Sesame rice balls make a Japanese-inspired treat – Honey & Co recipes

© Patricia Niven

We had placed our hopes by being at the Olympic Games this summer. We had originally planned to go to Athens in 2004, hoping to find work and play a small part in the one sporting event that we are truly passionate about. (Every four years we become experts at obscure sports involving triple spades and dance moves performed by horses. We support people we’ve never heard of and explode with joy when the good ones get medals. .) Instead, we spent all of our money to get married and moved to London. In 2008, we were just skinny cooks working and could barely afford a travel card, let alone a ticket to Beijing.

We had high hopes for 2012 when the games arrived on our doorstep in London, but we did not secure any tickets for this strange raffle. In 2016 we opened a grocery store in the spring and a restaurant in the fall, and leaving that summer was never on the agenda, so we set our sights on Tokyo and, well, you know what that happened next.

So, not being able to be there in person, we again contented ourselves with TV and transported to Japan via a summer favorite, Rice with Rice Balls, which is none other than fashioned sushi rice. in a ball and a little toasted, served with a few lightly treated vegetables.

It’s a universal truth that everything tastes best when shaped into a sphere – you know it’s true even if you don’t know why – and that the tastiest rice is the crispy piece stuck to the bottom of the pot. pan. This is where these rice balls score big points. We love having a cup of refreshing dashi broth on the side and the best produce of summer – fresh sweet corn baked in a rich and flavorful miso, sweet potatoes in a salty soy frosting or crunchy cucumbers in a vinaigrette. refreshing seaweed. We do one if it’s just the two of us, or more if we have something to celebrate, like a medal. Everything keeps well for the next day to make a nice little bento with the cold rice balls.

With the Paralympic Games almost over, we are already looking forward to the next games in Paris. We will definitely get to Paris, unless something happens. ..

Sesame rice balls

To make 12 balls of about 60g each

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly in cold water until it is clear. Strain and place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or rice cooker. Add the piece of kombu, if using it, and a pinch of salt, then cover with 300 ml of cold water. Cover the pan and let stand 30 minutes.

  2. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat – when you hear the water bubbling, don’t remove the lid, just reduce the heat to a minimum. (If you have an electric griddle, like we do, move it to another burner set on low, because the time it takes for the griddle to cool will burn your rice.)

  3. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from heat, but keep covered and intact for another 10 minutes.

  4. Remove the lid and pour over the rice seasoning. Use chopsticks or a fork to mix and fluff the rice a little. Let cool uncovered until you can handle it. Dab your palms with sesame oil and take about 60g of rice and press it into an egg-shaped ball or patty until it sticks together. Place it on a baking sheet and repeat until all the rice is shaped. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  5. When you are ready to serve, heat your oven broiler or set the oven to 220 ° C (fan assisted) and grill until the sesame and rice turn a light golden color – about 10 to 12 minutes – and serve. Or let cool and serve in the cold lunchbox.

Pickled Cucumber and Ginger Dashi

A bowl of pickled cucumbers

© Patricia Niven

To make 400 ml of dashi and a large bowl of pickled cucumbers

To make the dashi

To make pickled cucumbers

  1. Start by preparing the dashi. In a small saucepan, place the piece of kombu, bonito flakes and water. Bring to a very slow boil over low heat, until small bubbles begin to appear. Add soy sauce and remove from heat. Let the mixture cool in the saucepan.

  2. Peel a few strips from the cucumbers. Cut into thick slices and sprinkle with salt. Add the ginger and mix. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Remove the piece of kombu from the dashi broth and cut half into thin strips. Add to the cucumber slices. Then add the rice wine vinegar, mirin, sugar and three tablespoons of dashi. Mix well to combine.

  4. Pass the dashi through a fine sieve and refrigerate. It can be enjoyed as a refreshing soup alongside the rice dumplings or you can dip the dumplings in the dashi when you eat. Cucumbers are best served at room temperature and keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes in Soy Frosting

A platter of roasted sliced ​​sweet potatoes in soy glaze

© Patricia Niven

Enough as a side for six to eight

  1. Heat your oven to 200C (fan assisted). Cut the sweet potatoes in the middle, keeping the skin, then into pieces of about four centimeters. Place them on a roasting pan.

  2. Cut the peeled red onion into six wedges and add it to the sweet potato. Drizzle with a drizzle of oil (no need to add more salt) and cook for 15 minutes.

  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the frosting.

  4. Remove the roasted sweet potatoes from the oven and drizzle with the soy glaze. Toss to coat and return to oven for the last five minutes.

  5. Check that the flesh of the sweet potatoes is soft, then serve. These will also be delicious cold, as the frosting thickens and coats them.

Corn cooked with miso and spring onions

Corn kernels cooked with miso and spring onions in a skillet with a mixing spoon

© Patricia Niven

To make enough corn for six to eight to share

  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan. Add the white parts of the spring onions and the garlic. Toss to coat and sauté over medium heat for three minutes.

  2. Add the corn kernels, green pepper and the green part of the spring onions. Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally for eight minutes.

  3. Add the miso paste and water then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for another 10 minutes, until thickened. Serve hot or chilled and serve it cold in a lunchbox the next day. You might want to add a pinch of salt, but only do so after tasting as some miso pastes are quite salty.

Email Sarit and Itamar at [email protected] and follow them on Instagram @honeyandco

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