Brigid Treloar’s Prawn Sushi Cake

Brigid Treloar has been taking sushi making classes at the Sydney Seafood School for many years. She is an excellent teacher with lots of good ideas. This sushi cake is just one of many imaginative variations on the classic sushi roll and a good one for Christmas entertaining.

1.25 – 1.5 litres (5 – 6 cups) cooked sushi rice (see below)

For the “cake”:
12 large green prawns
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 lebanese cucumber, deseeded and thinlysliced lengthwise with skin on
2 sheets yaki nori (toasted seaweed)
1 – 2 tablespoons wasabi

Garnish:
3 – 4 shiso leaves (optional)

1 – 2 tbsp red pickled ginger
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, roasted

Prepare sushi rice. Run a bamboo skewer just under the shell from the head end to the tail so the flesh is not damaged. Place in boiling water and simmer until prawns turn orange, 3 – 4 minutes. Plunge into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Remove head and skewers. Peel the prawns and butterfly them by making a slit along the underside. Gently spread the prawns flat without separating the two parts. Remove the vein. Mix together the vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved and sprinkle over prawns. Marinate for 10 – 15 minutes.
Line a 23cm springform cake tin with plastic wrap, leaving a little hanging over the edge. Lay the prawns in a circle, cut side up, with tails towards the centre. Add a dab of wasabi to each prawn. Spread enough sushi rice to cover the prawns evenly. Cover with seaweed and press down firmly. Place a plate over the cake tin and invert. Remove tin and carefully peel off the plastic. Place sesame seeds around the edge of the rice and shiso leaves on top. Cut into wedges and serve with soy sauce and red pickled ginger. Makes 12 wedges.
To roast sesame seeds: heat a frying pan and toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat until aromatic.
Variations:
1. Substitute the round cake tin with a loaf tin and cut cake into fingers
2. Substitute prawns with smoked salmon, capers, thinly sliced Spanish onions and lemons
3. Sprinkle flying fish roe around the sides of the sushi cake
4. Sprinkle roasted white sesame seeds through sushi rice before assembling

Sushi Rice

This is the way to prepare rice for the sushi cake and for sushi rolls. For a softer texture, soak the rice in water for 30 minutes before cooking.

Makes approx 2.1 litres (9 cups)

600g (3 cups) uncooked Koshihikiari or calrose rice
750ml (3 cups) water
5 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ – 1 teaspoon ground lemon myrtle

Put the rice in a sieve and wash four to five times or until the water comes clear. Drain well.
If using a rice cooker: place rice and water in the cooker, cover and turn on. When it automatically turns off, leave to stand 10 – 15 minutes with lid on. If using a saucepan, add rice and water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until all water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stand 10 – 15 minutes with the lid on.
Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and lemon myrtle in a small pan and heat gently to dissolve sugar. Remove and cool.
Place the rice in a large, non-metallic bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over cooled rice, slicing (not slicing) with a wooden paddle or spoon to mix evenly. Fan the rice cool until it reaches room temperature, about 5 – 8 minutes, turning once, to give good flavour, texture and gloss. Keep covered with a damp cloth to stop rice drying out until ready to use.

Tip: an electric fan, on lowest setting, can be used to cool the rice, otherwise use a hand-held one. If not using cooked rice immediately, a clean damp tea-towel or chux
can be placed under the lid of the rice cooker after cooking is completed to catch any condensation and stop it dripping onto the rice.

Rolled Sushi

To make a cucumber roll:
1. Place half a sheet of nori on a bamboo mat and put a handful of sushi rice on top
2. Spread the rice evenly over the nori, leaving 2cm space at the top (if you don’t leave a space, the rice will spill out when rolled)
3. Spread a pinch of wasabi along the centre of the rice, then some thin strips of seeded cucumber along the length of the rice.
4. Pick up the bamboo mat at the edge closest to you and roll tightly from front to back once to compact the rice
5. Roll up the mat completely. Unroll mat. You should have a long roll which will then slice into approximately six bite-size pieces.
To make a tuna roll: as per cucumber, using strips of 1cm sashimi-quality tuna
To serve: arrange mixed sushi decoratively on a serving platter. Serve with soy sauce
in individual serving bowls.

For handwrapped sushi:
To make tuna, avocado and cucumber cones – place half a sheet of nori in your left hand and spread about 2 tbsp sushi rice on the nori. Add a pinch of wasabi, and a slice each of tuna, avocado and cucumber (1cm x 5cm). Roll up into a cone shape.

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