Alaska Rice Cakes
Alaska Rice Cakes
Makes 24 rice cakes.
Alaskans have been foraging for, well, forever. After a long winter, springtime gatherings of woodland violets, early fireweed, and spruce tips all go well atop these little rice cakes. We dry seaweed on a small rack that hangs in our greenhouse. A crumble of dried sea lettuce adds a salty bright dash of flavor.
For the Rice Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups short-grain (sushi) rice
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
- ½ cup flaked hot-smoked (kippered) salmon
- Rice flour for dredging
- Canola (or other high-heat) oil for frying
For the Toppings:
- Cold smoked salmon
- 1 cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons hot chili oil
- 1 small bunch spring onion, chopped
- 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
- Foraged greens, herbs, or flowers
- Sea lettuce, dried and crumbled
Combine the rice, water, rice wine vinegar, citrus zest, and flaked hot-smoked (kippered) salmon in a medium stockpot with a well fitted lid. Stir to combine ingredients. Bring the mixture to
a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and the grains are tender. Let the rice cool for 15 minutes.
Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with plastic wrap. Firmly press the cooled rice into the pan, using water-moistened hands to prevent sticking. Press the plastic wrap over the top of the rice and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
Make the honey-soy drizzle: combine honey, ¼ cup soy sauce, sherry vinegar and rice vinegar. Mix and set aside.
Cut the chilled and firmed rice into 3-by-2 inch rectangles, keeping your knife moistened with water to prevent sticking. Dredge the rice cakes in the rice flour.
Heat the oil in a pan, deep enough to just about cover the rectangles. Bring the temperature of the oil to 360˚ F. Fry the rice cakes for about 5 minutes until they are golden brown. Drain onto a paper towel.
Combine the mayonnaise, chili oil, and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce.
Paint each rice cake with a little bit of the honey-soy drizzle. Top each cake with a dollop of the spicy mayonnaise, a bit of scallion, smoked salmon, and cilantro. Top with foraged greens, herbs, or flowers. Sprinkle with dried sea lettuce.