Rice and Seaweed Roll

By on July 29, 2011
 

Going away on summer vacation is always fun but shedding those unwanted fat  on your return after indulging in high calorie meals  is always a challenge. That is not the case if the country you live in is Japan because the Japanese cuisine has a large category of low-calorie and delicious foods.  The only problem that most foreigners face is how to prepare them.Kazumi Kato, a working mom who loves to cook, shares two Japanese recipes from  her collection for you to try at home — the Futomaki and Asari Miso Jiru. Enjoy!

Rice and Seaweed Roll (Futomaki)
(Makes 3 rolls)

A. Vinegared rice
(3 cups of steamed rice
80ml rice vinegar
50g sugar
pinch of salt

B. Filling
    Omelet  (2 eggs , 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp Mirin, vegetable oil)
Mushroom   (6 pieces dried shiitake, 200 cc dried shiitake broth)  +  (2 tbsp Soy sauce, 2 tbsp Sake for cooking, 2 tbsp Mirin, 1 tbsp sugar, pinch of salt)
Boiled shrimps (12 pcs)
Raw tuna  1 block
Sakura Denbu  ( a sweet-salty, fluffy pink fish flakes condiment)
Kani Kama (imitation crab sticks sold in Japanese supermarkets)
Nori  (or dried seaweed sheets)
Shiso Oba leaf  (6 pcs)

How to make
1. Rice
Season steamed rice with A ingredients (rice vinegar, sugar and salt).  Cool and set aside.

2. Omelet
Mix omelet ingredients all together in a bowl and beat well but keep consistency watery. Set stove to medium,  pour a small amount of mix in a well greased square or rectangle shaped pan to form a thin layer.  Pop the bubbles with chopsticks as they appear.  Flip half side, oil the other half corner of the pan and repeat the process.  Many thin layers cooked at a time is how Japanese omelet is done. Your omelet should look like a thick block after repeating the process.  Pat the omelet block with tissue to remove excess oil. Set aside to cool.

3. Mushroom
Immerse dried shiitake in 200cc of water. Strain and take out dried shiitake.  Heat the liquid in a casserole and mix soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar and salt in low flame. Put back shiitake in the casserole and cook slowly for 10 minutes without allowing to boil.  Set aside.

4. Boiled shrimps
Peel off,  pat dry and set aside.

5. Cut all ingredients into strips.

6. Take a nori or seaweed sheet. Take enough vinegared rice and spread a thin layer enough to cover the sheet until the edges.

7. Align ingredients horizontally on top of the rice. Start rolling it forward leaving 2 cms from the edge and tightening it at each roll. Be careful not to put too much filling on the center of the seaweed sheet as it will be difficult to roll it. Make sure that you have not put too much vinegar in your rice to make a perfect roll.

8. Put the roll on top of a square bamboo mat especially made for sushi making and mold the roll tightly.   Tuck in loose filling on the edges.  If you do not have a bamboo mat,  Saran wrap will do.

Tip: Cutting can be tricky so use a super stainless sharp knife (unpainted) to create a neat bite-size piece. Feel free to try different fillings such as shrimp with avocado mayonnaise or whatever you fancy.

Clams in Miso Soup
(Makes 4 servings)

600 gms clams
4 cups dashi
1 large Japanese sake for cooking
4 tbsp Miso paste
Salt to taste

How to Make
1. To remove the sand and dirt, immerse  the clams in a bowl of cold water and salt for about 30 minutes (1 cup water = 1 cup of clams).  When done, rinse the shells well with your hands.

2. Mix dashi and sake, put in a soup pan over medium heat, cover and allow to boil.   Add the clams, adjust the heat to low.  When all the shells open, it’s ready.  Be careful not to oversimmer to keep shell meat tender.

3. Remove soup pan away from heat.  Place miso in the pan and slowly blend and stir to melt.

Tip: Use sand-free and ready-to-cook clams for convenience. The secret of Japanese soup is in the dashi. Dashi is an indispensable soup stock and natural flavor enhancer that goes well with many Japanese soups.

How to make Kelp and Bonito Flavored dashi

(Makes 4 cups)
    4.5 cups of water
2 pcs. 10 cm Kelp (or Konbu in Japanese)
20 ~ 30g Bonito flakesHow to make
1. Immerse kelp in water for 20 minutes.
2. Put kelp and water in a small casserole over medium heat.  As the water heats up and you see bubbles starting to build up, remove kelp from pan.
3. Put the bonito flakes in the boiling casserole , simmer a few minutes on low heat and clean away the froth on the edges with a shallow ladle.
4. Remove from heat and leave until dried bonito flakes settle down. Pass liquid through a fine strainer or a kitchen paper towel.

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