Inarizushi

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Another one from the archives. I originally posted this back in 2010 (how time flies!)

I’ve always loved Inari; it’s yummy and for me brings back fond memories… when I was little my Grandma would make it every time we went to visit her as she knew it was my favourite. We used to call it ‘Bag Sushi’. Image result for copy and paste laughing blushing emoji

Ingredients:

Inarizushi Bags (here are a couple links to different brands sold by Japan Centre in London to show you what I’m talking about. You can probably find them at your nearest Asian food store or, if you are in the UK, can order them from Japan Centre online: Hime Inarizushi no moto and Hikari Inari Age)

2/3 c sugar

1 tbsp salt

1 cup rice vinegar (you can substitute with white vinegar, but rice vinegar is nicer)

2 medium sized carrots

1 tbsp soya sauce

2 tbsp sugar

approximately 3 tbsp pickled ginger, finely chopped

5 cups cooked Japanese/sushi rice

 Instructions:

1. In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, salt, and vinegar together, place over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

2. Wash, peel, and grate the carrots using a large cheese grater. Put the carrots in a small saucepan, add enough water to cover, plus the tbsp of soya sauce and the 2 tbsp sugar. Simmer for 3 minutes, drain, cool, then squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.

3. Cook the rice and put into a large flat dish, sprinkle about 1/2 of the carrot and 1/2 of the ginger over the rice, then pour about 1/2 of the vinegar mixture evenly over the rice as well. Wet a wooden spoon/rice paddle/spatula and use that to gently turn the rice over, mixing everything together. When the carrot and ginger look evenly incorporated, taste the rice to see if it’s seasoned to your liking. If you prefer, add more of the carrot, ginger, and/or seasoning liquid (being careful not to make the rice soggy) and again gently turn the rice to mix and cool. Do not overmix or squish the rice. If you’d like, you can fan the rice to help it cool.

4. When the rice mixture is cool enough to handle (normally just slightly warmer than room temp), open the package of Inarizushi bags. Stuff the bags with the rice (messy, but fun!), fill them about 3/4 full and then fold over the ends to cover the rice. (Some people fill them to the brim which works well too, but I find the ¾ full method helps keep the rice moist for longer if you have leftovers).

Enjoy!

They keep well for a couple days in the fridge if wrapped well (I normally keep ours in a Ziplock bag or on a plate well covered with plastic wrap).

Sfhia

I thought it would be nice to re-share some of the recipes I had on my old site and where better to start than one of my absolute favourites, Sfhia.

I was very lucky to spend time sampling and learning about Middle Eastern food when we lived in Qatar. When we were there, I did a series of recipes on my website, sharing my takes on the things we were experiencing. The recipe that inspired this was from wonderful book, The Flavours of Arabia and it was absolutely lovely when followed to a ‘T’, but to me, in that form, seemed more like a snack than a meal. The bread was lovely and the minced lamb topping delicious, but I felt for it to be a meal in and of itself, it just needed a few tweaks. I’ve changed the dough, but only slightly, just added a second rising to refine the texture a little, and I’ve decided to pre-cook the meat mixture so that the crumb of the bread can retain a tiny bit of softness by cooking at a hotter temperature, faster. Other than that, I’ve added a few ingredients, but I tried to keep them very sympathetic to the region and I’m really pleased with how all the flavours came together.

After all these years, I’m still excited about this one.

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Sfiha ~ Syrian Pizza

 

For the Dough:

2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 ½ tsp (10g) dried yeast

¾ cup (175ml)  warm water

2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil

 

For the filling:

500g minced lamb

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tsp red pepper

½ tsp white pepper

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp ground ginger

The seeds from 2 green cardamom pods, ground (you can use a mortar and pestle, or, if you don’t have one, grind the seeds on a chopping boards with the bottom of a heavy frying pan)

2 tsp salt

4  tbsp (60ml) natural yogurt

3 tbsp (45ml) pomegranate molasses

 

For the toppings:

200g feta cheese

A handful fresh coriander (cilantro)

1 cup fresh Pomegranate seeds

1 cup toasted pine nuts

1 cup natural yogurt

¼ cup (60ml) pomegranate molasses

 

  1. Pour the water into the bowl you’ll use for mixing the bread dough, sprinkle with the yeast, and allow to stand for 10 minutes until the yeast is active.
  2. Measure the flour into a separate bowl (or keep it in the measuring cup if you have one large enough), add the salt and stir thoroughly.
  3. Add the flour to the yeast & water mixture a little at a time until a dough starts forming, when the dough becomes of a consistency to handle, lightly flour your hands, turn the contents of the bowl out on to a clean work surface and continue to knead the rest of the flour into the bread until the dough is still slightly sticky, but does not stick to the counter. (The amount of moisture needed to make bread dough a proper consistency will change based on the particular flour you have and other conditions such as humidity, temperature, and altitude, because of this you may need to either leave a bit of the flour out or add a little more in.) Knead for 10 minutes.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, rub a little olive oil all over it, place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place to raise until double in size, approximately one hour.
  5. ‘Knock back’ the dough by giving it a couple quick punches (always fun) to release the some of the built-up carbon dioxide, then turn the dough out on to the counter and knead for a minute. Divide the dough up into pieces about the size of a golf ball, shape into nice little spheres, rub with olive oil and place back into the bowl to raise again. Cover again, let stand 30 minutes. In the meantime, make the filling.

 

For the filling:

  1. Combine all the filling ingredients and mix well.
  2. In frying pan, over medium heat, gently cook the meat mixture though. Remove from heat and set aside.

 

Back to the dough & the finishing touches:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C) and grease a baking sheet.
  2. Roll each piece of dough into a rectangle about 3mm thick and then pinch the ends to make a boat like structure. Place each little boat on the baking sheet, fill with a couple spoonfulls of the meat mixture, and a top with a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and from the baking tray. Top with a few small dollops of the yogurt, a scattering of pine nuts and pomegranate seeds, a little bit of the coriander (cilantro), and finish with a drizzle of the pomegranate syrup.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!