Tag Archives: wasabi

why sushi rice doesn’t taste like normal rice

homemade sushiYou know how when you have sushi and it doesn’t taste like just rice and seaweed and raw fish?  Yeah, that’s probably the reason we keep eating it, because as appetizing as the thought of eating an ocean soaked in China’s starch staple sounds, it’s not.

Sushi can either be refined art, think Jiro Dreams of Sushi, or something as casual as a taco cart.  The problem with eating at Japanese restaurants for those with Celiac Disease is that soy sauce is made with wheat traditionally, and most preparations might have a touch of it as it replaces salt in most Asian cuisines.  The problem with making sushi at home, then, would be that rice cooked in just water never seems to taste like “sushi rice” and finding sushi grade quality fish may not be possible in your area.

homemade sushiThe thing is, making gluten-free sushi at home is really quite easy.  What’s more, you know the products you’re using are to your standards (because you bought them) and you have creative liberty to replace salmon with tofu if you’re vegetarian, or add some fun flavors like mango and cilantro if you’re seeking some peppppps.

homemade sushiThe other day I have rice and leftover dried seaweed from an experiment a few weeks prior.  I had leftover bits and pieces of smoked salmon, and no interest to go grocery shopping.  I had forgotten how much I love the convenience (and price tag) of making sushi at home.  The difference, for me, is in the rice.

Homemade sushi lunchSUSHI RICE

Ingredients: 1 cup short grain eastern rice variety (preferably deemed sushi rice, either brown or white– basmati will do in a pinch if you’re really stuck), 1 1/2 cups + 1/4 cup water, 2 tsp. rice or white wine or apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp. agave nectar, 1/2 tsp. powdered wasabi (optional, but highly recommended)

Method: Bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil.  Lightly salt water, add rice, stir just once, skim foam off top using a spoon, cover, and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 30-35 minutes.  Once water is absorbed, taste rice to make sure it is cooked enough.  If not, add about 2 tbs. more water, cover, and let steam another 5-10 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is cooked al dente.  Remove from heat.  Keep covered.  In small sauce pan, bring 1/4 cup water, vinegar and agave nectar to a boil.  Let bubble about 30 seconds, remove from heat.  Whisk in wasabi powder (optional, but recommended).  Using a large flat spoon, stir syrup into cooked rice gently.  This gentle stirring serves two purposes: it covers the rice in flavor and it also gently releases the starches while it slowly cools down the rice for optimal texture and binding properties.  Let rice cool to room temperature before using it in your sushi.

sushi rollsGreat.  I’ve got my rice.  WhaaadooIdoooNow?  You get to play with your food!  Maki Sushi refers to the type where the seaweed is on the outside.  This type is really convenient to make at home, as you don’t even need a sushi rolling mat or plastic sheet wrap.

MAKI SUSHI

Ingredients: 2 sheets dried seaweed (available at most grocery stores in the Asian section or at Asian specialty stores), 1 preparation sushi rice (see above), cooked protein/smoked fish/sushi grade raw fish/vegetable of choice cut into long thin cubes, optional additional vegetables cut into thin/julienne size strips (cucumber, mango, carrots, jicama, etc.)

Method: Lay dried seaweed flat on a clean cutting board.  Cover all of it with a thin layer of sushi rice, leaving about 1″ (3 cm) gap at one of the ends (see photo at the top).  On the opposite side of the seaweed, 2″ (6 cm) in from the edge lay out your toppings.  Ready to roll?  Gently brush a tiny bit of water on the edge of the sushi not covered with rice (this serves as glue).  Like rolling up a sleeping bag, start with the rice-covered side and cover the filling.  Keep going, and as you completely roll your filling into the rice and seaweed, pull so that it’s snug and compact.  Roll until it touches the other end, where you will press slightly firmly to seal the dry sushi to the wet sushi, where the added water will act like glue.  To serve, using a sharp chef’s knife, cut into desired piece sizes and serve with tamari, pickled ginger, and wasabi if you’ve got it.

If you wanna get fun, try difference variations, like using last night’s fried chicken with a touch of tamari to give it some Asian flavor.  Making your own sushi may take a few practice rounds to see the exact amount of rice vs. filling, but you can always start over and reuse your rice and protein.  Dried seaweed is cheap as Monday, so don’t feel bad if you waste a few sheets in your trials.   

 

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Smoked Trout Avocado Wasabi Tartine

wasabi smoked trout tartine

After my midnight escapade with baguette I found myself with this:

half a baguette

This is the type of thing you walk by daily in Paris, flecking the windows of the local boulangerie, stuffed with cheese and vegetables and sliced fine meats and just the right amount of sauce to make it all come together.  It is what we call lunchtime for the working Parisian, a quick grab and go type of shape that has that comfort food quality for all those who grew up or have lived here.  But not a comfort for those enjoying food without gluten.

While I do still assert that the bread here is easier for me to digest than in the States, it does still contain the protein of wheat, and I do still have a strong sensitivity to said protein that makes me prepare gluten-free bread at home.  This little leftover from my moonlit baking session gave me a lunch idea worth sharing: a combination of sweet wasabi and basil, creamy avocado, and light yet flavorful thinly sliced smoked trout.  The reason I find this preparation particularly interesting is that the cream from the avocado provides a nice cushion between the trout and the bread, and hiding the basil under the trout and topping with the wasabi powder hides the layer of sweetness from the basil and leaves your palette even more pleased than your eye.

lunch mango trout tartine

Find your favorite gluten-free bread (or use the Buckwheat Loaf or Home Sweet Honey Buns), and slip into a little lunch pause that is as Parisian as you can handle.

lunch

Smoked Trout Avocado Wasabi Tartine

Ingredients: two slices gluten-free bread, 1/2 avocado, 1-2 thin slices smoked trout, 3 large leaves fresh basil cut into ribbons, a pinch sea salt, two pinches wasabi powder*

Method: lightly toast the two slices of bread and slice your avocado into thin strips.  Top toasted bread with avocado slices and add a pinch of salt atop each lightly.  Top with basil, and thinly layer smoked trout on top with no overlap (see above).  Evenly dust fish with wasabi powder, and serve with a shaved mango salad with some olive oil and lemon juice for something incredible.

*wasabi powder is available at most supermarkets in the Asian section or at Asian specialty stores.  Not to be confused with wasabi in a tube already hydrated.

 

 

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Honey Oregano Basil Ginger Wasabi Marinade

marinadeIt’s like a six-year-old girl dressing herself: I am going to put together all of the fabulous things I like and it will work.

Sometimes six-year-olds are surprisingly stylish.  This marinade of everything-I-like would be one of those kids, I like to think.

Finally having a full day to play in the kitchen, I went a little nuts.  I coated peas in wasabi and buckwheat flour and fried them, I homemade sushi, crackers, and chicken liver mousse.  I made a lemon meringue pie from scratch.  I sang while doing all of this, just to make sure that if the neighbors weren’t already disturbed from the sound of blenders and smells of garlic that they had a sure idea of my presence.

I also discovered a marinade.  It’s easy, gluten-free, and has a really nice tang with the combination of wasabi with honey and oregano.  I used it on pork, but it would work on chicken or beef or tofu or seitan.

marinating porkafter a few hours tenderizing

dinnerwasabi buckwheat peas, marinated farmer’s pork, watercress pesto, avocado maki

Happy Spring!  Let’s eat!

Honey Oregano Basil Ginger Wasabi Marinade

Ingredients: 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/2 shallot, finely diced, 1 tbs. fresh basil, chopped (chiffonade is ideal), 1 cm cubed fresh ginger, grated, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 3 tsp. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 tbs. honey (agave nectar or maple syrup for vegan), 1/8 tsp. wasabi powder (available at most grocery stores and all Asian food markets)

Method: combine all ingredients in medium bowl.  Marinade your protein of choice in sauce for up to overnight, minimum 2 hours, covered.  Turn protein half way through marinating to disperse flavors equally.  Marinade keeps by itself about a week.  Enough to soak enough protein to serve about 3-4.

wasabi powder

 

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New crush: WASABI CARROT CHIPS

carrot wasabi chipsAfter receiving a huge bag of carrots from my copain this Saturday, I had to figure out something to do with them.  Given I’m allergic to eating them raw and their skins, these things were getting peeled.  And put under some heat.

With leftover homemade hummus sitting in my fridge, and a hankering for something snack-worthy after a late-night run, I played with wasabi powder and my new orange presents.  I’ve now a new food crush.

raw wasabi carrot chipsWasabi Carrot Chips

Ingredients: about 3 large carrots, 1-2 tbs. high heat oil, 1-2 tsp. powdered wasabi (depending upon how much you like wasabi), 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. sea salt+more to taste

Method: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (140 Celcius).  Wash then peel carrots, cut them into thin strips 3″ long (about 8 cm).  Toss with oil, wasabi powder, paprika, and 1/4 tsp. sea salt.  Spread out with no overlap on a baking sheet (lined with silicon or parchment paper is easier and provides more uniform cooking.)  Bake for about 8-15 minutes, depending on your carrots and your oven, until edges have begun to brown and just started to turn dark brown on the thinnest pieces.  Remove from oven, let cool on a paper-towel lined surface until crispy (about 15-20 minutes).  Add more salt if you think it needs it.  This makes a small bowl of chips.

wasabi carrot chips and hummus<–They’re amazing with hummus.

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Urban Grilled Eryngii Mushrooms

grilled mushroomsHello.  For us to be on the same wavelength, please pull this up:

la musique <–Bienvenue to my night. 

After dropping off my chef’s knives at Courty & Fils in Paris’s Opera district, I soaked in the humid spotty sky, breathing in the crisp whispers, my feet crunching tiny leaves as I admired ingredientsshopkeeper’s newly decorated storefronts.  Paris really wears Fall well.

The neighborhood is home to a dense population of Japanese, Korean, and otherwise oriental restaurants, in addition to a store called “K Mart“, which (unlike the large chain store I grew up with) is one of Paris’s most centrally located Japanese (and Korean) supply stores.  Yess.

My excitement found me with an indoors BBQ tonight, and the marinade is proportionately delicious in flavor.  Earthy yet acidic, mildly sweet with subtle spice.

diner ce soir japonaisEryrgii mushrooms are those big guys you will see in a restaurant sliced vertically and grilled or sautéed.   They’re deliciously meaty, slightly fibrous in texture, and just the right taste of mushroom to balance out their decent water content.  For those with Celiac Disease and strong gluten intolerences, ordering these might have never been an option for you, as marinades frequently involve soy sauce, which almost always contains wheat.  What’s more, for Bubble Children with deadly nut allergies, walking into any sort of Asian establishment can turn from a family dinner night out to a quick trip the hospital with cross contamination.  (Make sure you go somewhere you can trust if your allergies are really bad!)

Forget the restaurant.  Brew some tea, turn on some Japanese tunes, and get cozy with some mushrooms.

Urban Grilled Eryngii Mushrooms

Marinade:

1/4 tsp. wasabi paste

1 tsp. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)

2 tsp. sesame oil (can use neutral oil for seed allergies)

1/4 tsp. paprika for mild, or 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper+to taste for spicy

1/8 tsp. orange zest (optional but delicious)

1 tsp. red wine, apple cider, or rice vinegar

Main:

3 large eryngii mushrooms (portabello or shitake would work, as well)

+a fish grilling device or some grill to keep them falling into the flames

+a braising or painting brush, clean and dry

Method:

painting mushrooms1. Mix together wasabi and tamari until combined.  Whisk in all other ingredients with a fork or small whisk until homogenous.  Set aside.  Slice mushrooms vertically into about 4 strips of about just under a cm thick. Paint each mushroom generously with marinade, flip over onto grilling device, then paint the other sides.  The more generous you are with the marinade, the tastier these lovelies will be.

grilling mushrooms2.  Either fire up a BBQ like a normal person, or light up your stovetop for flames.*  Place the rack so that the mushrooms are getting licked by the flames gently, and cook them on one side (moving around if need be to avoid cooking one mushroom more than the other) for about 4 minutes, or until starting to color, flip, and repeat with the other side.  Then, keep crisping them in this manner with the flames until they have just got nice grill marks and some decent coloration of dark brown around the outsides.

3.  Remove from heat, serve with some potato starch vermicelli and thinly sliced sushi-grade salmon brushed with the same marinade for a delightful light feast.

*Should you have neither, you can cook them in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes (keep an eye on their coloration to know whether to cook longer or shorter).  You simply won’t get the pretty marks and the same crisped effect on the outside.

 

 

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