This dish was SO fun to make! It made the house smell AMAZING and I was blown away by the flavor. We will be making this again… and soon! As I said in yesterday’s post, I needed to prepare a dish for my final Whole Foods Cooking Class. The requirements were that it needed to be soy, gluten and dairy free. I also wanted to be sure that whatever I made was somewhat healthy – but not a salad, would travel well in the car to class and stay fresh even though it was prepared ahead of time. As I was hunting for recipes, I felt like I was working with a short list of recipes that would meet all those criteria! Then, I landed on this Fresh Fruit Sushi recipe from, you guessed it, my favorite cookbook. Of course I made some tweaks to it, and mashed two recipes together in the end and left out the dipping sauces (even though I prepared them… but I’ll get to that later…) They were slightly labor intensive, and just like real sushi, the rice was the most crucial component!
I have to say too, I didn’t share any of the “how-to” pictures like I normally do, because there wasn’t much to see! Just a whole lotta brown in a pot. I figured you all would much rather see the beautiful fruit sushi’s instead. And thank goodness I recently watched the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi; which gave me a great appreciation for this type of food.
You start by cooking the brown rice in water. The key to good, sticky rice is a tight fitting lid. I stack two large cookbooks on the top of my lid, since it has a flat handle. Once I did this, it completely changed the rice. I learned about the importance of cooking the rice under a tight fitting lid from watching Jiro on the documentary!
1 cup organic brown rice
1 3/4 cup water
1 tbsp. coconut oil
- Bring water and rice to a boil over high heat. Once it is boiling, stir once and reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer, covered with a tight fitting lid, for 35-40 minutes. Pay close attention to the smell of the rice in the last 10 minutes of cooking, because you can smell if it is getting too cooked (and therefore dry).
- Remove lid, stir and remove from heat.
- Add coconut oil and stir.
- Set aside
Rice Pudding Base
1 – 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 1/2 – 3 cups cooked brown rice (whatever your 1 cup of uncooked rice yields when cooked)
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch of pink Himalayan salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut milk, water and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. ~ 3 minutes
- Increase heat to medium and add brown rice, vanilla and salt. Simmer uncovered and stir frequently, watching closely for the next 20-30 minutes. You want to reduce the rice in the coconut milk mixture to form the pudding. Mine took closer to 30 minutes.
- Once the desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and add shredded coconut and stir.
- Transfer mixture to a flat skillet or cookie sheet, cover and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. (I sped up this process since I was short on time, and first placed it in the freezer uncovered for 10 minutes, then finished it off in the fridge.)
- Once the mixture is chilled, you can start to form the sushi base.
2 1/2 – 3 cups firm chilled rice pudding (see above for the recipe)
1 ripe nectarine, thinly sliced
1 ripe plum, thinly sliced
1-2 ripe strawberries, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1-2 fresh, organic, mint leaves, cut into tiny bits
- Using a regular teaspoon you would eat with, scoop out a small amount of rice pudding mixture. Transfer to your hands and roll into a ball, then press into an oblong shape. Do this for all the rice pudding. I was able to make 28 this way (4 for sampling and 24 for class 😉
- Place a thin slice of fruit on top of each rice log, creating as many of each flavor as you desire. Have fun with it and make it look like sushi!
- Using a basting brush, spread a thin layer of maple syrup on top of each fruit slice, and a little on the edges of the rice log too.
- Place a single bit of mint on top of each fruit slice, using the maple syrup to adhere the mint. You can dab an additional bit of maple syrup on top of the mint too.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve
These were a pretty big hit with my classmates… which made me very happy… especially since Mr. Zucchini Runner and I both thought they were so good! It’s good to have that validation! I cannot wait to make these again, even if I just make the rice pudding mixture and add some raisins to it!
Oh! I almost forgot about the sauces! So, the original recipe called for two dipping sauces; strawberry and chocolate. Well, I wanted to make a blueberry sauce instead and a chocolate sauce. I prepared them both, put them oh-so-cleverly in little sake glasses and when it came time to sample the sushi logs with the sauce, I did NOT like the sauces! It was too many flavors going on with the coconut sugar, so I left them at home. Now we just have some extra yummy sauces hanging out in our fridge, in sake cups. haha What do you think? Do you like sushi – real or fake?