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The credit for this recipe has to go entirely to my mom. Well, technically it goes to her new Japanese friend, who introduced her to brown-rice nori rolls on a recent trip to California. Cooking isn't exactly my mother's forte, so when she has a chance to shine, she takes it.
Her version involves spreading wasabi paste on toasted nori sheets, followed by brown rice, slices of creamy avocado, some bright, crunchy sprouts, and sashimi. Rolled up and served with soy sauce for dipping, the nori—and the whole process of making it—is kind of a blast.
It's one of those simple but texturally diverse dishes that I knew would easily adapt to a one-pot format. I started off by cooking the brown rice with a touch of mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine). When the rice is nearly done, I stir in the dried wakame seaweed to rehydrate it, then top it with shrimp, which gently steam for about five minutes. Served with sliced avocado, snappy sprouts, and crackly strips of nori, this recipe is what I refer to as my California health bowl.
It's incredibly easy and relatively fast—I'm talking 45 minutes for a dish that's chock full of goodies and everything else that the media is saying is good for you these days (minus the kale, of course).
I'm personally a huge fan of nori and snack on it, untoasted, when I fly&mdash (yes, I carry whole sheets of nori on the plane with me). But when I'm home, I like to toast it to release even more of its savory, briny aroma. To toast it, hold a sheet of nori over a flame for a couple of seconds; you're good to go when it turns a lovely shade of green. I like to finish the dish off with a touch of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and lime juice to balance the sweetness of the mirin, but you can also add in a dollop of chili sauce or sriracha for extra heat. And hey—if you find yourself with leftovers, just do what my mom does: toast some nori, roll it up, and dinner's ready to go.
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