A sushi recipe for when you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands

By Ian Leatt

“Let’s make rice cool.” The slogan on the little box caught my attention. Hmm, what was this? I was meandering around d.a.Niels, my favourite cooking accessory store in the Peg. I’ve spent many hours in that store looking over this gadget or that whisk. I could spend thousands of dollars in there!
The day had started off well. I had been doing some errands and, driving down Berry Street on the way home, realized I hadn’t been in the store for a while. Tempting fate, I pulled into a vacant parking spot. I realized walking into the store, “this could be a mistake,” since I would eventually spend money. The minutes turned into an hour and more, and I came out of the store with a great find. A rice cube maker!
What’s that? Well, I’ll tell you. It is used to make rice cool, just as the slogan on the package announced. All I can say is, whoever thought up this idea rocks.
If you’ve got a free evening, here’s how I used my cube:

Ingredients
1 cucumber
1 carrot
1 packet of Japanese rice
1 jar pickled ginger
1 jar of kelp roe
2 packets fresh seaweed salad
1 jar mixed sesame seeds
1 tube wasabi
1 can peaches
1 cup fresh crab meat
20 or so fresh king shrimp
1 packet smoked salmon
A bunch of fresh dill
A bunch of fresh parsley
1 packet yaki nori (dehydrated seaweed)
1 avocado
small bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce
The trick I came up with as I was making this sushi was to call my staff into the kitchen to help put the various pieces together. “Time consuming” is probably the first phrase that springs to mind when I think about making this dish.
Firstly, cook the sticky (Japanese) rice as you would normal rice, for 10 minutes or so. (I cooked it the night before as it needs to be cold for the sushi.)
Clear a space on your counter large enough for all your ingredients. Then, slice your carrot and cucumber to slim, matchstick size, peel your avocado, and slice it, too.
Now the fun part… Using a rice cube maker, place some sticky rice inside the empty cube. Be careful not to fill the cube completely, as you will next choose some ingredients to place on the rice. Finally, top off the combination by adding more sticky rice.
Squeeze your cube into the desired shape and loosen the sides to release the cube. Violà: sushi!
Decorating your cube is a matter of taste. I used some sesame seeds on some, simply rolling the rice cube over the seeds; I left other cubes blank and attached the yaki nori to a few others.
Place the cubes on a platter and resume decorating, as your taste prompts you and your fellow sushi-makers. Some will put crab with roe atop the cube; some will top a few cubes with cucumber and shrimp. All in all, a lot of fun was had by all as we put the sushi together.
The staff felt like royalty over lunch as we dug our chopsticks into the rice. It was a meal we will most definitely do again.
Stop by and check out d.a.Niels yourself one day. You too may find that special little gadget that rocks your world.
Ian Leatt, a former chef in Jersey, the Channel Islands, is general manager at Pegasus Publications Inc.

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