Rice cubes

Making sushi is harder than it looks. It might appear to be just a blob of rice with an offcut of raw fish stuck to the top, but whenever I’ve tried to make it, it lacks a certain something. (Skill, probably – I read somewhere that before they’re ever allowed to wield a knife, trainee sushi chefs spend their first few years learning how to make rice.)

However, Kim got me a gadget that promises to take the hard work and talent out of semi-decent sushi. It’s called a Rice Cube, probably because it turns rice into cubes, and as far as I can tell that’s pretty much the basis of sushi. Here’s what I managed to make with it.
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Panko-coated potato wedges

I’ve never quite figured out how to make that crispy coating you get on commercially produced potato wedges (chemicals, probably) but this is my own equivalent and it’s very easy to make at home.

Panko breadcrumbs are magically processed so they’re very crispy and light, and they keep those qualities even after cooking. Even though they’re Japanese, you can get them from Chinese supermarkets, but they might be Korean or Indonesian versions not labelled as panko. Ask someone. I’ve never been to an Oriental food shop that doesn’t stock them.
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Chard stir fry

This recipe is great for getting rid of random garden vegetables. We had a load of chard that had to be harvested before it went seedy, and a few hefty handfuls of the stuff wilt down to almost nothing in a stir fry.

The earthy flavour of chard works well with carrots and beetroot, which we had a small amount of, along with peas, broad beans and whatever else you might have going spare. If you don’t have enough for a full portion of something, try this. Adjust the quantities according to whatever you’ve got handy.
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Tamago donburi – Japanese rice bowl

A useful standby, as it takes less than half an hour to make, tamago donburi is one of my favourite dishes. It can and should be topped with all sorts of delicious extras, but the main bulk of it is hot rice and a raw egg.

Sounds horrible? Well it does depend in part on your appreciation for slimy textured food, but it’s a superb combination that’s well worth trying. With every mouthful the rice grains get coated in slippery egg and, well, I just think it’s the best thing ever. If you’ve eaten fresh mayonnaise or Caesar salad, you’ve already tried raw or semi-raw egg before, so why not give this a go?
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