Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A little something Japanese - well, almost

One of my dear friends called today because her boss was looking for a new rice appetizer to add to his menu.  She said, "No problem," and called the "rice expert".  I have been called many things but "the rice expert" was one that I didn't see coming!

I promised my friend that I would come up with some recipes for her to share with her boss.  I hope that you enjoy them, too.

Rice Cake Sushi Trio

Rice Cakes:
1 C cooked short grain rice
1/2 C rice flour
2 T chive or green onion, finely chopped
1 T rice oil
1 t salt
1 C water
rice oil for frying

Smoked Salmon
Blanched asparugus tops (2 inches in length)
Chopped chives
Seared Tuna slices
Chopped green onion
thin slice of lemon
Spicy sauce (optional, check ingredients)
Black Tobiko (Masago or ikura may be substituted)
Thinly sliced strips of Nori
wasabi (optional, check ingredients)
ginger (optional, check ingredients)

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until just mixed.  Do not over-mix.
  2. Allow batter to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour enough oil in a skillet to cover the bottom.  Turn heat to medium or medium-high.
  4. When the oil is thoroughly heated, ladle approximately 1/4 cup batter into the pan and gently press to flatten.  You want your cakes to be about 1.5 - 2 inches in diameter and not too thick to eat once the toppings are in place. 
  5. NOTE:  Keep your ladle in a bowl of water to prevent the batter from sticking.  If the batter begins to stick to the ladle, just dip it in the water again.
  6. Cook the rice cake until light brown on one side.  Watch your heat and only turn them once.  If the rice cakes cook too slow, they will be hard on the inside or too fast and they will be mushy. 
  7. Once the latke have cooked on each side, place them on plate with a paper towel to cool.
  8. Place 3 rice cakes on a plate.
  9. Top one cake with a slice of smoked salmon, two blanched asparagus spears (approx 2 inches long) and a few pieces of chopped green chive.  Try this one drizzled with honey for a variation.  
  10. Place a slice of seared tuna on another rice cake.  Top with chopped green onion, a slice of lemon and a dab of spicy sauce.
  11. Top the last rice cake with one spoon of Tobiko and sprinkle with very thinly sliced strips of nori. Serve with a side of wasabi and ginger.
NOTE:  Please remember to check the ingredients of the wasabi, ginger and spicy sauce that you use.  There is much variation and some may not be allergy-safe.  Or, if in question, omit these ingredients entirely.

Jumok bab Bites  (Mini Vegetable Rice Balls)

4 cups cooked short grain rice
1 green onion or chives, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, finely diced and par boiled
2 baby bella mushrooms, finely diced
2 T rice oil 
salt, to taste

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until the ingredients are evenly mixed throughout the rice.  Add salt and taste.  Now is the time to make any adjustments to the veggies or salt to ensure the flavor that you like.
  2. Place about 1T of the mixture in your hand and squeeze.  The rice should stick together.  If not, add a little more oil and test again.  If you are still having trouble getting your rice to stick, add a little more rice.  Sometimes, if there is not enough rice or too many veggies, the balls will fall apart.
  3. Once the mixture is ready, wet your hands slightly and begin forming balls.  Place 1 tablespoon of rice in your hand and squeeze until it sticks together.  Turn and squeeze the rice until it forms a ball.  The balls should be bite-sized.
  4. Place 3 balls next to a pinch of seaweed salad and serve. 

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