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    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Fusion Sushi - Empty Cupboard Creativity

    Fusion cooking has been around for thousands of years. When people travel far from their homelands, they crave the native flavors from their places of origin. Most times the spices, cooking methods, or ingredients are not available in their new homes, so cultural explorers must improvise with what is available in their new homes.

    Using the familiar recipes and changing some, or even most of the ingredients and/or cooking methods, chefs of all stripes try to come up with a similar dish that will taste or look close to the original ethnic dish.

    This is fusion cooking.

    The other day, I had a homeschool event to go to, and everyone was bringing a snack.
    It was near the end of the food budget and we're running low on food in the pantry, so I had few options for anything for my family to present.

    I had a package of nori, some Greek caviar spread my family didn't really like (too bland), rice, and various odds and ends like cans of vegetables we don't like and so forth.

    A friend who was going to be at the event had just been diagnosed with celiac disease, and couldn't have gluten, and is also allergic to milk. I had promised to make something for an event sometime, as it is rare for anyone to bring something that is both gluten and milk free. I really hadn't expected to keep my promise so soon after making it though, especially without any research or special shopping! *chuckle*

    So, armed with little to make a "normal" snack with, and some of the supplies for the perfect gluten and milk free snack, I hunted my kitchen and discovered a frozen container of smoked salmon we'd purchased a while back and not had a chance to use, and a package of rice ball seasoning with fish roe that I had honestly, been a bit apprehensive about trying (it's really tasty).

    The stage was set, and it was time to begin.

    To make a potentially really long story short, after a bit of meddling and measured experimentation, I had created a deliciously thick and robust tangy-sweet sauce for dipping, and some delightfully airy and mild fish sushi.

    Fusion Salmon Sushi

    1 cup uncooked American white rice
    3 cups water
    1 packet roasted nori (seaweed) sheets
    1 small container moist smoked salmon (6-12 ounces)
    3 teaspoons dried parsley

    Put 1 cup regular rice in 3 cups water and bring to a rapid boil. Top with lid and remove from heat. Skillet toast salmon on low heat, in a covered skillet for 5 minutes. Prepare sauce (recipe below), then lay out a single nori sheet. If rice has absorbed all water by this time, set pot next to nori sheet on an oven mitt.

    Carefully spoon sticky rice into one edge of the nori sheet in teaspoons until entire length is covered in lumps, then place thin strips of salmon on rice, end to end. Roll nori, tucking to make a firm roll, and roll up completely to use up the rest of the nori. Place on a plate. Roll subsequent sushi until salmon is gone, and place on the plate, not touching the other rolls.

    After all sushi is rolled and the salmon is used up, place rolls in refrigerator for 20 minutes to firm.

    If you wish, you may stir 2 cups rice into the fish juice in the skillet until lightly covered and make more sushi with this rice until the nori sheets are used up. It will taste the same, but have a slightly different color and texture.

    For a non-squished appearance, cut sushi rolls with a straight (not serrated) knife by stabbing through the center half-way and cutting downwards, being sure to slice through the bottom completely. To finish, turn the roll on it's side and finish cutting.

    For the final touch, set the slices prettiest side up and sprinkle lightly with dried parsley.

    Fusion Sushi Dipping Sauce

    1/2 jar Krinos brand Taramosalata greek-style caviar spread
    1/4 cup rice vinegar
    1/2 teaspooon honey
    1/2 teaspoon sorgum molasses
    2 packets omusubiyama yaki-tarako roe seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
    1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    1/4 teaspoon nutritional yeast
    3 sprays Braggs liquid aminoes (or 1 teaspoon soy sauce)

    Simmer 10 minutes, constantly stirring and smushing lumps.

    To serve, arrange artfully on a plate. May be garnished with leftover fish rice over sauce, a sculpted cone of wasabi, or three pickled ginger slices, or serve sauce in a cup on the side.

    Prettiest served on a plate drizzled with the dipping sauce, and with both wasabi and pickled ginger on the side.

    For an even healthier version, use whole grain brown rice instead of white in the sushi, and in the dipping sauce, substitute one raw egg, 2 tablespoons plain sushi (rinsed twice), and 1 tablespoon olive oil, well blended, in place of the 1/2 jar Greek spread before simmering.


    Makes about 48 pieces sushi and 1 cup dipping sauce. Time: about 1 hour.

    Freezes well, thaw naturally in refrigerator in covered container.

    * Most ingredients can be purchased at either your local grocery store or eastern food market. The Greek caviar spread can be found at a European specialty market if you want your sauce to be a bit oily when it is done, otherwise, just save time and buy the healthier, substituted ingredients for the sauce.


    lovelife said...

    I need to be more like you . You make some cool stuff at times..

    Whimspiration said...

    Aaw, you are too sweet. *smile*

    Sushi is really easy though, just time consuming.

    What are you all doing on Sunday?