Kimchi Rice Cakes

There is a sushi restaurant in downtown Sarasota that serves something called a “sushi pizza”. Sushi pizza sounds like an abomination, but in fact it is a big sushi rice patty that has been perfectly fried golden topped with fresh fish, kanikama, avocado and fish roe. The fried rice patty adds the amazing textural component against what would normally be a very soft dish. I’ve been ordering it for over a decade and it never disappoints.

Sidebar Alert: All sushi pizza is not created equal. I repeat, All sushi pizza is not created equal. The story there goes like this. When I was in college there was a super trendy sushi bar in Gainesville, Florida. Shocking, I know. It was the type of trendy sushi bar you would expect in North Central Florida, cream cheese in every roll, tempura fried everything, and so.much.spicy.mayo. Oh, and wrap it all up in an overpriced bill. It’s the kind of place you would expect Ryan Lochte likes to go to when he’s town. No, seriously, Go Gators.

Anyway, I was at Ryan’s favorite hangout and I wasn’t paying much attention. I glanced at the menu and saw sushi pizza and without reading the description I just ordered it and carried on with my company. I was expecting something in the family of the sushi pizza from home, but what arrived was horrific. It was a bed of sushi rice topped with MELTED CHEDDAR CHEESE, and I want to say raw scallop and spicy mayo. Sushi rice, fine, scallop, fine, spicy mayo, fine, MELTED CHEDDAR CHEESE WHAT? Look, it’s what I get for not reading the menu. The rest of the story isn’t important, I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the kind of night Ryan Lochte has when visiting our alma mater.

I digress. We were talking about the crispy golden rice cake that accompanies the sushi pizza at Yume in downtown Sarasota. I’ve attempted but never been able to recreate the perfect golden brown shell. It may be due to my reluctance to deep fry in my kitchen, but I’ve come up with with a close enough solution for me.

This version incorporates kimchi and furikake for a true depth of flavor. The kimchee brings the acid and furikake some umami and both them contribute the perfect level of funk. I love to make these and serve them with fish, or eat them by themselves as a snack. Please enjoy!!

Ingredients

  • 1 c Sushi Rice uncooked
  • Water to cook Rice (see instructions on package or below)
  • Neutral cooking oil for frying (peanut, canola, vegetable)
  • 2 Tbsp Sushi-Su*
  • 1/2 c Kimchi*
  • 2 tsp Furikake*
  • 2 tsp Kewpie Mayo* (regular mayo will suffice, kewpie is a touch richer and sweeter)
    • * starred items can be found at your local Asian Market

Directions

  1. Rinse one cup of sushi rice under running water to cleanse excess starch from the grains. This will provide a beautiful texture and prevent the grains from sticking together too much. Most authorities recommend rinse the rice at least 3 times before cooking.
  2. Add water to the rice cooker. You can either read the directions on the rice for the appropriate amount of liquid, or you can shortcut it by sticking your finger to the bottom of the rice pot and filling it up with water to your first knuckle on your pointer finger. Trust me it works.
  3. Cook the rice until the machine beeps at you and remove. Add the sushi-su and fold in with a rice paddle. Allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Once the mixture is cool fold in the remaining ingredients. The mixture should just hold together when squeezed. If it’s too crumbly add more mayo.
  5. Heat 1/4 in of neutral flavored oil (I prefer peanut) in a skillet and warm over medium heat until its ready to fry. I throw a couple grains of rice in to see if they bubble, if so you’re ready.
  6. Shape the rice into palm size rice cakes and place into the hot oil. Heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. If you burn them a little bit, thats ok, we call that caramelization and its alright in my book.

You’ll find in the directions that I recommend cooking the rice in a rice cooker. This is simply because I am terrible at cooking rice. I figure if many Asian restaurants that I go to use a rice cooker, then they probably know something that I don’t. I bought a cheap rice cooker on amazon, and it does all the work for me. If you want to cook your rice stovetop, by all means. Just follow the directions on the package.

 

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