If April showers bring May flowers, what does April snow bring? In my house, it’s one last opportunity for cozy, comfort food.
Sushi rice + Sake
It probably makes you think of nigiri or American style sushi rolls – not a classic Italian dish. But stay with me here…
Arborio rice? Short grain. Sushi rice? Short grain.
White wine? Alcohol. Sake? Alcohol.
Onion? Allium. Scallion? Allium.
Butter? Fat. Sesame oil? Coconut Oil? Fat.
Slowly, an idea took shape. This idea has been hanging around my head for a while but I finally decided to make it. Turns out, I was on to something good! This is classic comfort food with a twist. Lightened up, it’s great for spring. Serve with a quick stir fry of mushrooms or veggies (or just eat it by the bowlful) and a pour of sake.
Secretly I’m hoping for one or two more cool, drizzly days, so that I can enjoy just a bit more stove-top cooking before we settle into warmer temps for good. And, per the forecast for the next few days, it looks like I just might get my wish.
2 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 bunches scallions (green onions)
1 cup sushi rice
1.5 cups dry sake, divided
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
Directions: In a stockpot, bring water and vegetable broth to simmer.Meanwhile, slice the whites and light greens of the scallions into one small bowl. Slice the dark greens into another small bowl. (Keep them separate!)
Rinse sushi rice 2-3 times and drain well using a fine mesh sieve.
In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, melt coconut oil and sesame oil together. When the oil is melted and warmed, it will start to shimmer. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions to the pan. Saute until aromatic (about 3-6 minutes). Increase heat to medium. Add sushi rice and spread evenly in the pan. Cook, undisturbed, about 2 minutes, letting the rice toast just a bit. Stir well, spread evenly in the pan and cook another 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup sake, stirring gently but constantly, and reduce heat to medium low.
When sake is mostly absorbed, add a pinch of salt and 1 cup of the simmering broth. Stir almost constantly until broth is absorbed. If broth bubbles vigorously when added, your heat is probably too high. You may need to alternate between medium and medium low to maintain the appropriate temperature.
When broth is mostly absorbed, add another cup. Stir almost continuously. (Repeat this step until your rice begins to plump up and soften – this should take about 4-5 cups and 25-40 minutes) After the third and fourth additions of broth, taste a few grains of rice. You are looking for a texture that is al dente – soft enough to be pleasant to bite into but not so soft that it just falls apart.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup sake, 1 tbsp. black sesame seeds, half of the slicked dark green scallions, and a pinch of salt. Stir continuously until sake is just absorbed.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with remaining sesame seeds, scallions, and a healthy drizzle of soy sauce.