In his wonderful cookbook, Smoke and Pickles, Edward Lee includes recipes for a number of fabulous rice bowls: spicy pork with jicama and cilantro; and tuna with avocado, pork rinds, and jalapeno, to name just two. This is not as complex as the ones in his book, but it is also easier to pull together for a weeknight meal. I do think the flavors are good enough for company, though. Making the daikon pickle to go with it is certainly optional, but it is dead simple and adds a terrific layer of flavor to the dish.
Serves 2 but can be doubled, tripled, etc.
For the rice bowl:
8 large shrimp (these should be from the 16-20 per pound size) shelled and deveined
6-8 shiitake mushrooms, depending on size
1 ½ t. neutral oil (safflower, canola, vegetable)
1-2 t. mirin (depending how sweet you want the mushrooms)
1 t. soy sauce
12-16 pea pods, tough strings removed
½ c. fresh or frozen peas, thawed or blanched in hot water, if fresh
2 scallions, white and tender green, sliced
½ c. all purpose flour
2 T. rice flour (only if you have it, you can also substitute 1 T. corn starch and 1 T. all purpose flour, or just use all purpose flour)
1 c. water (or you can use beer, if you like)
salt and pepper
2 cups cooked white rice (you can use medium grain rice as we usually do, or long grain if you prefer)
2 T. mayonnaise (any brand you like is fine)
2 T. Gojuchang (if you don’t have Gojuchang, you can substitute sriracha or hot sauce but decrease to 1 to 1 ½ T. and add 1 t. of honey)
Furikake (only if you have it) to taste
For the daikon pickle:
1 medium size daikon radish (available at Whole Foods and at Asian markets)
1 c. rice wine vinegar
½ t. kosher salt
2 t. sugar
2 t. chili flake (if you have it) or similar hot flaked spice or ½ t. crushed red pepper
1 t. turmeric
Daikon Pickle: If you are making the daikon pickle, this should be done first and left to sit for a bit (a couple of hours is good, but even half an hour will do).
- Peel and thinly slice the daikon.
- Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, chili flake/red pepper and the turmeric in either a pan if you are heating it on the stove or a heat proof container (like a Pyrex measuring cup or Ball jar) if heating in the microwave. Gently heat the mixture to just below simmering, stirring occasionally until the sugar and salt have largely dissolved. (Note: if heating in the microwave, as I usually do, make sure there is a loose cover over the container in case it gets too hot and splatters).
- If heated in a pan, transfer the vinegar brine to a glass or ceramic container.
- Immediately, add the daikon slices and submerge (or stir/shake).
- Leave on the counter until ready to use (if within a few hours) or refrigerate, if not using for a day or two.
- Prepare the rice and keep warm (easiest using a rice cooker, but it is fine to leave it covered in a pan).
- While the rice is cooking, prep the other items and get the shrimp out of the refrigerator so that they can warm a little.
- For the mushrooms, remove the stem and clean and slice the caps to about ¼” thick.
- Heat 1 t. oil, mirin and soy sauce in a small fry or sauté pan over medium-low heat.
- Add the mushrooms slices and stir to coat. Allow the mushroom to cook until they give up most of their liquid.
- Allow them to cook for a few more minutes until the edges begin to brown, but watch the heat so the mirin mixture doesn’t start to burn. (It will make them bitter.)
- While the mushrooms are cooking, wash and remove any tough strings from the pea pods or snap peas.
- Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and add the final ½ t. oil to the pan. Heat to medium.
- Dry the pea pods/snap peas with a paper towel and then add to pan. Stir until they begin to brighten in color and look just cooked (about 1 to 2 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.
- If using frozen peas, microwave briefly with a little bit of water to heat them through. If using fresh peas, bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the peas and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. In either case, thoroughly drain the peas.
- Slice the scallions, if that is not already done.
- Combine the gojuchang and the mayonnaise in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, combine the all purpose flour with the rice flour, if using, and add the water or beer, stirring thoroughly until the batter is smooth.
- In a deep pot (a pasta pot works well to avoid splatters), add oil to reach to about ¾ of an inch. The amount will vary depending on the diameter of the pot but is likely to be about 3 cups. (NOTE: If you strain out any bits of batter or shrimp, the oil can be saved in the refrigerator and used to fry other seafood or fish for up to about one month.)
- Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat until it appears to shimmer. (NOTE: if you want to know if the oil is hot enough, throw in a small piece of bread–any kind–and count to ten to see if it fully fries to golden. If it doesn’t, the oil is not hot enough. If it burns, the oil is too hot.)
- When the oil is hot, dredge the shrimp batter and drop into the hot oil cooking a few at a time so as not to crowd the pan or have the oil cook too much. As soon as the batter is golden (only about 2-3 minutes) remove the shrimp to a paper towel lined plate. Continue until all 8 shrimp are cooked.
- To assemble the bowl, begin with rice, nestle the shrimp into the warm rice and add the mushrooms, pea pods/snap peas, peas, and scallions. Put slices of daikon pickle in a small bowl and pass, along with the gojuchang mayo, and–of course–soy sauce at the table.