Friday, October 8, 2010

Sushi Bowls

Lots to be happy about today:  
  • The weather is finally warming up again.
  • I'm looking forward to a weekend in San Francisco, exploring the city and seeing a band.
  • We successfully made homemade sushi last night!
We love going out for sushi, but it can get expensive.  I've been wanting to make sushi at home for the longest time, but with all my fear of finding good quality fish, using unfamiliar ingredients, figuring out how the $&%! to roll those things tight enough... I was never up to the challenge.  The other day I came across a recipe for sushi bowls at 101 Cookbooks that helped me bypass all those fears. 

There's no fish in them.  Tofu provides the protein, and I had some that needed to be used up anyways.  The ingredients didn't sound too foreign, although I did have to go to the "Asian specialty" aisle of my grocery store for a few things.  Best of all - you don't roll anything.  It's a kind of deconstructed maki (sushi roll) - also known as chirashizushi or chirashi sushi.  

Just like sushi rolls, the best thing about this recipe is that you start with the sushi rice, and add whatever other veggies, fish or other protein, sauces, etc. that you like.  The term "sushi" just refers to the rice, so the rest is up to you.  This is the recipe we ended up with.  I used Mark Bittman's recipe for the sushi rice.

  • 1 1/2 cups short-grain rice 
  • 6 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into thin sheets
  • 1 sheet nori, cut or torn into small pieces
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and julienned
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • sesame oil
  • pickled ginger
  • soy sauce

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package.  Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl, and microwave ~30 seconds.  Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.   Cool the vinegar mixture rapidly in the freezer or by floating the bowl in ice water.  Once the rice is done, toss it in a large bowl with the vinegar mixture and the sesame seeds with a wooden spoon or a spatula.  Keep tossing it until the rice is mostly cool.  Directing a fan towards the bowl helps speed this step along. 

Heat a skillet with a small amount of sesame oil.  Cook the tofu sheets for a few minutes on each side, just until lightly browned.  Cut into thin strips. 

This tofu is a little overcooked.  Don't do that.

Fill bowls with the rice and top with the tofu and vegetables.  Serve with the soy sauce and pickled ginger on the side.

4+ servings.

I don't have a picture of the finished product because we ate them so fast.  If you like sushi, you will like this.

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