If you frequent Japanese restaurants or sushi bars, you’re probably familiar with the different kinds of sushi. The typical rolls, the cone shaped hand held roll, or the individual hand pressed piece of rice topped with some kind of seafood. But unless you’re at a fancy restaurant, you don’t usually see the sushi stacks.
I like sushi stacks, but they’re actually kind of hard to eat. Traditionally, when you eat a piece of sushi…as in the roll…you should put the whole thing in your mouth. Open wide! If you do find sushi stacks at a restaurant, they’re quite large, they’re stacked pretty high, and there’s no way to pick it up to take a bite. And because of its size, it’s impossible…even if you could pick it up…to jam the whole thing in your mouth. So, you have to use chopsticks or a fork, if you haven’t learned to maneuver eating with those two sticks.
My Mini Sushi Stacks with Unagi are bite-size. You can pick it up with your fingers or chopsticks and pop the whole thing into your mouth. To make them, I used a tall metal flower shape cutter. But instead of the flower end, I used the round smooth end to fill with the rice. Then I pushed it out. But next time, I think I’m going to have Kerry cut me a piece of PVC pipe that’s about an inch and a half in diameter.
Oh, and FYI, unagi means eel. It comes in a can like sardines, and it’s already marinated teriyaki style. And like sardines, they have soft edible bones, but I remove the ones that pull out easily and in one piece.
2 cups of uncooked medium grain rice
¼ cup Japanese vinegar
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp. Salt
2 cans of broiled eel (unagi)
Masago for topping (also called capelin roe)
Small piece of nori for garnish
2-inch tall metal flower shape cutter
Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir until dissolved or heat in the microwave until warm. Set aside.
Cook the rice with two cups of water. Sometimes package directions will say to rinse the uncooked rice first. When it’s done, allow to steam in pot about 15 minutes. Place in large nonmetal bowl to cool about 5 minutes. Drizzle the vinegar mixture on the rice and toss. I like quite a bit of vinegar on my rice, but you might like less. So, drizzle, toss, and taste. But keep at least two tablespoons aside.
Empty the unagi into a bowl without the sauce. If you see large bones or the backbones, you can remove them. But these are like sardines, so you can actually eat the bones. Using a fork, mash the meat to break it up. Add about a teaspoon or so of the reserved sauce to moisten the meat. You don’t want the meat to be too crumbly.
Mash the avocado in a bowl. Then use a whisk to cream it into a smooth consistency. Put into a pastry bag with a star tip.
Using your finger, moisten the inside of the smooth end of the flower shape cutter with a bit of the reserved vinegar solution. Place the smooth end down onto your work space. Fill it with a small amount of rice and tamp it down. Add some unagi. Then top off with another small amount of rice and tamp it down.
Carefully push out the rice stack and place on your serving platter. Continue to do all the stacks before topping with the avocado. This gives it time to set.
Pipe the avocado on top of each stack and sprinkle with some masago. Garnish with a small triangle of nori.
Note: Do not garnish the stacks with the nori if it’s not going to be served immediately, as it will absorb the moisture and wilt. Instead, place the nori garnish on just before serving.
Recipe by Pearl
Photo by Sunny