Japanese Dinner

Jessica_sushiSunday was supposed to be a lounging day.  The girls wanted to know "what are we going to do today"?
How about a museum, a movie, etc.  All nixed.  They decided they wanted to go shopping for all the ingredients and spend the afternoon creating a Japanese dinner.  Great.  They shopped, they returned, they cooked.  It was fantastic.

Here was the menu:  Tuna, Yellowtail and fresh crab meat California rolls.  Wakame (seaweed) Salad.  Shumai (shrimp dumplings) and Pork Dumplings. 

They did an incredible job.  Truly impressive.  Josh got involved in the end making some rolls because he had friends over but basically the girls went to town.  They follow the recipes to the word.  A few time I interjected that it wasn't necessary but they weren't so sure I knew what I was talking about which made me laugh.  How do you think you got interested in cooking to begin with? 

Here are some of the recipes.

Pork Dumplings:
6 cups shredded Napa cabbage, don't use any of the tough stems and really clean the cabbage
1 T. salt
8 ounces ground pork
2 T. minced scallions
1 T. grated ginger
1 T. soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. Chinese rice wine
1/2 tsp. sugar

1 package of thick round dumpling wrappers

Clean the cabbage and finely cut the cabbage.  Squeeze all the moisture out and put on a plate with a heavy weight over the cabbage.  This will basically make the cabbage look as it has been cooked.  The key is really squeezing the moisture out.

Sushi_messCombine all the other ingredients.  Then add in the cabbage.  Really use your hands here to incorporate everything together. 

Take one or the round dumpling wrappers.  You will need a bowl of water.  Wet the edges with your finger.  Put about 2 tsp. in the middle of the dumpling and then close, using water around the edges and pinching the ends with your fingers.  This is the hardest part.  You see the people at the Chinese restaurants just ripping through the dumplings and making them look beautiful.  Not to easy.

When you are done, put them on an oiled cookie sheet or a cookie sheet with parchment paper on top.  Then take a wet cloth and lie it on top to keep the dumplings from getting dry.  We then put that in the refrigerator until we ready to cook them.

You can either steam them for about 6 minutes or fry them in vegetable oil over a medium heat before serving.

1/2 lb. shrimp shelled and deveined
1/2 lb. scallops or 1/2 lb. mild white fish.  We used scallopsEm_shumai_1

1 1/2 T. minced ginger
2 scallions minced
1/2 ounce mirin
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 egg white
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. water chestnuts finely diced

50 thin round dumpling skins

Cube the fish and shrimp.  Place the seafood in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients omitting the water chestnuts.  Pulse and the mix to puree.   Scrape into a bowl and then add the water chesnuts.

Please about 1 T. in the center of each of the dumpling skins.  Then put the skin into the middle to create a small purse by pushing and pinching the ends together.  You will need a bowl of water here too.  The ends of the dumpling wrappers must be wet in order to do this.  Keep the dumplings wet with a wet towel on top of the cookie sheet where the dumplings are sitting after being made.

We steamed these.  I actually own one of those baskets.  I put it over a boiling pot of water.  A bit make shift but it worked.  They cook for about 5 - 7 minutes.

1 ounce of dried seaweed
6 T. dashi
2 T. soy sauce
3 T. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. mirin
1/2 cucumber seeded and cut into paper thin slices
1/2 tsp. salt

Take the seaweed and cover it with warm water for about 10 minutes.  This will soften the seaweed.  Then put that into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds, drain and douse with cold water.  Chop finely.

Put the dash, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar,  honey and mirin in a small sauce pan on a medium heat and stir until honey melts.  Put this in the refrigerator until cold.

Cut the cucumbers and put them in cold water with the salt for about 20 minutes.  We chopped them up after that and put them into the seaweed salad instead of letting them remain whole.

Put the seaweed, cucumbers into a bowl and mix with dressing.  Serve.  This was a real winner.

In terms of making sushi, you really need all the paraphernalia and make it up as you go along.  There are some great videos online where you can watch people make sushi step by step.  The key is good rice.  Here is a good recipe for sushi rice.

Sushi Rice:
2 cups sushi rice that has been rinsed a few times over in a strainer
2 cups water
4 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Bring rice and water to a boil.  Cover and lower heat to simmer.  Takes about 15 minutes.  When it is doneDinner add the other ingredients.  Cool and set aside.  We actually used 6 cups of rice.  You always need more rice than you think.

Keep in mind too that we made way too much.  We froze some dumpling.  We should have just used about 1/4 lb. of fish per type of roll.  That would have been plenty.  We had bought 1/2 lb. each.  Think 3 rolls person, that is ample. 


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Joanne Wilson Joanne Wilson loves food, books, and music. She lives in New York City. Her husband Fred and children Jessica, Emily, and Josh are bloggers too. More »

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