Showing posts with label Japanese food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese food. Show all posts

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Make Authentic Japanese Sushi @LucyBurdette

Lucy with Japanese chefs
LUCY BURDETTE: I am just back from the trip of a lifetime, exploring Japan from Kyoto to Tokyo, with many unusual stops in between. I could go on forever about this fascinating country, but of course for this blog I will focus on food. 

For two years of my college life, I had a roommate who was half Japanese. Her mother would cook for us when she visited so I fancied myself to be familiar with the food. I like tofu. Yakitori. Tempura. (Although please hold the raw fish sushi.) On this trip, I urged myself to try as much of the strange food that was offered as possible, wanting to be a good and adventurous foodie. 

At the Kyoto market
One of the first events on the trip was a trip to the local market in Kyoto, followed by a lesson in making Japanese omelets and sushi. The market was glorious (though one problem was understanding what all the strange packages might contain!)


And then we headed to a private kitchen for our lesson. We had a Japanese translator named Chieko-San, and a number of ladies who helped us as we worked. They had prepared the rice and the dashi or stock ahead of time so we could work on the main event: Sushi rolls!


Square sheets of Nori (dried seaweed)
Sticky rice or Sumeshi (not regular American rice)
Eggs, cooked and cut into long strips
Crab legs, tuna, or whatever fish desired
cucumbers, cut in long triangles
soy sauce
Wasabi paste

To roll the sushi, you will need Makisu or bamboo sheets

Lay out the sheets of bamboo and place a square of seaweed on top. Then spread a thin layer of sticky rice over the seaweed.

In the center of the rice fields, arrange the logs of eggs, cucumber, and fish. All of these should be cut or rolled so they are thin and long, as these will be the center of your sushi rolls.

Moisten the ends of the seaweed. Using the bamboo sheets, roll the sushi tightly. Remove the bamboo, cut the roll into bite-sized pieces, and serve with individual bowls of soy sauce and wasabi paste. These rolls were delicious--though I did not use the optional tuna.

Gochiso-sama! (it was a feast!) Saiko deshta! (It was outstanding!)

PS, about the food in general...The sea urchin, although considered a delicacy in Japan, is not for me. Ditto the eel tempura. In fact I hate to confess something that's never before happened to me on vacation: I lost three pounds and began to yearn for the kind of recipes we cook at Mystery Lovers Kitchen! But the food was gorgeous--and fish lovers would be in heaven. Scroll down for a tour through the market...

Zucchini marinated in saki

Bamboo shoots--from scratch!

Sushi pops!

rice balls

Green tea sweets


Itadakimase! (Bon appetit, literally, "I humbly receive.")

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries, including DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS--coming in December! Follow her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Stir-Fry

LUCY BURDETTE: I love Chinese and Japanese food but somehow I'm never able to replicate what they do in a restaurant. This dish approximates something I had years ago in a Japanese restaurant--the spicy shrimp pairs so well with the sweetness of the avocado. And of course, you can vary the hotness and the vegetables to your taste. (I found the beans, peas, and pepper in our garden.)

When I asked my husband if the dinner was blog-worthy, he said "definitely." 

But then looked down in dismay at our empty plates. 

"I hope you already took a picture!"

Stir-fried Spicy Shrimp with Avocado


3/4 cup long grain brown rice
1 and 1/2 cups water

6-8 shrimp, depending on size, peeled and deveined (If I was in Key West, I would use Key West pinks. But these I found in the frozen food section at the Stop and Shop and they were pretty darned good.)

1 tsp spicy chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
dash of soy sauce

Marinate the shrimp in the above mixture while you chop the veggies and cook the rice. (The rice takes about 1/2 an hour.)


a handful of green beans or snow peas 
1 small zucchini
1 small red onion
1 green pepper
1/2 ripe avocado

Sauce: mix 1/2 cup chicken broth with 1 more tsp chili sauce and 1 tsp cornstarch

Flash fry the vegetables in a hot pan with canola or peanut oil until partly tender. Set them aside while you fry the shrimp for a minute over high heat until beginning to turn pink. 


Return the vegetables to the pan with the shrimp and cook another minute. Then add the sauce, stir until thickened. Finally add the avocado chunks and heat through. Serve over brown rice.

Lucy is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries, available wherever books are sold! You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest