Friday, August 28, 2015

Japanese inspired food is without doubt my go to. It's simple with an aesthetic built on minimalism. It wouldn't kick a bit of raw fish out of bed for love or money and the vegetable selection is considered; truly considered, showing restraint that kale lovers and those wanting to eat their way out of a garden bed should seriously take note of. For minimal effort and fuss get your laughing gear around these dashi rice and sashimi cups with a drizzle of dressing for lunch or dinner. They are the right side of simple.
The key is in the best sashimi you can scour from a fishmonger and the rice, well the dashi nursed grains help you achieve the sort of rice you always wish it might be but so rarely is. A word of caution, allow the rice to cool – there is nothing worse than sweaty lettuce for transport and sashimi starting to sweat and cook on the underside.
Use the dressing sparingly, and top with your usual adornments of wasabi and pickled ginger if you like all the bells and whistles.

½ cup sushi rice (short grain white rice), rinsed vigorously under cold running water at least twice
½ cup water
300g sashimi grade salmon (or tuna)
1 small butter lettuce, leaves pulled, rinsed, separated
2 tsp instant dashi powder 
Spicy hoisin & ginger sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp mirin
I've always been told that the perfect rice and water ratio is 1:1. Especially for sushi rice.
Combine the water and dashi stock, stirring to combine. Put the rice in a small non-stick pot and cover with the dashi water, giving it a good stir. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place over the lowest heat possible.
Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, the water should just be on the verge of a simmer. (This is known as blooming the rice) Turn the heat up slightly and cook for 10 minutes (the water should still not be boiling) and by the end of the time the water should be completely evaporated.  Turn off the heat and leave for an additional 5 minutes to complete the cooking process.
Remove the lid and with a wooden spoon gently fold the rice from the bottom of the pot over the top (without crushing the grains), and repeat so the rice is evenly "shuffled".
For the hoisin and ginger sauce combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. 
Scoop the rice (about 1-2 tablespoons) into the butter lettuce, top with salmon pieces and drizzle over the hoisin and ginger sauce to taste. Top with pickled ginger and wasabi if using.