Category Archives: rice and lentils

Sushi at home – make your own sushi

Sushi prep

Chopping showcase

Sushi

The boys ADORE sushi. Going to sushi train for us is ex.pen.sive. Up there with yum cha in that they have NO off switch. Still – I reconcile their addiction with the fact they’re relatively easy to make at home and fall into the “really good for you” category.

The unspoken simply expected rule in this house is that I will make fried chicken to go in the rolls. I could pretty much fry anything and the boys would eat it but MY GOODNESS put some fried strips of chicken in front of them and it’s like twilight at the watering hole.

I’ll give you a quite guide to the fried chicken:

- marinate it in some teriyaki or soy and it lifts the flavour very nicely

- get a little station set up with a bowl of POTATO starch (have to have to have to use this – it is THE flour to use when it comes to frying stuff if you want a cripsy outer shell. Yes cornflour will work but it’s not the same), a bowl of lightly beaten eggs, a bowl of your crumb of choice. In the picture below I just used packet breadcrumbs (I know, I know. I even HAD homemade breadcrumbs in the freezer but in this case a fine crumb works best) but they really are in a different league if you use panko crumbs. My local supermarket doesn’t stock them. It irritates me.

- Get your wok all fired up and pour in enough oil to come up the sides and give the chicken room to move once you start cooking. Now here’s another COMPLETE revelation to me thanks to Ruth at Gourmet Girlfriend – Rice Bran Oil. It has REVOLUTIONISED my frying capabilities and basically eradicated my fear of the fry. It has a much higher smoking point which means stuff cooks better in it without burning the outside and being raw inside, I think.

And I must say here – frying is not the healthiest option in the universe, but in making this chicken when I drain the oil out of the wok afterwards it is obvious that the amount of oil absorbed by the chicken is minimal.

- Make a lot of chicken in one go. Yes it is time consuming but it means you will have left-overs for lunches and/or dinner the next day. I file this under ‘winning’.

Chicken strips

Chicken crack

So, you’ve got your chicken which you’re going to slice into thinner strips and all your other fillings – carrot, cucumber, shallots, baby corn, capsicum, whatever takes your fancy.

The rice

  • 4 cups rice
  • 1 litre water
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 4tblsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  1. Mix the rice wine vinegar, caster sugar and salt together and set aside.
  2. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear the place in a saucepan with the water. Bring it to the boil and once you see little tunnels in the rice appear and most of the water is absorbed turn the heat right down, put the lid on and steam for 10 minutes. Then take off the heat, keep the lid on and let it sit for another 5 minutes.
  3. Tip the rice into a shallow tray and pour over the vinegar mixture. Keep turning the rice to ensure it’s all covered and to cool the rice down.
Sushi rolls

rolled up goodness

So now you’re going to take your seaweed sheet and spread rice over most of the sheet. Leave a small line at the end which is handy for when you roll it up. Don’t be stingy with the rice and don’t overload either – you’ll work it out.

Then choose your fillings and lie them in a row across the rice about 1/3 of the way from the bottom. Don’t go crazy – one single width of each filling if you’re using a variety, a few more if just going with one.

Take the bottom of the roll and then turn over the filling – don’t stress about this step, you’ll be using your fingertips to keep the fillings in place as your palms and thumbs pull the seaweed sheet over them.

You want the roll to be nice and tight so when you eat it it doesn’t fall apart.

But you know what? If it falls apart it is OK. You’ll get more adept at it with each roll.

And there you have it – you made your own sushi! Serve with a little dipping dish of soy, some wasabi, pickled ginger and a cup of delicate Japanese green tea.

Get onto it will you?

OH, other things that you can make to round the meal out:

Spring onion pancakes

Pork dumplings/gyoza

Chicken moon dumplings

Dumpling dipping sauce

 

 

 

ONWARD!


Ginger and Sesame Rice with Chicken

I would almost say that this dish is the family’s favourite. You’d think I’d make it every week in that case but for some reason it only makes it into circulation about once a month, maybe two. Stupid. This is so good. So very very good. It’s quick, it’s easy but looks fancy, it’s nutritious and best of all – tastes absolutely sensational. 

I am known to increase the rice and stock by half because you know, of the rice-eating child. I also make it in my 28cm le crueset so it’s wide enough for the chicken to fit on one level. Just before serving I actually tear up the chicken and mix it through the rice a little but you could always keep the escalopes whole – probably looks more fancy that way.

Ginger and sesame rice with chicken
Bill Granger

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 500g jasmine rice
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 500g skinless chicken breast, cut into thin escalopes (that means, slice across the fillet not down through it) *
  • Finely sliced long green shallots
  • Fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Freshly chopped red chilli
  • Soy sauce
  1. Heat the peanut oil and sesame oil in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion and stir occasionally for 5-6 minutes or until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains of rice in the oil.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
  6. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Place the chicken in a single layer on top of the rice.
  8. Cover again and simmer for a further 7-8 minutes or until rice is just tender and chicken is cooked through.*
  9. Remove from heat and set aside with lid on for a further 5 minutes.
  10. Serve topped with sliced shallots, coriander, chilli and drizzle with soy sauce.
  11. Serves 4-6
* You can use firm white fish fillets instead of the chicken.

Marinated Lamb Cutlets, Lentil and Rice Pilaff and Ginger Tomato Sauce

I adore lamb cutlets and believe they are one of the best kid foods around – all except for one small but important point. Cost. Those little buggers are expensive and when you have hordes of children to feed it all just gets ridiculous. But the other day I went fuck it and bought some delightful french trimmed lamb cutlets. And thanks to a Bill Granger recipe they were a taste sensation.

Marinated Lamb Cutlets
From bills, Bill Granger

  • 1tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (I used the weeniest bit due to young tastebuds)
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil (I used only 1)
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 French-trimmed lamb cutlets
  1. Place everything in a bowl and marinate for two hours, bringing to room temperature for the last 30 minutes
  2. Heat a frying pan over high heat and cook cutlets fo r 1-2 minutes on each side.

Warm lentil and rice pilaff

  • 1 cup Lentils du Puy
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the lentils, cooking for 10 minutes
  2. Add the rice and lemon and cook for another 12-15 minutes until the rice and lentils are tender
  3. Drain, discard the lemon and place in a serving bowl
  4. Meanwhile, heat oil ina frypan and cook the onion for 10-12 minutes or until the onion is a rich golden brown, stirring frequently.
  5. Sprinkle the pilaff with salt, pepper, parsley and half the onion, toss to combine. Top with remaining onion (I just tossed the lot through)

Ginger tomato sauce

  • Fry a little chilli, ginger and garlic in some olive oil until fragrant.
  • Add 600g (4lb5oz) chopped tomatoes and cook gently for 25 minutes.

I loved this little vignette to the recipe – and it really made the dish. I used one biggish garlic clove, about a teaspoon of finely chopped ginger and crumbled in a small dried chilli. It just gently bubbled away while I made the rest of it. Yum.


Baked risotto

These last two posts are a bit back-to-front, but there you have it.

Taking into consideration the fact I now – as of the weekend – can not stand for too long before I start getting some pretty impressive low abdomen period-like pains, I’m looking for dinners that require minimum effort for maximum reward.

Then in today’s Good Living, Bill Granger did a few risotto recipes. It got me thinking, that I love risotto and haven’t made it in ages. The sole reason for that reality is that Felix doesn’t like it – one of those weird things where he doesn’t like any dish where everything is mixed together – think casseroles, soups, risottos. I know. W.E.I.R.D.

Anyway, one of his recipes was for a baked risotto, which got me thinking even further (yup, let’s pick the chick essentially on bedrest with early signs of labour, two ear infections and enough phlegm to fill a shot glass in one cough) about a baked risotto I used to cook, until the last time when it mysteriously didn’t work and I ended up with a weird glug of crunchy rice and half-cooked cubes of pumpkin. Ble…

So – I noticed in his intro he said that one of his family favourites was to do the baked risotto with some sausages thrown in. Perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

Bill – and Kim’s – baked tomato risotto with pecorino (or in this case, parmesan)

  • 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 3 fat pork and fennel sausages, chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup aborio rice
  • 1.5cups water
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 60g freshly grated pecorino chees
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 200C and heat the oil in a 3 litre ovenproof dish (with a lid) over medium heat
  2. add onion, fennel and sausages and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent
  3. add the rice, cook for a minute or so
  4. add the water, then the tomatoes and bring to a simmer (I added some chopped parsley and fennel fronds at this stage as well)
  5. sprinkle over the pecorino (or parmesan) and black pepper, put the lid on and cook for 30 minutes.

 

I foiled Felix and called it “sausages with rice” – he thought it was delicious. Mwahahahahahah.

 

I also love doing a completely vegetarian version – with diced pumpkin or sweet potato instead of the sausage. Also – mix it up with herbs – sage, rosemary and tarragon are my faves.

 



Ginger sesame chicken and rice

ginger sesame chicken and rice

Happiness

For those in the land of the free who may not have been exposed to the world of whitely goodness that is Bill Granger, here’s a quick rundown. Self-taught cook who basically led the charge of the rise and rise of eating out for breakfast/brunch in Sydney at his ingeniously named cafe, bill’s.

There are now myriad books (all of them filled with irritatingly tasty and easy to make recipes) , a tv series (where he so seriously whores his own children it makes you wonder if he and his partner just bred them for props) and now a toothpaste endorsement (because his teeth, are whiter than the snow that Snow White’s skin resembled). He has this irritatingly positive voice, like a male version of belinda jefferys. But the guy can cook. He also – apparently – suffers from depression and well, those of us dealing with chronic nutbagism need to stick together.

For proof of his cooking ability, the following two recipes have been so widely and resoundingly well received, that well, here they are.

If that wasn’t good enough, he also has a column in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living (I know, over-achiever or what). Each week he does three recipes that are prompted by a reader’s letter. This week was something stupid about what to eat after going to the gym, as if everyone doesn’t go home and eat a jumbo bag of chips with a packet of TimTam chaser.

Anyway, this (I’ve doubled the quantities) was one of the recipes. I made it last night.

The boys (and I) just l.o.v.e.d it. You know that recipe I cooked the other week and said how you could almost feel the goodness it was giving your body as well as tasting great – this exceeded that. AND it only uses one saucepan.

Ginger and sesame rice with poached chicken

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 heaped cups  jasmine rice
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 500g skinless chicken breast, cut into thin escalopes *
  • Finely sliced green shallots
  • Freshly chopped red chilli
  • Soy sauce
  1. Heat the peanut oil and sesame oil in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion and stir occasionally for 5-6 minutes or until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains of rice in the oil.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
  6. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Place the chicken in a single layer on top of the rice.
  8. Cover again and simmer for a further 7-8 minutes or until rice is just tender and chicken is cooked through.**
  9. Remove from heat and set aside with lid on for a further 5 minutes.
  10. Serve topped with sliced shallots, chilli and drizzle with soy sauce.

Serves 4
* You can substitute the chicken breast with firm white fish fillets, which I reckon would be sensational. Escalopes are slicing the chicken breast across the grain into thin slices (not strips like you would do for stir fry).

** That 7-8 minutes is totally dependent on the thickness of your chicken pieces. Just play it by ear – if you’re worried about the rice catching on the bottom simply turn off the heat and leave it with the lid on to finish cooking through.

 

 

Bill Granger’s peanut butter choc-chip biscuits*

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g choc chips
  • milk
  1. preheat oven on 180C
  2. mix together the brown sugar, butter and peanut butter
  3. stir through the flour, baking powder and choc chips
  4. add enough milk to pull it all together
  5. use an icecream scoop and place scoopfuls on a baking tray lined with baking paper
  6. press down with a fork, bake 10-12 minutes

I’ve made them twice and each time, my thought process of “how can something be so easy taste so good” just grows and grows. Such is my incredibly deep brain patterns at the moment.

* This recipe featured on one of the episodes of his new series on the Lifestyle channel. I wrote it down from that because Felix demanded I do so, and got me paper and pen to ensure I followed through. But we kind of got distracted so there may well have been an egg in it, but I remember his mix being dry, but mine is ridiculous. Hence the milk. Normally it’s about 2-4 tablespoons.

 

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