I thought what better way to end 2016 than with a post inspired by my trip to Japan. After all, it was by far the most influential thing I did this year. The simplicity that is so inherent in Japanese culture has long inspired my work and my lifestyle choices. Experiencing it firsthand allowed it to take on a whole new meaning when I got home. In the kitchen, simple preparations with subtle yet potent flavor combinations, like these sushi bowls. I have to give serious props to Wildbrine for the arame ginger kraut used in these bowls. If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend doing so. If not, pickled ginger or another Japanese-style kraut or kimchi will do the trick.
If you’re interested in the art of cooking sushi rice, this article does a great job of explaining. I’ve used it as the foundation for this recipe. The Japanese really take so much care in each tiny detail. The high quality and relaxed pace of life, even in a massive city like Tokyo, are things I think every culture can learn from.
Simple Deconstructed Sushi Bowls
[Makes 4 bowls]
For the sushi rice:
2 cups sushi rice, well rinsed (or any other kind of rice you like)
2.3 cups water (just eyeball it)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons black sesame seeds
For the toppings:
7 oz smoked salmon (Other options: grilled or raw sushi-grade salmon, poached egg, steamed edamame beans or tofu)
4 radishes, sliced paper thin
6-8 Tablespoons arame ginger kraut, or several slices pickled ginger per bowl
1/2 of a Japanese cucumber, sliced then cut into small pieces
3 scallions, white to light green part sliced thinly
1 sheet toasted nori, cut into small strips
For the drizzle:
1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
3-4 Tablespoons tamari
Optional: wasabi, to taste
1.) Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse the rice for 2-3 minutes or until the water runs clear. Using the ratio 1:1.15, add 2.3 cups of water and the rice to a small pot. Cook on high heat, stirring every minute or so until the water boilings. Once boiling, turn the heat to the lowest setting and place the lid on the pot. Cook for about 8 minutes or until there’s not water in the pot and the rice is tender.
2.) Using a wooden spoon, scoop rice from pot into a wooden bowl. Season the rice with vinegar, salt and sesame seeds by mixing for a minute or so. Set aside.
3.) Prep all toppings and sesame-tamari drizzle. Distribute rice between 4 bowls and top with desired toppings and drizzle. Serve immediately.