Deconstructing dishes can yield wonderful surprises of texture and appearance. Another advantage is that you can take a dish that is sometimes tricky to eat in one format and make it more easily consumable. California Rolls – one of the most popular forms of sushi – are a great example. They are delicious but can be hard to eat standing up at a cocktail party – one big bite or two awkward ones? Taking the components of a vegetarian California roll (I recommend no fish as it’s likely to be sitting out for a bit at a party) and making a salad out of them, then placing the mixture on a Chinese soup spoon makes for a tasty, make-ahead, easy to eat appetizer that looks as pretty as it is delicious.
- 2/3 cup short grain (Calrose) rice
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
- 2 teaspoons hot water
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons ginger juice (from jar of pickled ginger)
- 2 sheets nori (toasted seaweed) cut into ½” by 2” strips
- 1 green onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup finely shredded carrot
- 1/3 large seedless cucumber, diced
- 1 teaspoon black or regular sesame seeds
- Small slices of pickled ginger
- Place rice in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water.
- Cover; bring to boil; simmer on lowest heat for 20 minutes.
- While rice is cooking, put rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a glass measure or bowl and bring to a boil in the microwave, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
- For dressing, in a small jar with a tight lid, stir together wasabi powder and hot water. Once the wasabi has dissolved, add cold water, soy sauce, and ginger juice. Put the lid on the jar and shake well to blend.
- Transfer cooked rice to a shallow, large bowl and stir in vinegar mixture; stir often while cooling.
- While rice is cooling, prepare all the salad toppings.
- When rice is at room temperature, add the nori strips, green onion, carrot and cucumber to it. Stir gently to combine.
- Drizzle dressing over the rice and vegetables and stir gently once again.
- The mixture can be refrigerated at this point for up to 8 hours.
- To assemble, put a scant tablespoon of the sushi salad mixture on a Chinese soup spoon. Repeat with remaining mixture.
- As an alternative, you can also put a little of the sushi salad mixture in small bowls.
- Sprinkle the sushi salad with black sesame seeds (or toasted regular sesame seeds) and lay a small slice of pickled ginger on the top of each spoon. Arrange the spoons on a serving platter.
- The tray of filled sushi spoons can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to two hours before serving.
Makes approximately 3 dozen sushi spoons.