Wednesday nights, BF has scuba lessons, so it's my favorite night to putter around in the kitchen, dance to some girly music and make bento foods. I find it really relaxing and because Japanese cooking is so visual and pretty, it never gets boring for me. I thought I would share some photos and a recipe for the chicken teriyaki sushi I made tonight
Recipe: Teriyaki Chicken Sushi
2 Tbsp Sake
4 Tbsp Soy sauce
4 Tbsp Mirin
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1 chicken breast cut in half so that you have two large thin slices (I think that's width-wise?)
2 Tbsp of flour
1.5 cups rice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sheets of nori
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
A few thin strips of your favorite veggies (I used green pepper and chives)
First, put rice and 1.75 cups of water in the rice cooker and press "On". :)
Mix the sake, soy sauce, mirin, first amount of sugar and ginger together. Punch some holes in the chicken with a fork, and place in a shallow dish. Pour sake mixture over the chicken and leave in the fridge for a bit.
Make some sushi vinegar by stirring 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 3 Tbsp of sugar and 1tsp of salt in a pot on the stove until the salt and sugar dissolve (don't let it boil, it just has to heat up a bit).
When the rice is done, place it in a wide, deep bowl (or spread it on a plate if that's what you have), and pour about half of the sushi vinegar over it, a little at a time, folding in the sides of the rice with a spatula (the same way you fold in egg whites in baking) to mix it all together. Be careful not to flatten the rice, it should be light and fluffy. Ideally you should continue to mix the rice until it cools (about ten minutes), but you can also just cover the rice and let it cool. Put the rest of the vinegar in some tupperware and save it for sushi next time.
At this point I generally take a 20 minute break to shop online for bento accessories to make sure the rice is nice and cool and the marinade has had a chance to really soak into the chicken.
Remove chicken from the marinade and sprinkle a little flour on both sides of each piece. Fry in a smidge of canola oil for about three minutes on each side. Pour marinade in the pan and cover, cooking until the chicken is done (about five minutes). Remove lid, and continue to simmer until the marinade is nice and thick. Remove chicken from heat and slice into thin strips.
Cover your sushi mat with saran wrap (we're going to make inside out rolls so the saran wrap keeps the rice from sticking to the mat). Take a sheet of nori. I generally cut about 1.5" of one side to make the size of rolls I like.
Keeping a bowl of water and rice vinegar handy to dip your fingers in so the rice doesn't stick, press a thin layer of rice onto the rough side of the nori, making sure you get all the way to each edge. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on the rice.
Flip over the nori and rice, and position your chicken and veggies about an inch from the edge. I like to make the ends stick out a little so that the finished end pieces of sushi look cute :)
Wet your finger and use it to moisten the far edge of the nori (so that it seals when you finish rolling).
Roll it up!!
And you should have a gorgeous finished roll! This recipe should make two rolls.
I make them the night before, so at this point I wrap up the rolls in the saran wrap, and slice them up in the morning.
So far I've made veggie rolls and this was my first attempt at chicken rolls. The idea of fish sitting in a lunch box all morning makes me nervous, so I think I'm going to have to find other creative sushi ideas instead.
While I was cooking earlier, I was thinking that when I started bentoing, I was worried I would lose interest after a week, or that I wouldn't want to get up early or something. Or that I wouldn't be able to figure out how to cook (I didn't know how to cook at all when I started this a month ago!).
I find it really rewarding though, to know that I'm doing something positive for BF's and my health, and to do something creative. Anyone who knows me well knows that creativity is something I've always had trouble with, I'm generally really logical and analytical.
So I guess my point is, making bentos has been a really fun and positive thing for me, so if you're toying with the idea, you should definitely do it up. I'm very much a life-is-in-the-details sort of person and bento is a fabulous detail to add to any day!