Heaven on Earth Project


Sushi is a very delicate and decorative dish which allows a wide extent of imaginative preparation. This recipe will make about 10 rolls. They do not keep very well so scale down the quantities if you will not use all 10 in the next few days. One roll cut into 8 pieces is generally sufficient entree for 2 people. The un-used nori sheets should be packed in an air tight container to prevent moisture destroying the flavour and crispness.

300 gm white rice (brown rice will do but it will over-power some of the nori flavour)

1 medium red capsicum, cut in thin strips

1 t/s salt

700 ml water

1 packet Japanese nori (10 sheets)

3-4 d/s vegetable oil for cooking

Soy sauce with pin-hole bottle top .

Wash the rice in running water then drain. Bring the water and salt to the boil then add the rice. Stir and when boiling, stir again and then lower heat to allow a very slow simmer with covered pan. While this is simmering, fry the capsicum strips in the oil until they are soft. Be careful not to burn the capsicum as the subtle flavour of the nori will be destroyed. When the rice is soft and has absorbed all the water, add the fried capsicum. Mix well and fry for a few minutes. The red capsicum should be evenly distributed throughout the rice.

If you cannot get pre-toasted sheets, toast the raw nori sheets one by one under a griller or over a flame until they are an even green colour. Sprinkle each sheet with soy sauce or tamari through the pin-hole. Use a Japanese soy sauce as these are naturally fermented and have a remarkably superior quality to other sauces. This will soften the sheets in a few minutes. You will notice that one side of the nori is shiny and the other side is dull. Sprinkle and load the rice on the dull side.

An alternative to toasting the nori sheets is to purchase a pre-toasted variety. In this case you will need only to sprinkle the sheets with soy sauce.

Place each sheet with the dull side up and the long edge leading away from you. At the nearest end spread 2 heaped d/s of the rice mixture evenly to about 1/3 of the length up the sheet. Pack it neatly to follow the edges of the nori. Lift up the sheet end near the rice and tightly roll the rice into the sheet. Do this while the rice is still hot and gluggy. Place the rolls on grease-proof paper and allow them to cool in which time the nori will shrink a little and make the roll bouncy and firm. Cover with a plastic sheet and store in this way until ready to serve.

Serve by cutting the rolls into bite-size cylinders. Each roll should cut into 8 even pieces, but you will need a very sharp knife to prevent ripping the nori. Present in an upright position on a lettuce leaf so that the colour of the rice and capsicum are seen. Decorate with unused toasted nori which has been cut into small squares or rectangles.

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This is an alternative to the lprevious sushi recipe but it is definitely an adult taste. Wasabi is a very pungent Japanese horseradish. It is usually available from Japanese or Asian stores in paste form, otherwise it comes in powdered form. In this case make a paste with it according to the directions on the container. Usually this is simply made with water.

Rice and sushi as above

1/2 ripe avocado

1/2 medium cucumber

1/2 stem spring onion cut into thin strips

thinly grated carrot (optiomal)

wasabi paste

Cut the avocado and cucumber into long slivers. If you are not using a 'continental' cucumber, peel it first. Prepare the rice and sushi as in the above recipe. When the rice is cooked and the nori sheets are soft, spread the plain rice as above. Now place a line of avocado, cucumber, carrot and spring onion slivers across the rice. Pour or squeeze the wasabi over the avocado and cucumber then roll the sushi as in the above recipe. Allow to set for about 15 minutes while covered to prevent drying.

Serve as above or with a dipping sauce made from an even proportion mixture of wasabi paste, soy sauce and water. This sauce can be used for the above recipe also. These rolls will only keep for a day or so.

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This is a very tasty sea vegetable which is eaten in large quantities in Japan and other Asian countries. If you find hijiki too powerful in taste, a milder form of it is available under the name of "Arame". You will be able to find both vegetables in dried form at most health or Asian shops. There is a great variation in the quality of Hijiki available from Asian stores. Although most expensive, the variety found in health shops is usually of the highest quality.

2 cups (about) of dried hijiki

2 cups water or white wine

1/2 cup soy beans soaked overnight.

1 medium onion, cut into thin half circles

1 " carrot cut into match sticks

3 d/s vegetable oil for cooking

4 d/s soy sauce or tamari, or to taste

1 t/s sugar

1/2 d/s tamarind concentrate or 1/2 lemon juice

Drain the soy beans, dry off excess water with a table cloth and either deep fry until they are brown or shallow-fry them in the cooking oil before adding the onion. Add the onion and fry until soft.

Drain the hijiki but do not discard any remaining water. It will be added to the cooking later. Add hijiki to the onion and bean mixture and fry for a few minutes. Add the carrot, mix then add the sugar and soy sauce. Add the soaking water and bring to boil then simmer with regular stirring. Add more water if the mixture is becoming too dry. Ideally there should be no free juice left at the end of cooking, so be careful not to include too much water. If you have some Sake (Japanese rice wine), make it with this instead of the white wine. When the carrot and hijiki are soft, stir in the tamarind which as been diluted with a little water or remaining cooking juice. Alternatively add the lemon juice. Stir well at this stage so that all the strands of hijiki are evenly coated. Transfer to a storage jar and allow to cool or serve immediately on rice.

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Open a pita bread like in the falafel roll recipe. Spread some "Nuttilex" margarine (milk-free) on the spongy side, then spread some of the hijiki preparation. Spread some fresh sliced mushroom, white onion rings, thin slivers of red capsicum and chopped spring onion on top of the hijiki then roll this tightly into the pita bread. Place this into a toaster or under a griller and toast all sides until crusty. Remove from heat and when slightly cooled, cut into short cylinders for serving. This may be eaten hot or cold. Excellent with the wasabi dipping sauce above.

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This is a traditional Japanese seasoning which can enhance the flavour of numerous dishes without the usual quantities of salt.

Dry roast a cup of sesame seeds in a wok or skillet. Make sure you stir constantly and vigorously to prevent burning. Roast until the seeds are beginning to show an obvious yellow colour.

Allow the seeds to cool then add about a 1/10 portion of salt and place into a blender or a surabachi ( a striated mortar and pestle). Blend or crush the seeds and salt until about 3/4 of the seeds are crushed. This will take only a few seconds in the blender. Mix well and store in a very air-tight jar. Serve in place of salt or as an extra garnish with salads etc.

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Miso and tahini are both very nutritious foods. It is worth knowing that a variety of spreads can be made from them. Kids will acquire a taste for them very quickly.

One simple spread is an equal mixture of tahini and miso. Mix well and store in a dry jar. Try different ratios of this mixture. This is stable and does not need refrigeration so it is something you can take on travels. Use it on bread, on rice, on pieces of celery or carrot.

You can make all kinds of variations such as adding some chopped chives, or some crushed garlic,

If you want a richer spread add an equal portion of olive oil. Olive oil, miso and garlic make a delicious spread or rice topping.

Try experimenting with small amounts of these ingredients and keep notes on what tastes you find appealing.

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This is a favourite Japanese dish but apparently has its origin in Portugal. Almost any vegetable can be prepared this way but fresh button mushrooms, cauliflower , parsley, capsicum and silverbeet leaves are amongst the nicest.

Batter: This will keep well in the dry form so make more than you need for future use.

1 kg plain flour

250 gm gluten flour or glutinous rice flour

200 gm corn flour

4 d/s salt

2 d/s baking powder

2 shredded sheets of nori (optional)

Mix these and store in a clean dry container.

Heat deep-frying oil the usual temperature for falafel etc. Take about 2 heaped d/s of the prepared dry batter and add just enough water to make a thick sloppy batter. Drop in the button mushrooms and other thinly cut vegetables and mix them around in the batter until they are all covered.

Drop them one by one into the hot oil, again being careful not to over-load it so that the batter does not soak up oil. It should only take about 1 minute to fry each batch to a crispy batter. Reheat oil between batches. Drain the cooked tempura in a basket or on absorbent paper, place on a white dish and sprinkle with a little tamari or soy sauce. Serve immediately.

Tempura does not keep in its crisp form for more than about 10 minutes after cooking although this time can be extended a little by keeping the cooked tempura in a low pre-heated oven.

SERVE hot with ginger sauce and water for dipping

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There are many soy sauces available but only few have the qualities for this type of cooking. "Kikkoman" is possibly the most reliable and readily available soy sauce in Australian supermarkets.

Slice some fresh ginger into thin sheets. Cut these sheets into long match sticks and place these into a jar or bottle and cover liberally with soy sauce. In a few hours this will become a delicious sauce for tempura and other dishes. Simply remove a few spoon-fulls of sauce from the jar and dilute about tenfold with water. Serve as a dip with tempura or sushi etc. Try a mixture of this sauce with wasabi paste as described in the sushi recipe. This is an excellent alternative dipping sauce for tempura.

A few of the thin strips of ginger can be used to garnish the sushi plate.

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This is a rich source of B vitamins supposedly including B12. You can feel your body soaking it up as you eat it. It has been proclaimed a true meat substitute in that its nutritional qualities equal or exceed that of meats. It is available at most health shops and a variety of Asian stores. Manufacturing instructions are found in this book. Possibly the easiest and nicest way to try tempeh is to fry thin strips of it fried in nuttelex margarine and a little salt. Tempeh has established itself in the U.S.A. where it has been marketed longer than Australia. It is possibly only a matter of time before it is widely available in Australia.

The tempeh curry on page 82 has been very successful. People who normally do not like tempeh have found it appealing with this recipe.

Another simple and quick recipe is to marinate strips of tempeh in a mixture of water, salt, coriander powder, crushed garlic and fresh coriander.

Allow to stand for about 10 or 15 minutes, drain off excess liquid and fry gently in a little oil.

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Kombu is a deep sea kelp which besides other uses makes a delicious soup.

2.5L water

1 medium bunch spring onions or shallots

1/2 metre kombu strips

50 gm buckwheat noodles

120 ml tamari or soy sauce

1/2 lemon juice (optional)

2 d/s vegetable oil

Chop the spring onions very fine and saut in the oil until they are soft.

Soak the kombu in the 2.5 l of preferably pre-warmed water. The kombu will swell to about 4 times its size. Remove and drain the kombu but replace the drained water to the cooking pot. With scissors or a sharp knife cut the kombu into small bits about the size of 1 cent pieces and return them to the cooking pot. Pressure cook for at about 30 minutes so that the kombu softens sufficiently. It has to become soft like jelly. Keep water level even if simmering

When the cooking is complete add the onions, soy sauce and the noodles and cook until they are soft - about 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and when boiling again turn off heat and transfer to containers.

Serve with a sprinkle of gomasio page 128. As an extra, garnish with finely cut strips of pre-toasted nori.

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