Saturday, April 25, 2009
Getting along with Sushi Rice
I've made some progress in my quest for good sticky shapeable sushi rice technique. At first I almost gave up: I would get it too dry, too wet, not properly cooked, you name it.
There was a moment of decision in the grocery store: buy a 10-pound bag of Tokyo Rose short grain rice and just keep experimenting until I get it, or give up?
At this personal Rubicon, I crossed into Rome and dragged home the giant amount of rice.
As of yesterday (knock on wood), I think I have become able to tell when the rice is 'ready' for each stage of its progress: when it has been rinsed enough, when it has soaked enough, when it's cooked, steamed, and most important: when it has enough of the tasty rice vinegar liquid added back to make it just right for shaping. This is a huge victory for me!! there have been numerous defeats and some rice has fallen by the wayside...
My favorite way to bring rice in my bento lunches is just these small plain shapes with no stuffing inside: little cylinders and little spheres. A little sesame on top maybe and furikake to shake over at the last minute.
I got a whole pan of little shapes out of one cup of rice, and was able to serve them to my younger son and his lovely girlfriend who showed up unexpectedly from Wisconsin for a weekend visit. I also thawed some gyoza for them (note to self: don't freeze gyoza all in a lump and you won't have to cry trying to get them apart when they're thawing), made soba noodles with sauce, Wasabi Roasted Vegetables*, meatballs dipped in hoisin, and gunpowder bancha tea. My younger son is a Japanophile from way back and so getting to serve him some of my new bento-directed creations was a long-anticipated pleasure. (He taught himself conversational Japanese to an impressive degree and has been there twice for extended visits! I loved showing him my bento stuff and especially Avie's crab hotdog cutter!)
Wasabi Roasted Vegetables
Heat oven to 425.
Rinse and cut a pound or pound and a half of any vegetables into bite-size pieces: I used carrots, spring onions, and asparagus; anything will work though and green beans and zucchini would be terrific.
In a cup, whisk together 1-2 TB water, 1 TB soy sauce, 1 TB sesame oil and your estimated tasty amount of wasabi powder - I used about 3/4 TSP.
Arrange veggies on a cookie sheet, pour wasabi mixture over to coat evenly.
Roast in oven for about 12 minutes, longer if your vegetable pieces are large.
These would travel in bento really well and they were super-tasty, sweet, with just a hint of wasabi-ness.