Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sushi Bowl

A new favorite recipe from 101cookbooks. I love sushi but I'm too lazy to make it and too cheap to buy it. This is the perfect solution to my dilemma -- deconstructed California rolls!

This meal (aside from throwing the brown rice in the rice cooker and hitting "start" several hours beforehand) took me probably a grand total of fifteen minutes to make. Love it!


2 cups short-grain brown rice
3 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 (4-inch) square sheets nori seaweed
6 ounces extra-firm tofu

grated zest and juice of one orange
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons (raw) brown sugar (reg. sugar is ok too)
2 tablespoons shoyu sauce (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons (brown) rice vinegar

4 green onions, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Rinse and drain the rice two or three times. Combine the rice, water, and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes.

Toast the nori in a preheated 300F degree oven or a medium-hot skillet for a few minutes. Crumble or chop coarsely.

Drain the tofu and pat it dry. Cut the block of tofu lengthwise through the middle to make four 1/4-to 1/2-inch thick sheets of tofu. Two at a time, cook in a dry skillet or well-seasoned skillet over medium-high for a few minutes until browned on one side. Flip gently, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy. Let cool, enough to handle, then cute crosswise into matchsticks (see photo). Repeat with the remaining sheets.

To make the dressing, set the sheets aside. Combine the orange juice lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 1 or 2 minute, the add the shoyu and vinegar. Return to a gentle boil and cook another 1 or 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the zests.

When the rice is done, stir in 1/3 cup of the dressing and add more to taste. Scoop the rice into individual bowls and top with the toasted nori, green onions, tofu, avocado slices, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Makes 4-6 servings.

My notes, reflections, and a response essay:

I made the bowl mostly as directed. I did add a lot more roasted nori because I loooooooove seaweed. And it's really fun to watch shrivel up in the pan. I also think next time I would add steamed carrots or some other veggie. Oh, and I used orange juice and lemon concentrate because citrus fruit is so expensive right now and I was already spending a ridiculous amount on the avocado. And I used regular salt, regular soy sauce, and regular rice vinegar. And I cooked it in the microwave instead of on the stove. You get the picture.

This recipe is 100% Michael approved. He said he *might* even like it better than my other favorite rice bowl from the same site (I usually make it with the otsu dressing. It is ravishing and also a fifteen minute meal!)

101 Cookbooks is hands down my favorite recipe site. We've had a few duds, but generally we love just about every recipe I've made from there. Her recipes appeal to me because they are so well suited to my "can't follow a recipe" style. Several people have commented that they didn't like the Peanut Noodle Salad recipe I posted, which surprised me because I make it just about every time we are invited to dinner and it always seems very well received. I looked back at the recipe to see what I may have done differently and started thinking, "Well, I always to add a few tablespoons of fresh ginger. Hmmm, and twice as much garlic. And a bag of asparagus stir fry mix. And a lot more sesame oil with a little honey. Plus a few handfuls of fresh chopped cilantro/basil. Oh, and I almost always use multi-grain rotini instead of soba noodles. And I top it with lots of sesame seeds...." So, essentially, I don't follow the recipe at all. But all of the recipes on that site are perfectly suited to such experimentation. I love how she mentions swapping dressings, or using a dressing for one recipe on another, completely different dish. Her recipes are, for me, more inspiration than direction. And I like that.

I have really been into cooking the last six months and I get so excited over cheap, quick, lovely, tasty and nutritious recipes like this! I want to get a good collection of fast, healthy meals ready because I know once we have a herd of screaming small children running around the house I'm not going to have the energy or time to go searching like I do now. And that I promise is the end of my rambling ruminations and all I have to say for the evening. Happy cooking!


Shiloh said...

Yum! I wanna try this one!!
I like that it calls for "Nori Seaweed". Nori means seaweed. It is like calling for "leche milk". Heehee.

Brooke said...

How about we have you to dinner and you can bring one of your interesting dishes? :) Pete would love the sushi bowl, I'm sure!!