One of my favourite foods has got to be sushi (and burgers, don’t ever underestimate how much I love burgers). It’s one of those meals that you can eat so much of it, yet you never feel guilty. It just tastes so clean and delicious.

My problem is that I live in an industrial town towards the North of England. The best I can do to satisfy my fish and rice craving is the little packets you get in the sandwich section of supermarkets. They hardly scream authenticity and they can be quite bland.

I had never really considered making my own until I started this blog. Watching videos on YouTube and reading articles about master sushi chefs made the whole thing seem quite daunting. It wasn’t until I started to experiment a bit more with my cooking that I realised that

a) Even those chefs had to start somewhere

b) I’m the one eating it, who actually cares if I’m not a grand master?

So I threw caution to the wind and decided to make myself some sushi. Then I realised I didn’t have any nori (the seaweed wrapping stuff) so I settled for a rice bowl with pickled vegetables.

The whole meal was surprisingly easy to put together and the end result was (dare I say this about my own food?) delicious. It was exactly what I wanted! So suck it, supermarkets. You can keep your boring sushi boxes, but I will still need to pop in and grab all the ingredients to make my own, so… sorry about the suck it comment…

Japanese rice is perfect for healthy lunches. It’s a little bit sticky but still fluffy and light. So you don’t have to eat a lot to feel comfortably fun. I have virtually no portion control so I ate an entire pan of it, I’m just saying that you don’t have to. It takes a little bit of faff to get it made but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Pickled vegetables, on the other hand, takes virtually no effort. In fact, if you find yourself putting effort in, you’re doing it wrong. It’s pickling vegetables. Just leave it there. I’m going to give you the recipe for the vegetables I’ve used. Don’t take it at face value though, that was pretty much just what I had in the fridge. You can sub out any or all of the vegetables I used for whatever you feel like (or have available).

To finish it off and make it into an actual meal, as opposed to just eating a bowl of rice and vegetables, I used a salmon fillet that I cured with lemon juice…. and I’ll just leave that for another blog post. I also added sliced avocado because, why wouldn’t you?

Any and all of the ingredients in this meal can be found in most supermarkets. However, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, I can’t suggest strongly enough for you to get your arse to the nearest Asian supermarket. Not only will you definitely find everything you need, it will be cheaper and of a better quality. Also, if you ask the shop owner nicely you will find them to be helpful and inspiring. They will often tell you their own little secret recipes and tricks. So sack of the supermarket and find your local Asian food store.

Japanese Sticky Rice

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Sushi Rice (if you really can’t be bothered to go shopping, I will advocate using risotto rice. It’s your meal, just don’t tell anyone.

1 1/2 cups of Lightly Salted Water

3 teaspoons of Rice Wine Vinegar (Do not use a different type of vinegar. Trust me, it does not end well)

3/4 teaspoon of Brown Sugar

Sprinkle of Sea Salt

You will notice that I have been much more precise in my measurements today. This isn’t a new direction I’m going in, it’s just that this is really easy to screw up so it’s better to practice with the correct amounts before you go and wing it.

Method

  1. `Once the rice is clear, leave it to soak in a bowl of clean water for about half an hour
  2. Put the rice into the water and bring the water to the boil
  3. When it’s boiling, turn the heat right down and put a lid on the pot (or a plate if you’ve lost the lid… which I may have done)
  4. Leave it to simmer for about 10 minutes and then check it’s still got a little bit of liquid in it. If it’s run dry, you are probably going to have to start again. The first time I did this I just topped it up and ended up with salty rice pudding. Not exactly what I was going for
  5. Leave it to simmer for a further 5-10 minutes and then turn the heat off
  6. Take the lid/plate off and leave the rice to steam itself into stickiness (Phrasing!)
  7. After 10 minutes of steaming, fold in the rice vinegar, salt and sugar. Apparently, you have to use a wooden otherwise you risk damaging the rice
  8. That’s it

I left this to cool in the pan overnight

Pickled vegetables

Ingredients

Again, I hasten to remind you that the ingredients and slicing methods were  of my own volition. You can do as you damn well please.

1 Carrot (I Spiralized mine, but you can grate or even Julienne it. Go nuts!)

Red Cabbage (Cut into mid-length strips. Do not try to Spiralize it! It just turns it into a mulch)

Fresh Ginger (finely diced)

Rice Wine Vinegar

Tepid water (or Lukewarm, if you prefer… ladies)

Salt

Pepper

Brown Sugar

Method

  1. Mix the liquids together in a 2:1 ratio of water to vinegar
  2. Dissolve the sugar and salt in. Put as much as you want in. If you want sweeter vegetables, use more sugar… obviously
  3. Put the vegetables in a kilner jar, or a bowl, or whatever
  4. Pour the pickling liquid on top
  5. Put it in a dark and quiet corner overnight, so it has time to reflect
  6. That is also it
  7. It lasts for ages, so you can make loads of it and just leave it in the jar. Then, next time you want pickled vegetables, the world is your oyster!

Now you have two parts of your rice bowl, you can top it with whatever you want. As I said, I opted for salmon and avocado, but you can use Tofu, beef, edamame beans… anything really.

Hope you enjoy, and if you end up making this, please post the pics on my Facebook wall so I can “borrow” your inspiration next time I make this again…

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