Get your party hats on people, because I've completed my first Daring Kitchen Challenge! Better late than never, right?
The November 2009 Daring Cooks' Challenge has been chosen by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of Bite Me Kitchen. They chose Sushi, specifically Dragon Rolls, Nigiri and Spiral Rolls)
But (and this is a big 'ole butt), like I teased you in my previous post, my sushi had a twist. Better get out your saris and slap on your bindis now, because it's an Indian twist!
The following was on the menu last night (clockwise from left)
- Tandoori Dragon Rolls - filled with tender tandoori chicken chunks and crisp cucumber batons, spread with peach chutney and topped with creamy avocado slices and a sprinkling of freshly ground cumin and coriander.
- Peach Chutney - we used this for dipping instead of the traditional soy sauce.
- Cumin Carrot Maki - Ribbons of blanched carrots decoratively arranged inside the roll, topped with a thin strip of rice and a sprinkling of whole cumin seeds.
- Lemon Pork Nigiri - Thin strips of pork stir-fried with pickled lemon atchar; nori-strips hold these together to form Indian-style battleships. Scattered with grated lemon peel.
- Red Dragon Roll - Stuffed with spicy aubergine chunks and crunchy cucumber and topped with roasted redpepper.
- Indian-spiced Omelet Nigiri, two ways - Thinly rolled omelets, spiced either with paprika or garam masala and turmeric. These were secured with blanched spring onions.
My favourite was the Lemon Pork Nigiri - the assertive flavours of the pork really made this stand out for me and I regretted the fact that I'd made only two of these. In South Africa we have a saying - "Spyt kom altyd te laat" (meaning regret always comes too late) - which I thought was really apt in this case.
The least popular option was the Red Dragon Roll - poor thing looked a bit sad (just look at it's wonkiness!) and tasted somewhat iffy, mostly due to texture issues. Sushi needs something with a bit more substance and body and the aubergine curry, sadly, was not it. My heart bleeds for you aubergine, you know I normally can't get enough of you, but maybe you should stick to what you're good at, mmm?
Last but not least was my decorative maki roll with carrot and cumin. This was by far my favourite as far as appearance went, but the flavour was unfortunately not quite there. It wasn't bad, it was just... meh. Know what I mean? It clearly needed something more, I'm just not sure what that "more" would be.
And so concludes my first (of hopefully many!) Daring challenges. I really enjoyed the experience, even though I've made sushi before, as not only did it give my creative streak a chance to run buck wild, but I also learned some new techniques with the making of the dragon rolls. Something that I will certainly add to my repertoire when next I make sushi. The decorative sushi was also a novel idea which certainly does pretty up the plates.
As to whether I would make the Indian-style sushi again? Our favourites will definitely be in the running for a reprise in the Creative household. And I think they would wow guests as a deliciously different starter to an Indian meal. For now though, it's on to the next challenge - and time for a much deserved break after days of thinking up fusion combos and hours of prep work in the kitchen last night! (Special shout-out must go to TheHusband for not only indulging me with all my scheming ahead of the time, but also patiently waiting three hours for his supper last night until I had finished ALL the prep work and ALL the photo taking. I love you! *mwah* )