It all started with one avocado that I found at the store today.
I'd heard rumors of avocado sightings in Dushanbe, but this was the first time I'd spotted them. They were looking a bit past their prime but I took a chance on one, and I'm glad I did!
A while back I found this at the same grocery store. Sushi rice!
If you want the taste of sushi but don't want to go through the whole rolling ordeal, then this recipe from Gourmet magazine from about 15 years ago is perfect! Or, in my case, because I don't have any nori, this is a great way to get the same taste of a california roll but without the roll.
I rely on the backbone of this recipe - the rice and the dressing - and deviate a bit with the rest depending on what I have within arms reach.
First, cook 1 cup of sushi rice in 2 cups of water for about 15 - 20 minutes. Many recipes say sushi rice can't be done on the stovetop. That the rice must cook in a rice cooker. I beg to differ. It might not be perfect sushi rice, but it works for me.
While the rice is cooking, work on the vinegar/sugar combo for the cooked rice. I mixed 1/4 cup of cider vinegar with 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt and heat on the stove until the sugar dissolves.
As an aside: I had to substitute cider vinegar for the rice wine vinegar. However, I have a source for rice wine vinegar based in Bishkek, Kyrgystan! And as far as I know, my stash is here in Dushanbe waiting for the pick up! And so is the dealer, an old friend from Baku!
Once the rice and the vinegar mixture have had a chance to cool down a bit, mix the two, gently folding the rice so as to not break each grain.
Now shake some sesame seeds over the top, about 1 tablespoon.
Take your chopped and grated veggies - carrots, cucumber and scallions - and gently fold those into the rice as well.
Now, the whole reason you make this dish at all is for this - the wasabi dressing. It's ALL about wasabi, isn't it?
And then we are back to the inspiration for the dish. The beautiful, buttery avocado.
Dice the avocado. Add the dressing to the rice mixture, tossing gently. Add about 3/4 of the diced avocado, reserving the rest for garnish.
Gently toss one last time and serve with a few diced avocado and a final sprinkling of sesame seeds.
And when you are finished, write an ode to an avocado.