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Fix Your Food Rut: Asian Markets To The Rescue

Posted Aug 07 2012 9:40am

I never want to stop eating sushi. I could eat it every day. More specifically, Makizushi. Which is nori (seaweed wrap) on the outside and no raw seafood. Basically very ‘western style’. I’ve yet to try raw fish or more traditional sushi but I have a feeling it may be coming. I tried lox not too long ago and it wasn’t terrible. Raw tuna can’t be that far behind right?

Rice, veggies and something salty to dip it in. Really, what else do you need. I’m trying not to go to Subway, because I love me some sammiches too. A little TOO much. So I’ve decided to take it down a bit and veggies are my main staple at the moment. I was getting so tired of baja chicken tacos, wraps, salads, stir fry. Firstworldproblems, amiright? I was just in a food rut and all I wanted was sushi….every day. So I treat myself to lunch on Fridays and I got sushi… one roll which had 4 pieces and an order of steamed veggie gyoza. It came to $17. Seriously. I mean it was delicious, but I can’t be dropping that kind of money even on a weekly splurge.

My friend suggested I go to some of the local asian markets in my area and I almost forgot I had a pretty big one two blocks away from my house. They speak Korean so I get excited when I can say what little phrases I’ve learned from TKD. They always patronize me, which is nice :)

I’m no stranger to H-Mart or 88 and Reliable Market is no different. But I usually know why I’m going there. Today I just walked in and tried to remember what the chefs use at the restaurants. I’ve been to enough sushi joints to see how they prepare everything. I knew I couldn’t make sushi from memory but I could probably make summer rolls. Which is exactly what I did. I wanted to have my own little Asian fusion dinner all for myself. I got some veggie gyoza to steam. Ingredients for summer rolls and some miso soup.

I took an hour just scouring all the aisles. I have soooo many ideas for next time. But this is what I got on this trip:

- Veggie gyoza/potsticker/dumplings. It’s thin dough and made to be steamed
- Scallions
- Vietnamese rice paper
- Carrots
- Rice vermicelli
- Miso soup
- Enokitake (long mushroms aka needle mushrooms)
- Hello Panda chocolate goodies :)

This was good for 6-8 servings of food, and cost $16.

IMPORTANT: Everything cooks really really fast. So keep an eye on things because this entire dinner took me about 10 minutes of prep and 5 minutes of cooking.

Step 1: To make the summer rolls, I used some veggies I had lying around that would’ve gone bad soon. Kale & spinach. Then I added the enokitake and sauteed.

Step 2. You should also start boiling a pan of water for the rice vermicelli. Leave in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, stir frequently and drain. I like my noodles colder and less slimy, so I run it under cold water and set it on a paper towel and pat dry. It should be fairly sticky.

Step 3. Ideally, I wanted a little crunch in my summer rolls and I was out of cabbage. I love scallions so I made sure I had plenty. I have a small allergy to carrots but I figured if I grated them fine it might be ok. And for the record, it was not. I guess I really can’t eat carrots. Regardless, it was still delicious.

Step 4. Assemble the summer roll and steam the gyoza. Put 10 or so in a flat bowl with about an inch of water, put in microwave for 5 minutes and cover.  Leave in longer if the edges are still rubbery or hard. Next, assemble your ingredients. Hot veggies, cold veggies, vermicelli and then rice paper. Get a bowl of warm water so you can soak the rice paper in for about 30-45 seconds. When its soft take it out and place it on the plate. It’s sticky so make sure you try not to have it fold.

You can see a corner of the rice paper hanging off the plate. Then put the cold/dry vermicelli down first, then the hot veggies then the cold veggies. And wrap it like a burrito.

Steamed gyoza  should be done by now!

Boil some water to make the miso soup. Luckily this was an easy one packet deal. No MSG, low sodium and super easy to make. Packet + hot water = soup. All done.

Lastly, make a nice presentation of food so you can enjoy. That is one of my favorite part of Asian cuisine customs is to make it aesthetically pleasing as well.

It definitely hit the spot. Although, I’d like to change up the veggies in the summer roll next time. Maybe add shrimp or make a thai peanut dipping sauce. Still a great meal. Next on my list of food to attempt to make: sushi

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