June 1, 2013

Sushi With a Twist

When I looked at the date of my last blog post, I decided to just resign to the cliche, "How time flies!". Hehehe. I won't blame motherhood for everything - it's a wonderful journey that's filled with tons of responsibilities, joy & the occasional heartache.

The truth is, I have been spending a lot of time reading about child development and growth, researching for activities to do with my pre-toddler (and actually doing them), hunting down, organising and participating in playgroups, playgyms, playdates and any other appropriate social platforms to give her a headstart she deserves. Then there's the daily walk to the park or around the suburb, the trip to the playground and the list goes on. It all seems too much to do for a small person. I am enjoying this phase of my life, to be honest. It is exhausting (most times, what with sleep being so elusive) but I know this roller coaster ride won't last. Once gone, I can only look back at the memories. I'm digressing into melancholy, aren't I? Look at what motherhood has done to me! Did I say I wouldn't blame motherhood for everything? Right.

I haven't got much time or desire to sit in front of the PC of late. I've decided to download the Blogger app into my Samsung so I can update my blog on the go. I wish the app has more features but it's easy to use and good enough for now. Let's zoom into my kitchen.

Amidst all the motherly duties, I still make meals for my family. I need to eat well to maintain a good energy level. On days when I could only manage a simple dish, I would indulge in a visual feast. With so many talented ladies uploading pics of their kitchen adventures on Facebook and Pinterest, it's not difficult to get a constant dose of inspiration. And that's what catapulted me into making this one helluva Sushi.

It is Japanese in nature but Malay in taste. A cross-cultural adaptation, if you like. The traditional Malay Pulut Kunyit, which is served with curry used to be the centrepiece at Malay weddings. In these modern times, fancy cupcakes/wedding cake towers have taken over the limelight instead. I should have used "beras pulut" (soft rice grains) to make this dish but I used real sushi rice instead, which didn't hurt. In place of beef curry, the filling is spicy beef floss (serunding daging), which is shredded beef popular in Indonesian and Malay cuisines. Ready made ones can be bought for abt A$20 for a small tub. I reckon that's a tad too expensive for a condiment! Making it from scratch is not rocket science. Plus, I love that I could tweak the taste to my liking; I like it to be a little bit sweeter and then punch it with hotness from the chillies and tangy flavour of tamarind.

When I sank my teeth into this fusion Sushi, my feet took me to perform the Happy Dance, my eyes closed in a moment of delirium, my mouth munched away in divine deliciousness. The flossy filling is moist, sweet & spicy all at once, the rice soft & tasty and the gentle flavour of the nori seaweed just envelopes everything perfectly together. It's goodness re-defined. Ummph!

(Makes 2 lengthwise sushi rolls)

For the Rice
2 cups sushi rice (wash & drain)
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
Salt to taste

For the Beef Floss
300gm beef (boil, shred finely & put aside)
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds*
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds*
(gently heat cumin & coriander in an oil-less pan for a minute to extract the fragrance)
1 lemongrass (chop bottom half into 1cm pieces, discard the stem)*
2cm galangal*
2cm ginger*
5 dried chillies*
4 shallots*
2 cloves garlic*
1/2 cup diluted tamarind juice
2 tbsp sugar (more if prefer sweeter)
A dash of tumeric powder
Salt to taste
2-3 kaffir lime leaves
Oil for frying
Cucumber (cut 0.5cm thick lengthwise)
Nori seaweed sheets

*Grind ingredients with a bit of water to form a paste


1. After adding water to the rice, mix in the tumeric powder & salt. Give it a stir and cook rice according to packet instruction either in the rice cooker or in a pot over the stove.

2. When rice is cooked, gently comb it with a fork to mix it. It should be soft and sticky. Coat it with a bit of rice vinegar if it's not already sticky. Set aside to cool.

3. While rice is cooking, heat oil in a pan. Fry the ground ingredients & tumeric until fragrant.

4. Stir in the shredded beef. Add tamarind juice, sugar & kaffir lime leaves.

5. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring the ingredients occasionally. Season with salt.

6. Once cooked, set aside to cool completely before preparing the sushi roll.

7. Lay a piece of nori seaweed on a sushi rolling mat.

8. Scoop rice onto the seaweed, pressing it down, leaving 0.5cm around the edges.

9. Spoon beef floss & spread on top of rice. Place 2 pieces of cucumber in the middle section.

10. Roll the sushi. Cut the sushi according to preferred thickness using a slightly damp sharp knife. Serve.

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