It is tricky to single out one favourite kitchen tool. However, on my top 10 list is a rice cooker.
So why bother with a rice cooker when a saucepan or microwave both create good results when cooking rice?
Well, a rice cooker is extremely convenient, with no fail rate - add rice and water, close lid and walk away. And it keeps cooked rice warm.
Homemade sushi is a popular option for lunch boxes, a tasty snack or a light meal. Homely versions can include tinned tuna or salmon or leftover cooked chicken with additions of mayonnaise, grated carrot or lettuce. One of my picks is sushi with avocado, so today I would like you to have the recipe for this.
Nothing to do with sushi, but while I'm on a roll, here's a recipe for bresaola with brie and rocket.
Makes 24 cocktail-size serves
225g (1 cup + 2 Tbsp) short-grain rice
300ml (1 cup + 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp) cold water
1 piece kombu (Japanese dried kelp)
10ml (2 tsp) sake or dry white wine
40ml (2 Tbsp + 2 tsp) rice wine vinegar
25g (2 1/2 Tbsp) sugar
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
25ml (1 Tbsp + 2 tsp) rice wine vinegar
20ml (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp) water
3 sheets nori (paper-thin dried seaweed sheets)
3 leaves lettuce (use a soft variety)
1 Tbsp wasabi paste
1-2 avocado, halved, stone removed and sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp Japanese pickled ginger (sold in jars)
Place rice into a bowl and rinse under cold running water, moving rice around in water with your hands. Drain rice and return to bowl.
Add water to the bowl and "knead" rice for 20 seconds or until water is milky. Pour rice into a sieve to drain and run cold running water over rice in sieve until water runs clear.
Place rice into a rice cooker. Add first measure water, kombu and sake. Cover and turn rice cooker switch to "cook". When rice is cooked, the switch will automatically flick to "warm". (Alternatively, cook rice in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat until water is absorbed.) Gently spread rice into a low-sided tray to cool.
Mix first measure of rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl. Using a firm spatula, cut sugar mixture into rice.
Mix second measure of vinegar and second measure of water together in a bowl. (To enhance flavour and texture of nori, wave each sheet of nori over a naked flame two or three times on each side.)
Place a nori sheet, shiny-side down (lengthways) on to sushi mat, or plastic wrap spread out on work surface. Divide rice into three and place first measure on to nori. Wet fingers in vinegar mixture and gently spread rice over nori, leaving a margin of 3 centimetres at the top edge.
Place a layer of lettuce in a strip horizontally in the centre of rice. Lightly spread lettuce with a little wasabi paste.
Drizzle avocado with lemon juice and place 3-4 slices along centre of lettuce. Wet fingers in vinegar mixture and use to moisten top edge of nori sheet. Carefully roll sushi and seal at moist edge.
Repeat with remaining two nori sheets.
To serve: Dip a sharp knife into vinegar mixture and remove ends of each roll. Cut roll into eight slices and garnish with pickled ginger.
BRESAOLA, BRIE AND ROCKET ROLLS WITH EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Makes 20 cocktail-size portions
Buy bresaola - Italian or Italian-style dried beef - thinly sliced from deli section of supermarket or speciality food stores. Recipe is for two rolls, which get cut into 20 small rounds.
200g paper-thin slices bresaola
60g (4 Tbsp) mayonnaise
30g (3 handfuls) rocket leaves, tough stalks removed
60g brie, thinly sliced
20g (2-3 Tbsp) red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Roll out two pieces of plastic wrap, about 40cm long, on to a flat work surface.
Lay out half of bresaola on one piece plastic wrap, making a rectangle around 30cm x 20cm. Fill any gaps with small pieces of bresaola. Repeat process with remainder of bresaola on second piece of plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Smear a thin layer of mayonnaise over bresaola and cover with rocket. About 4cm in from the edge closest to you, arrange brie in a line and top with onion. Season with pepper.
Starting from the edge closest to you, tightly roll bresaola over brie. Continue to roll until filling is encased.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until required or for up to 24 hours.
serve: Unwrap rolls and, using a sharp knife, straighten ends and slice into 2cm-thick pieces. Place pieces cut-side-up. Drizzle cut side with olive oil. Serve immediately
- The Dominion Post
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