Donal Skehan
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  • It's Nonna central on the blog today! This lovely lady was from Matera and show me how to make crappiatta a peasant soup with lots of grains...
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  • Vietnamese caramel salmon in my new weekly column in the Irish independent today! Delicious recipe traditionally made with catfish- it's sweet and sticky and very easy to make! :)
  • Salted caramel peanut mud pie up on the blog! Tag a friend for a special Friday treat! What are you baking this weekend? :)
  • Red velvet cheesecake! Recipe up on @jamiesfoodtube this evening with @eric_lanlard! Grab a slice for a pal! :)
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Sweet Chilli Chicken Maki

Maki is one  of the most common types of sushi, and it’s known by its outer layer of  dried green nori seaweed. This is the best starting point for first-time  sushi rollers.  For the less adventurous sushi samplers among your  guests, this sweet chilli chicken maki is a little less daunting.  You can poach the chicken breast in water until cooked through and then it will be quite easy to shred; otherwise, simply use leftover cooked chicken.

Ingredients
1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 tbsps sweet chilli sauce
1-2 sheets nori
Cooked sushi rice
50g rocket

In a bowl, mix the chicken with the sweet chilli sauce.

Take a sheet of nori and place it shiny-side down on a rolling mat with the longest end facing towards you. Using wet hands — this will prevent you having a fist coated in sushi rice — spread one-sixth of a portion of the rice in an even layer on the nori, leaving 2cm of nori visible at the end farthest away from you. Don’t squash the rice or make the layer too thick — you should be able to see the nori through the rice.

Spoon the chicken mix in a line across the nori, about half way through the middle of the rice. Top with a few leaves of rocket.

To roll the sushi, fold the mat over, starting at the end where the ingredients are and tucking in the end of the nori to start the roll. Keep rolling, lifting up the mat as you go and keeping the pressure even but gentle, until you have finished the roll. Moisten the top edge of the nori with water to seal the sushi roll closed. Don’t worry if anything falls out the sides, just push it back in. The edges may look ragged, but it doesn’t matter.

Remove the roll from the mat and cut it into four even-sized pieces with a very sharp, wet knife. If you do not use a sharp knife the roll will squash as you cut it. Arrange the rolls on a plate. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

Variation:

Spicy tuna maki
1 fresh sushi-grade tuna steak, chopped roughly
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp schimi powder
1 tsp soy sauce

In a bowl, mix the chopped tuna with the spring onions, schimi powder and soy sauce. Then follow the same instructions for making up the sweet chilli chicken maki.

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Sushi Rice and Seasoning

The basic ingredient for any good sushi starts and ends with the rice.  Sushi rice can be bought  in most supermarkets and is a short-grain  Japanese rice, which must be cooled before use as it will turn sticky  and be difficult to work with. It is really important to make sure you  wash the rice under cold water until the water is clear; this ensures  the perfect sushi rice. This recipe makes enough for 24 pieces.  Sushi seasoning can be made at home quite easily, but bottles of  pre-mixed   sushi seasoning can also be purchased in good supermarkets  and Asian shops.

Makes 24 pieces
250g sushi rice
325ml water
2 tbsps sushi rice seasoning

For the sushi rice seasoning
500ml rice vinegar
300g sugar
150g salt

Wash the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Put the rice in a pot with the water, cover with a lid and bring to the boil as quickly as you can.

Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid still on.

Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes. Make sure to keep the lid on the pot throughout the cooking.

Remove the lid and put the hot rice in a shallow dish, as this will help it cool, and pour sushi seasoning over the surface of the rice.

Now mix the seasoning into the rice with quick cutting strokes, using a spatula. Try not to over-mix the rice as you don’t want to break down the grains.

The rice should look shiny and be at room temperature when you are ready to use it.

For the Sushi Rice Seasoning:

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved, then transfer the mix to a sealed container and store in the fridge. The sushi seasoning should last up to six months.

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