For years I told my family “No matter how good of a cook I become, Asian cooking will best be enjoyed in restaurants.” I thought that my unfamiliarity with the ingredients and the seemingly complicated cooking styles, were beyond my skills. Fast forward many years and the growth of one child, and I am experimenting with Asian cooking again. This time, I have a talented sidekick, Yo’el, who has an equal passion for food and Asian culture.
It all started years ago when we took a sushi making class – Yo’el was only 9 at the time. It was 3 hours of brutal work, though fun, when we tried the recipes at home, it was way too much work! Recently, though, we became inspired to try again. Yo’el took it upon himself to perfect the rice (with Ofer’s help) and now he has also perfected the rolling technique.
We went on to exploring a large variety of types of sushi and chirashi (which is sushi ingredients served on a bowl of rice instead of in a roll). From using recipe books to recipes online to making up our own concoctions, we are now looking at restaurant menus and copying their ideas at home.
We make lemon mayonnaise sauce, eel sauce and sriracha sauce. All are great in combination with tuna, salmon, imitation crab, shrimp and more. Vegetables can be added too – carrot, umeboshi plum, avocado, spinach, cucumber, red bell pepper, mushroom, onion etc. Cream cheese is a great addition to many types of sushi. Here are some of the sushis we’ve made over the last few months:
In the last few weeks, we’ve turned our attention to Thai dishes. Thom Kha Gai (coconut chicken soup), Spicy Angel Wings, Volcano fish and chicken are all fun dishes that we tried with pretty good success. We’ve also been making a larger variety of Japanese dishes like teriyaki, seaweed salad, shabu shabu, miso soup and more. Mochi is a recent exploration – a very traditional Japanese dish. Most often known as an ice cream wrapping (see my next blog post on Ice Creams), I tried it as a savory dish just for fun!
I made the mochi, rolled it into balls and poked caramelized onion sausage meatball pieces into the center of the mochi. I placed them on an oiled tray and topped them with a sauce made of miso, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Baked them til golden and boy, were they good! Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Yum!
Though not specifically Asian, the current trend for making kale chips feels like another great way to eat healthy food! Ofer initially tried this dish with much success. We love to wander around the garden in early spring like this and collect the volunteers that are offering us their nutritious goodness! Mustard, Wild Mallow and others are a wonderful variation on kale for making chips. They’re not only tasty, they’re beautiful!
Here’s the recipe –
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wash kale or other greens and spin dry. Cut out the center stems. I use kitchen scissors for this and it is quick and easy. Put greens in a large bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil, cider vinegar and salt. Mix thoroughly. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Lay the greens flat on papered tray without overlapping. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove to a bowl or container to cool. Repeat until all greens are done. I reuse the same paper for a full batch, then throw it out.