Sushi at home – make your own sushi

Sushi prep
Chopping showcase


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





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

A delicious dinner you can have on the table in under 30 minutes

*updated September 30, 2015*

There’s much fuss about quick dinners these days. You can start this and have it on the table in under 30 minutes, EASILY. I promise.

I’ve been making it for more than seven years about once a fortnight but never less than once a month. I guess it’s this family’s spag bol.

The only thing that has changed since I started making this is I now tend to use chicken tenderloins rather than faffing around with chicken breasts and my ginger shallot sauce is a compulsory accompaniment (also now added to recipe below).

Sesame ginger chicken and rice for #everyfuckingnight with ginger shallot sauce.
Sesame ginger chicken and rice for #everyfuckingnight with ginger shallot sauce.

Ginger sesame chicken and rice
A fabulous quick and easy, one pot dinner.
  • 2 tblsp peanut oil
  • 1 tblsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 500 g jasmine rice
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 500 g skinless chicken breast, cut into thin slices across the fillet or chicken tenderloins (easier)
For the ginger shallot sauce
  • Green ends of a whole bunch of shallots, finely sliced
  • 8 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp salt
To serve
  • Finely sliced green shallots
  • Freshly chopped red chilli
  • Fresh coriander
  • Soy sauce
  1. Heat the oils in a heavy based saucepan over a medium-low heat
  2. Add the onion and stir occasionally until its soft but not browned
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for a minute or two
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains in oil
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil
  6. Cover, reduce the heat 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.
For the sauce
  1. Heat the oil, salt and ginger until bubbling
  2. Add the green stems and cook over a gentle heat until wilted
  3. Try not to eat it all


ginger sesame chicken and rice