Tag Archives: sushi

Repeated … Asian Themed Dishes

I’ve been craving sushi again … and you know what THAT means.

I make a bunch of my favourite Chinese and Japanese dishes, take pictures of them and share them with you all.

Okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancake) – I diced some fake crab legs (surimi) and added it to the pancake mixture. The cooked strips of bacon are added to the top of the pancake before it’s flipped over and the top is cooked. I’m wrapping the two I made and freezing them away for future meals.

Szechuan shrimp and broccoli over longevity lo mein noodles – 3/4 of a pound of white Pacific shrimp in a spicy sweet and sour type sauce. I bought a bundle of broccoli cheap (88 cents). It was most mostly stem and very little florette so I threw in all the florettes and froze some of the stem for vegetable stock.

Sticky Asian drumsticks

Sushi hand rolls (temaki sushi) – A shiso (perilla) leaf gives these hand rolls a great fresh flavour. And they’re so inexpensive. Cook up a cup of sushi rice and you have enough rice for 8-10 hand rolls.

All you need is a drizzle of soy sauce before devouring these beauties.

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.

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.

All You Can Eat Sushi

As I’ve gotten older my ability to eat vast amounts of sushi has decreased but I try my best. So this past Saturday, I skipped breakfast and lunch and planned on a sushi dinner feast.

I started with a bowl of hot and sour soup followed by a bunch of apps … tempura scallops, shrimp, squid and yam washed down with a pot of tea. And then there were some deep fried dumplings and chicken and beef skewers.

And a plate of crispy chicken wings. No dip is offered with them which is surprising.

A couple of pieces of sashimi – salmon and red snapper. No nigiri as I was cutting back on the rice.

And then there was my favourite salmon pizza. I like the eel pizza too.

The presentation of the Deep Fried Mountain Roll was a disappointment. It was NOT the roll I wanted on reflection. I noticed that they’ve reduced the variety of offerings so that may account for it.

And, since I was stuffed by that point, I had a small scoop of mango ice cream (no pic taken) and left having paid ~$25 CDN plus tip.

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

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

Korean Inari Sushi (Yubu Chobap) and a more traditional version

Inari sushi or pockets of fried tofu are filled traditionally with sushi rice, as I’ve done here and here and somen noodles or non-traditionally with grains such as quinoa. You could even use couscous if you wished, I think.

It’s been ages since I made any however, and I keep running across a can of the pockets in my pantry. I did some net surfing and ran across a very tasty sounding Korean adaptation of the classic Japanese recipe.

You can use sushi rice for this recipe but the recipe I based this on used a medium grain Arborio rice which is used in Italy for risotto or even a Spanish paella. And, the rice is flavoured with a combination of sauteed and seasoned vegetables that make it suitable to serve as a side dish or even a single dish meal.

And here are some more traditional inari sushi I made last week with plain sushi rice and topped with spicy shredded fake crab legs, masago (capelin roe) and egg salad.

Korean Inari Sushi (Yubu Chobap)

1 can (16 pockets) or 1 package (20) seasoned frozen bean curd pockets

Rice – enough rice to fill 16 to 20 tofu pockets or as a side dish to serve 4-6 people

1 cup Arborio rice
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp rice vinegar

In a large bowl, rinse the rice several times in cold water, using your hand to stir the grains. Drain.

Bring the water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Stir in the salt and the drained rice. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a low simmer.

Cook for 20 minutes, stirring several times.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle the rice vinegar over the top, folding the vinegar gently through the rice with a spatula. Allow to cool, uncovered.

Seasoning Sauce for rice

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds

Vegetable Mixture – fills ~20 bean curd pockets

1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 medium (1/2 cup) carrot, minced
1 medium (1/2 cup) onion, minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
6-8 dried shiitakes; rehydrated, drained, and minced or 4 oz cremini mushrooms, minced
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or mirin

Furikake for garnish or stir 2 tbsp into the rice and vegetable mixture at the end

NOTE: Instead of the mushrooms, you can use 1 green pepper or 4-6 green onions. For a meat version, use 1/4-1/2 pound ground beef.

Heat oil in large saute pan on medium high heat. Cook the carrots first for about 1-2 minutes, push aside and add the onions. Saute until the vegetable are tender. Make a well in the center, add the shiitakes and garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Add the sauce mixture to shiitakes and the Shaoxing wine. Mix all the vegetables together in the pan.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.

Mix together the rice, vegetables and furikake, if desired.

Fill the bean curd pockets with as much filling as you want!

Serve hot or at room temperature.