Sushi!




This is fun to make about once a year! Veg sushi; I made a carrot roll, avocado roll, and asparagus roll. The sad thing was that I made rice for the basil fried rice dish. That needs to be dried out and loose (the antithesis of what's needed for sushi; sticky and moist). Even after sitting over night, my rice for fried rice, was globby and sticky and no where near the texture that I needed. So, I made lemonade out of lemons (or sushi out of failed fried rice).

I added 2T of Rice Vinegar, 1T of sugar and 1t of salt to my mush rice. Rolled the veg and rice in sheets of Nori (just discovering after three times of making it that it's perforated where you're supposed to cut individual pieces). We got a powdered wasabi that is pretty grodie. I don't know what restaurants use to get that technicolor wasabi glob, but ours was more of a deep sage color. Still, it did the trick, and was so overpowered by the tamari that it was fine.

Basil Fried Rice




As with most dishes that I "make up" myself, I'm generally trying to replicate something amazing that I've had at a restaurant. In this case, it's the Basil Fried Rice from Tamarind in Chicago. Tamarind is in the south loop on Wabash, convienently located across the street from my former office. I came no where near close to the deliciousness that was their dish, so this is in a constant state of tweaking. Still, since I"m 2,000 miles away from Tamarind, it'll have to do.


Peas ½ c
shredded carrot ¼- ½ c
basil 1 cup
rice 2 cup cold
onion 2 T
garlic 1-2 t
chilis 1-3 t
white pepper (1t or 1/2 t black)
peanut oil 2-4T for frying
2 t soy sauce
pinch sugar

Heat a wok till the surface is almost smoking. Then add the oil and spread it around till it coats the surface evenly.
Temporarily move the wok off the heat and the add the garlic and chillies, then stir for about 10 seconds. This is to prevent the garlic and chilli from burning. Then add the onion. Move the wok back to the high heat, add two pinches each of salt and pepper and toss around for another 30 seconds. Add carrots and peas.
Now add the rice to the pan, crumbling any big sticky blocks with your hands to ensure they're all separate.
Toss the rice and the veggies well and keep stirring for another minute or two so that the rice grains are properly coated with the oil. Then add the sugar, white pepper, and soy sauce. Stir the mixture around again for another minute. Then taste the rice to check saltiness.
Add the Basil. Stir the rice and basil mixture in the wok for another minute, then take it off the heat and serve. That's all there is to it.

NOTES
You need a large wok or pan for this.
Be sure to use cold rice.
If you add other veggies to the dish, make sure they get enough time to cook before adding the rice.