Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sushi Rice Salad

I am trying to be gluten free (I may have mentioned this before) - it seems to help me with joint aches and pollen allergy (specifically grass seed pollen and since I live in the grass seed capital of the world, this is a biggie!)  A few months ago I ran across an interesting cookbook "The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen" and I finally broke down and bought it (just what I need, another cookbook).  First it turned me on to a whole lot of gluten free products that I never thought I could buy locally without going online but I can find even some of them at the "end of the Oregon Trail" (think low population levels don't bring in lots of hard-to-find/exotic foods).  I even found sweet potato noodles (but that will be another blog!)  I guess it helps that the author lives in Oregon.

We are all things fish - including sushi - lovers. The LOML and I usually find ourselves at one or another of our favorite sushi or fish restaurants on Friday evenings.  Additionally, we once lived next door to a Japanese family and they taught me how to make our own sushi (which I rarely do because it isn't as easy as it looks).  For years I have thought that sushi could be deconstructed into a rice salad but never tried experimenting.   Friends recently invited us for dinner and we rolled our own Spring Rolls with rice paper as the wrappers (delicious) and again I thought of salad without the rice paper wrappers. Guess what? My new cookbook has a recipe for the rice salad that I have been dreaming of!

Following is the easiest recipe that I have found for sushi rice from "The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen" (And yes, I did look up several sushi rice recipes) and a variety of ingredients to add to the warm rice.  Please note that I have made some subtle variations on the rice recipe that simplifies the process - for the authentic recipe I strongly suggest you buy the book (there are lots and lots of yummy recipes)

The basic rice recipe serves 4 to 6.  Depending how many and how much of each additional ingredients you add could change the equation.

Sushi Rice

2 cups medium or short grain rice
2 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

Rinse rice until the water runs clear.  Add measured water and rinsed rice to a pot and let sit for 15 minutes.  After the resting period bring the water to a boil.  Lower heat to low and cook the rice, covered for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave covered pot alone for 10 more minutes.  Add the seasoned rice vinegar and stir.  Recover and set pot aside until ready to serve (refrigerating rice will make it crunchy.

Sushi Rice Salad

Set out multiple toppings for dinners to make their own salad to top the sushi rice.

Protein (1/4 to 1 lb) (Vegan? Just add the tofu.  Vegetarian? Tofu and egg)

Cooked shrimp, salmon or tuna
Smoked fish
Sushi grade raw fish
Crab meat (not imitation crab - it often contains gluten)
Spiced tofu
Egg omelet cut into strips

Vegetables (3 cups) - cut into bite-sized (1 inch length) pieces

Julian cut and Parboiled - carrots, radishes, zucchini
Parboiled - asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower
Blanched spinach (with a dash of sesame oil)
Julian cucumber and green onion
Diced avocado


Tamari Sauce (a gluten free soy sauce alternative)
Soy Sauce (usually not gluten free so watch out)
Pickled ginger
Toasted sesame seeds
Sliced jalapeno chile (serano chile for hotter spice)
Toasted sesame oil
Siracha sauce
Mayonnaise (mix with siracha sauce)

Putting It All Together

Start with bowls of rice and then let the guests add the protein, veggies and toppings of their choice.  For toppings tamari and soy sauces are a must.  The other toppings add special flavors.  Suggest that a few toppings combined with a little rice could lead to a few more combinations could serve on top of some remaining rice, and so forth.

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