Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Recipe/Technique: Justin's Kitchen Sushi Rice Specialty Topping

Today I'll be sharing a special assortment of toppings that I use to complement my homemade chirashi bowls. It's not exactly a recipe, just a list of ingredients. There is absolutely no cooking involved!

Imitation Crab Meat
Japanese Cucumber 
Japanese Pickled Yellow Daikon
Calamari Salad
Pickled Ginger (Shoga)
Seaweed Salad
Furikake Seasoning
Kewpie Mayonnaise
White Short Grain Rice
Sushi Vinegar
Konbu Kelp Seaweed

-Try a variety of substitutions! Try kimchi for a korean flare! 
-Add Masago to your toppings! I normally consider it to be part of the sashimi ingredients though, but don't forget to use it!
-Try the many different types of furikake rice seasoning!
-Buy Japanese Imitation Crabmeat, itakes a huge difference!
-Change my ingredients to anything you want! Try Japanese potato salad!  

The Rice
I use a 1 : 1.25 ratio of rice to water for short grain rice. After washing your grains, soak your rice with the final measured amount of water for 30 minutes. I've found that this softens the grains and allows for faster cooking. For a nice additive, add in a small sheet of konbu kelp while soaking your grains. It adds a subtle, but deep flavor to your rice when finished.

I keep bag of tied up konbu seaweed knots for making soups or broths. They come in handy in these situations.

Once the rice as finished steaming and resting (freshly steamed rice can be very sticky and soft), empty the entire contents into a large bowl. Add your sushi vinegar according to bottle instructions and cut the vinegar into the rice. This means to only use your rice spatula and spread the vinegar into the rice as shown below.

Using this picture as reference, the spatula will only move vertically, "cutting" the rice. This method leaves as many rice grains whole as possible, preventing a mushy texture from forming.

If you're not ready to eat the rice right away, cover the rice with a towel soaked in warm water.

The Imitation Crabmeat
For being just an imitation of meat, there is a huge difference in quality between brands of imitation crabmeat. Try to stick with the Japanese ones, such as Yamasa. The texture, taste, and consistency is just not comparable to knock off Chinese brands.

Shred your crab sticks and season with a tablespoon or so of Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise. The Japanese is much sweeter, creamier, and not as fatty tasting as your normal mayo. Season with just a sprinkle of white pepper to finish (black pepper works in a pinch).

The Vegetables
All we need to do here is to julienne the vegetables. So it's all about the knife technique. Here are some pictures to help with your fine slicing and dicing.

Slice off one edge of your vegetables to have a flat surface. This allows you to both work faster and prevent injuries on the chopping block.

It's fun to play Jenga with your sliced vegetables, but sometimes it's much faster to lay them across in smaller layers for speed. It also prevents the vegetables from slipping and your hand from missing a finger.

The Assembly

All that's left to do is to top your bowl and eat! Start by placing the rice at the bottom. Sprinkle your furikake rice seasoning on top. Layer your assorted vegetables and condiments on top and you're done!

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