Much as I heart Delicious Magazine and its cook book, "Faking It" by Valli Little, I almost collected $200 and passed go when I flicked past its "Sushi Rice Bowl" hiding in the Noodle & Rice section. However, the photo had me checking out the ingredient list before I had time to yawn. As I read through the list I knew I had to give this a whirl as my next Meatless Monday meal.
It was freakin' delicious. Even if I do say so myself. But hubby also swore a little bit (in a good way) when he tried it. This needs to be shared. Widely. Thank you to Delicious and and Valli Little for including an eye-catching photo of this meal so I didn't sail past and get stuck in the Chocolate section. Although that wouldn't have been such a bad thing..... ;-)
2 cups brown rice
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
2 tbs caster sugar
2tbs Japanese shoyu [I couldn't find anything so fancy-schmancy, even in the health food store, so I used organic soy, just to make my halo extra shiny]
2 tbs brown rice vinegar. [ Again, I just used Asian rice vinegar, which was perfectly fine]
A slurp of Mirin [not in the recipe, but why not?]
400g firm tofu, patted dry & cut into 2cm cubes
1 tbs sunflower oil
4 sheets nori, cut into 5 cm squares
4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal [the onion hater in me left these babies out and it did not suffer for flavour]
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced into long thin strips on the diagonal
50 grams snow pea sprouts [these were not in season so I used snow peas but any green crunchy veggie would do]
Black sesame seeds [these are FAB for colour & movement]
Cook the rice. I cooked it in the microwave for about 20ish minutes but you can boil it according to the instructions on the packet. Don't use that pre-cooked stuff though. Have you checked out what's in it? There's stuff in there keeping it fresh and not good stuff - eww. Unprocessed & fresh = good.
Meanwhile, zest the orange & lemon and combine with the sugar in a saucepan over a medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Remove from the heat and stir in the soy and vinegar. Stir half the dressing over the cooled rice.
Heat a char grill pan or fry pan over medium heat. Brush the tofu with the oil and cook for a few minutes. I like mine charred. A word on my nuggets. I forgot about reading the recipe (whoops!) and just cut it, then realised I had these tiny little things rolling around in the char grill pan. Oh well, still tasted good, but next time I'll READ the recipe and stick to the recommended size and make them a little bigger.
Here comes the good bit. Basically mix everything together into separate bowls and add black sesame seeds last for garnish. Add the rest of the dressing. Season with soy & extra ginger at the table if you like.
The recipe book showed the tofu chargrilled on some tres funky wooden chopsticks, but bereft of chopsticks or skewers, I used toothpicks for presentation but it looked a little bit ridiculous. My advice: just mix the tofu into the salad with everything else. No need to get clever here. It's better through the salad, trust me.
The recipe book also says to line the bowls with the whole nori sheet but I chopped it up into 5cms squares and mixed it through the salad. I think its easier to eat that way, otherwise you're pecking around with chopsticks or other implements trying to separate it and eat it. The nori really is delicious in pieces along with all the other bits.
Serves 4, but you're eating as a whole meal, I'd say it serves 2, especially if you have a boy at the table who is tall with hollow legs.