Monday, August 13, 2012
Many years ago, when I was still in college, I frequently visit this casual Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles called 花の島 (literally translated to Island of Flower). They mainly serve set lunch and dinner on their menu. They have tasty noodles and many varieties of rice bowl dishes. Very tasty, homey and affordable, perfect for college students on a budget. One of the items on the menu was Japanese Masago Rice and it’s always been my favorite ever since my first order. And please do not ask me how many years ago that was, I’ve lost count!
After moving away further from that part of town, I seldom visited this restaurant anymore. I still crave this Japanese Masago Rice from time to time. So, I’ve been making this at home for the longest time. This is one of my favorite recipes from the “restaurant dish recreated at home” category, especially in the hot summer because it’s served at room temperature. Think about it, who needs a bowl of hot rice when the temperature hits triple digits, right!? Definitely not me.
Imagine flavorful, slightly tangy and sweet sushi rice packed with slightly salty and sweet Masago eggs (Smelt Eggs); mixed all in with tender egg stripes, sweet and umami crab (imitation crab meat it is, remember we’re on a budget here); top with crispy, earthy seaweed and crunchy and spicy radish sprouts. Each bite is heavenly. If you wonder what the imitation crab meat is made from, it’s fish. Different brand might use different type of fish. I’ll show you my favorite brand to use in the pictorial below.
Ready to come into the kitchen with me to learn how to make this? Come on over.
1) Place the cooked sushi rice into a large bowl and season with rice vinegar, sugar and salt.
2) Fold the rice to evenly distribute the seasoning and cool off the rice a bit. Loosely cover the rice with a plastic wrap so it won’t dry out while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3) Fry the eggs on a skillet until fully cooked. Remove from heat and let it cool on a plate.
4) This is my favorite brand of imitation crab meat. They are so good that I can eat them straight out of the bag! And I did…and please don’t ask me how many either. You probably know by now that I’m not too good with counting numbers.
5) The imitation crab meats are individually wrapped, so make sure you remove the plastic wraps.
6) With your hands, pull them apart into thin strips.
7) Cut the cooked and cooled eggs into thin strips.
8) This is the package of radish sprouts, as instructed on the package, use a pair of scissors to cut whatever amount you needed.
9) This is the seaweed that I used. Toast it in the toaster oven for 30 seconds at the lowest setting to crisp it up if you like.
10) With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut the seaweed into thin strips, 1 1/2-inch length.
11) Fold in the masago eggs into the cooled sushi rice.
12) Gently fold in the imitation crab meat, eggs and top with the seaweed, radish sprouts and serve.
Here’s a close up of the finished dish. Don’t you just love the colors?
Hope you enjoy today’s recipe and pictorial. Until next time, take care and let’s enjoy more summer dishes before it ends!
Japanese Masago Rice: (Printable Recipe)
Ingredients For the Sushi Rice:
1 cup sushi or short grain rice
1 cup water, plus more for rinsing
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
To Prepare the rice:
Place the rice in a mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Swirl the rice and pour away the water. Repeat 2 or 3 times until the water is clear and not cloudy.
If you have a rice cooker, please rice in the bowl of a rice cooker, add water and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions.
If you don’t have a rice cooker, place the rice and 1 cup of water into a medium saucepan and cook over high heat. Bring to a boil uncovered. When the water begins to boil, reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand for another 10 minutes, covered.
Transfer the cooked rice into a large bowl and season with rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Fold the rice to evenly distribute the seasoning and cool off the rice a bit. Loosely cover the rice with a plastic wrap so it won’t dry out while you prepare the rest of the ingredient.
Ingredients for the Masago Rice:
2 eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of kosher salt
2 ounce of masago eggs (sold in most Asian Markets)
8 ounce of imitation crab meats
1/2 seaweed sheet
a handful of radish sprouts
To Prepare the Masago Rice:
Fry the eggs on a skillet with low heat until fully cooked. Remove from heat and let it cool on a plate. Remove the plastic wraps from the imitation crab meat, if any. With your hands, pull them apart into thin strips.
Cut the cooked and cooled eggs into thin strips. Use a pair of scissors to cut the radish sprouts. Toast the seaweed in the toaster oven for 30 seconds at the lowest setting to crisp it up if you like. With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut the seaweed into thin strips, 1 1/2-inch length.
Fold in the masago eggs into the cooled sushi rice. Gently fold in the imitation crab meat, eggs and top with the seaweed, radish sprouts and serve at room temperature.