with the jerk bbq sauce, mac and cheese, onion rings and raw broccoli with ranch dressing

Oven baked pork chop and baked potato

Hot Italian sausage and broccoli over pasta

Thin crust pepperoni and mozzarella pizza

I picked up some frozen chicken cutlets and used them in several dishes including a Chicken Alfredo salad and a Mexican chicken and rice wrap with Taco Bell hot sauce.

Breakfast burrito with a pepperoni omelette, home fried potatoes, Mexican rice and avocado

Sushi – fake crab legs and avocado or cream cheese filling. I also made an attempt at a Caterpillar/Dragon roll with a garnish of spicy Mayo with flying fish caviar.

Orange curd and …

an orange loaf cake

Cheddar cheese straws and bars

Japanese Trio

I’ve had a sushi craving for a while now, but the budget doesn’t allow for an outing as I’m saving up for b’day dim sum next weekend. So, I dug into my freezer (duh!) for a couple of ingredients.

No recipes cause they’re all things I’ve posted YEARS ago, so you’ll have to go looking. (I’ll try to add links back to the recipes.)

I started with a savoury pancake, okonomiyaki, which features shredded cabbage (I used a bagged coleslaw mix as a time-saver) and sliced surimi aka fake crab ‘legs’. Instead of the sauce from the recipe, you can use bbq, tonkatsu or eel sauce, as I did.

Following up with inari sushi, which are seasoned fried tofu pockets filled, traditionally with sushi rice. I topped them with spicy fake crab legs and egg salad. I was tempted to make a third topping of tuna salad but I’d made too much of the other two toppings for the leftover inari from the can which I’d frozen away. For an interesting and tasty variation, you can fill your tofu pockets with somen noodle salad.

The spicy crab was garnished with masago (capelin roe) and the egg salad with shichimi togarashi (chili pepper condiment).The inari was served with the last of my sake. The bottle is pretty too. 馃檪

And since I had a couple of cups of leftover cooked sushi rice, I decided to make a donburi or rice bowl. For a topping, I used one of the larger chicken cutlets/katsu made previously and an egg poached in the simmering sauce. I only used 1 cup of the rice so I think I’ll freeze away the rest. The only recipe you need is for the simmering sauce as the topping choices for the rice bowl are very flexible.

The egg stuck to the bottom of the pan while poaching so I lost a lot of the yolk to the simmering sauce. Oh well. What was there was still somewhat runny, the way I like it.

Chicken Katsu Curry Donburi

Earlier in the week, I had butterflied a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turned them into chicken fingers along with the tenders from 6 breasts. Coated in聽 a simple home made version of ‘Shake’n’Bake’ using regular dried breadcrumbs and baked in the oven, they were delicious. But … I had a craving.

A craving for chicken katsu.

A thin cutlet of chicken breast, floured, egg washed and dipped in Panko. And FRIED!!

So that’s what I did late Friday evening with the 2 chicken cutlets that I had set aside. One was a bit too thick and uneven but I didn’t bother pounding it down so it would be even. Cause it was聽 late enough that I just didn’t care.

The next day, I served it in one of my sushi bowls over hot sushi rice. Even though the crust had lost a lot of its crunch, it was still good. And worth frying.

No Japanese beer but the Moroccan mint iced tea was lovely.

Chicken Katsu Curry Donburi – serves 1

1 serving of hot cooked sushi rice
1 serving of Japanese curry
1 chicken katsu, sliced on the diagonal in 1/2 inch strips
Tonkatsu sauce (Bulldog brand isn’t bad)
garnish with ~1 tbsp thinly sliced green onion

Chicken Katsu – serves 4

4 chicken cutlets, thinly sliced and pounded 1/4 inch thick
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp cold water
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper as needed
2-3 cups vegetable oil

Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on each side

Place the flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs each in their own large and relatively flat bowls

Dip each cutlet first in the flour, shaking off the excess, and coating each side. Then dip each side of the cutlet in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off. Finally, coat the egged cutlets in the Panko bread crumbs, pressing the Panko into the cutlet so it will stick.

In a large cast iron skillet add enough vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2-3/4 inch. Heat the oil to 350 deg. Fahrenheit (medium-high on an electric stove if you don’t have a deep frying thermometer). Add a couple of cutlets at a time and fry until they’re a golden brown colour (5-7 minutes), turn and repeat.

Drain on a cooling rack set over a plate with several layers of paper toweling to absorb the oil. Do not place the cutlets directly on the paper towels as the crust will get soggy and you want a nice crunchy crust.

Japanese Vegetable** Curry – serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into roughly 1/2 inch chunks
1-2 cloves garlic, finely mince
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 cups water
pinch or two of coarse sea or kosher salt
1 package of curry paste (Glico brand is my favourite and the $1.99 it costs is worth it for the convenience)

** If you want a meat curry, cut chunks of chicken, pork or beef into bite sized pieces and brown in the oil before adding the onions. About half a pound of meat is plenty. For a tougher cut of meat, like the beef, you may want to simmer the meat for 10-20 minutes before adding the vegetables so they don’t get too mushy.

In a large saute pan, stir fry the onions over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until tender and getting browned. Add the garlic, salt, carrot and potato chunks and stir fry for another few minutes.

Add 2 cups of water (you may need more to just cover the vegetables) and bring the water to a boil. Cover with the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are fork tender, about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and take the saute pan off the burner. Break up the cubes of curry paste and stir into the vegetable mixture. The residual heat will help dissolve the cubes and thicken the mixture. When the cubes are completely dissolved, put the lid on and let the curry sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve hot with rice, pasta or bread.

Asian Rolls Revisited Sushi and Summer

This post is a clearance of some rolls I threw together in June but didn’t feel like blogging about.

Sushi Rolls – (top row) asparagus, (middle 3 rows) surimi/fake crab decorated with capelin roe and (bottom row) breaded chicken cutlet

Asparagus, carrot and avocado

Fake crab, avocado and spicy mayo

Breaded chicken cutlet with carrot and sweet chili mayo

It’s been ages since I made summer rolls, let alone posted my efforts. My nephew and I always order them when we go out for Thai food. This summer, he’s not coming home to visit so I’m going to make them for myself and enjoy them while remembering. This version has the more traditional ingredients of rice vermicelli/noodles and bean sprouts but no fresh herbs. If you can get your hands on fresh mint and Thai basil, use them. You’ll enjoy the taste.

I made 8 rolls, half filled with fake crab and half with cooked and thawed shrimp. I had leftover rice vermicelli which ended up in the miso soup that you’ve seen.

For a non-seafood version: Use Chinese bbq’d pork, seasoned bbq’d pork chops or chicken

Dips: Sweet and sour sauce, sweet chili sauce, plum sauce or your favourite Vietnamese dipping sauce. I’ve posted a peanut dipping sauce in an earlier post but I find it too heavy to go with these delicately flavoured rolls so the dipping sauce is still my favourite.

ETA: Here’s a Vietnamese dipping sauce I like:

Summer Roll Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce such as Thai nam pla or Vietnamese nuoc mam*
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp chili paste like sambal oelek

Stir together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved