Sunday, October 11, 2009

Maiden Voyage with Uni Tempura Rolls

Why another blog cooking someone else's cookbook? To give a focus and drive to my own cooking, and to simultaneously feed my own lust for information about Japanese food. That's all the explanation this needs.

Above is the picture from the Nobu The Cookbook.  Sea Urchin Tempura.  It was easy.

Matsuhisa-san suggests that cutting each nori sheet into 6 thin strips, and discarding 2. Initially following instructions I found the sheets far too thin for wrapping and rolling, and as I had plenty of both uni and guests, I quartered several sheets and used them all. I love the metallic sheen sushi nori has.

 Above I practice rolling without the uni.

One beautiful tray of amazingly fresh uni from Nijiya Market on Sawtelle in West L.A.

For assemblage:  place two shiso leaves at one end of nori strip.

Scoop a generous portion of uni onto shiso leaves. I used one entire serving from the above uni tray, meaning I made exactly 10 pieces.

 Rolled as tightly as my fat not so nimble American fingers will roll. I am sure to get more practice with this in the coming months.

Uni/shiso/nori rolls.

True to form in a chef's cookbook, each recipe contains at least one other recipe within it.  This one, an extremely simple tempura batter.  One cup ice water, one cup flour and one egg.

Whisking together first the egg and ice water, I made a frothy emulsion and then slowly added the flour.

Impossible to dip an uni roll into the tempura batter and take a photo at the same time (by this time guests have arrived and I have all but lost the attention of my husband), here are a couple frying away in a small bath of boiling hot corn oil. Not realizing I was out of oil when shopping at Nijiya, I sent the spouse unit down the hill and across Sunset for vegetable oil at the liquor store. Corn oil it is.

Finished product. Similar to Matsuhisa-san's, my batter looks heavier and the uni/other ingredients ratio is larger than his.  Were I to make this again, I would use the thinner strips of nori knowing that fresh uni will hold together nicely and retain structural integrity during the cooking process.

Dipped in ponzu, they were delicious. I am selfish enough to be glad that both John and Steve fear the sea urchin. Quynh, D and I ate all of them. They were delicious.

To gove credit where credit is due, Quynh arrived with a load of shishito peppers, which she prepped.

And threw into a pan with trace amounts of the oil to blister.  They were wonderful and much more lightly prepped than the shishito we normally have when dining out. I prefer them Quynh's way, much less oil, with the capsicum flavor front and center.

For a main course, we all shared a giant pan of Diana's quinoa risotto. It was super easy, inexpensive, healthy and after many glasses of sake a great thing to munch on before falling asleep.


  1. I am totally digging this blog. :)

    1) Didn't know that uni came in those convenient fresh trays. Good to know.

    2) Those shishito peppers remind me of the ones at Open Door.

    3) Question: how often are you cooking from the Nobu cookbook? Are you just doing it when you feel the whim, or once a week, etc.


  2. K,

    I plan to cook the entire cookbook, maybe one recipe a week or so.