This is what you do with leftover sashimi. You don’t eat it raw since it’s not as fresh and safe the day after. That would be like challeging the anti-microbials in the soy sauce and wasabi to a duel. At least if your immune system is as sketchy as mine has been known to be.
So you take your leftover sushi rice, sprinkle it with toasted sesame seeds and plunk it in the microwave (yes! The microwave) on a covered plate for 1 minute. then you add a scattering of any leftover uncooked fish (or cooked. That’s fine too, but go easy on the cooking time or it’ll turn into rubber. Not enough isn’t safe, but too much is awful) and head for 1 more minute on high. Check it after 30 seconds and turn the pieces over. Sprinkle with seaweed flakes to garnish (optional) and serve with a soy dipping sauce mixed with a little wasabi (I often dilute it with rice vinegar in a 3:1 soy:vinegar ratio) and homemade pickled ginger. Nothing fancy. But oh so delicious.If you don’t have leftover and are cooking from scratch, here’s the recipe. I your fish is sashimi quality, eat it raw with fresh sushi rice and ginger, but this is also a quick way make cooked sushi, by either microwaving the sashimi slices or searing them in a pan for only a few seconds per side (it’s not really what most people would call “sushi” anymore, though…). Feel free to side this with cucumber batons and sliced avocado for deconstructed cucumber-avocado sushi too.
Wild Arctic Char Chirashizushi: Scattered fish on sushi rice with homemade pickled ginger
2 cups sushi rice (sushi rice is a short-grain rice that turns sticky when you cook it. You can find it at most grocery stores and all Asian specialty grocers)
1 three-inch square piece of kombu (green, thick dried kelp also available at most grocery stores)
1 tbsp sake, optional
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 lb Arctic char or sustainable salmon or trout, cut into thin sashimi slices
2 tbsp seaweed flakes to garnish, optional
“From Scratch” Directions (Sushi leftover recipe to follow): Bring the rice vinegar, water and sugar to a boil in a small pot over medium heat. Squeeze as much liquid from the ginger as you can and place the ginger in the sterilized jars. Stir the pot on the stove to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and pour over ginger so it’s completely covered (use a funnel if you have one so this is less messy, or pour the liquid first into something with a pouring spout). If you’re using a canning jar place the lid on and screw on the ring band (not too, too far). If using a regular jar just place the lid on and tighten loosely. When cool, store in the fridge for at least 4 hours. It keeps about 2 weeks.
Wasabi powder (mixed with a few drops of water and let stand 5 minutes until solid) or paste.
2 tsp sushi soy sauce or tamari (sushi soy sauce is a lighter soy than, say, most Chinese cooking soy sauces or other Japanese soy sauces)
1 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1. Soak 2 cups of sushi rice in cold water. Carefully swirl it around with your hand until the rice is cloudy. Drain it (I drain it in the saucepan in which I plan to cook the rice and use a little fine-meshed sieve to catch any escaping grains), and soak it again in more cold water. Swirl, drain, soak. Repeat at least 3 times or until the rice water is clear. You should do this with most polished white rices to remove the starch (Basmati, Jasmine, and any long-grain whites that aren’t in a little sterile plastic American package).
2. Add 2 cups cold water to the drained rice.
3. LET IT SIT FOR 30 MINUTES (but only if you have the time. It’s supposed to make the rice fluffier but you probably won’t notice unless you’re a sushi rice expert)
4. Add the square piece of kombu to the soaked rice, cover it, and set it over medium heat (or in a rice cooker. Oh I wish I had a rice cooker). You can also add a tbsp or two of sake if you happen to have any. Personally I seem to always be out…
5. Bring the rice to a boil over medium heat. When it simmers, cover it, and reduce the heat to low for 15 minutes.
6. Now cut your Arctic char into sashimi slices, cutting on a diagonal toward the end of the fish, as though you were shaving off thin slices. You can also chop 1/2 a cucumber now if you have it/want to. Purists will remove the skin and seeds and make the sticks exactly the same thickness. I say chop them however you like. Same with the optional 1/4 of an avocado.
The Fancy (proper) Rice Way: After 15 minutes reduce the heat on the rice to its lowest point for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat for 7 seconds to remove last remaining excess water from bottom of pot (this only works on a gas range). Turn off the heat, remove from the burner, and let it sit, covered, for 15 minutes.
The Easy Way: Reduce the heat to its lowest point for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
After the 15 minutes (or immediately if you have more important things to do with those 15 minutes plus 7 seconds of your life) and use a spoon or spatula dipped in a half and half mix of rice vinegar and water to gently release the entire mould of rice from the saucepan into a large flat dish (traditional). Or leave it in the pot (this keeps you more sane). Mix together the 1/4 cup rice vinegar, sugar and salt, and slow drizzle over the rice. Stir the rice gently (presumably with a wooden rice paddle while fanning with your other hand or with the help of a sushi assistant. Who has one of those?) until all the vinegar dressing has been distributed evenly and you can’t see any more steam rising from the rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, and re-hydrated wasabi to form a dipping sauce.
Sear fish on medium-high heat in a skillet greased with 2 tsp oil (I like sesame) for 10-30 seconds on each side. To serve, place on top of rice and sprinkle with seaweed (optional). Serve with homemade pickled ginger slices (recipe below) and soy dipping sauce.
Scattered fish on sushi rice from sushi leftovers
While I usually abhor the microwave, it’s much better at reheating sushi rice than the oven or a pot. The consistency is better. To make maki from leftover rice, reheat it this way and then cool it again before rolling. For this recipe, eat it warm.
2 cups leftover sushi rice
8-15 slices (or whatever you have) of leftover raw fish, cut sashimi style (see above)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (or toast sesame seeds for 3-5 minutes in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking every minute so they don’t burn. They should turn dark golden brown), optional but make a big difference
1 tbsp unseasoned seaweed flakes (laver or dulse). Check the ingredients. Often these packages contain MSG, wheat (soy sauce), or sweeteners you probably don’t want.
Directions: place leftover rice on plate and cover with a second plate or a microwave-safe lid. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Place sashimi on top, recover, and microwave on high 1 minute longer. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and seaweed.
Homemade Pickled Ginger
adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme
Homemade ginger is so easy I’ll never buy the canned stuff again. It’s not going to be bright pink because the recipe doesn’t add any fake colouring or preservatives! There should be four ingredients in pickled ginger, but if you find a bottle of it at the grocery store, you’ll notice that it’s jammed full of other non-delicious things…Same goes for wasabi. If you can find the fresh root (which is expensive) it’s worth the one-time splurge, but after that look for powders without colorants and preservatives. Some wasabi powders aren’t even made from wasabi! They’re made from horseradish, which is a different plant but has a similar head-numbing effect. But heck, so does too much ice cream, and it’s not wasabi either…
- 70 grams fresh gingerroot (best to measure it, but it’s about 1/4 cup packed sliced ginger or 3 inches of a whole gingerroot, approximately)
- 3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp sugar, preferably organic cane sugar
Peel the ginger using a spoon, scraping the skin off. Slice the ginger into thin slices using a sharp knife. I usually freeze my ginger which makes this step easier. the ginger slices made fold in on themselves but it wont matter once they’re in the brine. Place in a bowl with the salt. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the ginger and salt.
Sterilize two 125mL or one 250mL glass jar (wash in soapy water, rinse and then place in the oven for 20 minutes at 225F, or run them through the dishwasher). Turn off oven and leave the jars in there until you’re ready to use them.