Prawn Sushi Cake
This dish makes an impressive centrepiece for a selection of different types of sushi – it does contain a lot of rice, so is best cut into thin slices. It’s also a clever savoury alternative to a traditional cake for birthdays or other special occasions.
16 green prawns
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and cut into thin strips
8 cups prepared sushi rice
2 sheets toasted nori (see notes)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 punnet shiso cress (see notes)
Pickled ginger, for serving
Japanese soy sauce, for serving
Rice Vinegar Marinade
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon castor sugar
½ teaspoon fine salt
Push a bamboo skewer through each prawn from the tail end, so that the skewer runs through the full length of the prawn. Bring a large saucepan of well salted water to the boil. Add prawns and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, refresh in iced water, then remove from skewers and peel. Cut down the belly almost all the way through, devein and open out flat. Place in a large flat dish.
Make Rice Vinegar Marinade: combine all ingredients and stir until sugar and salt dissolve.
Pour Rice Vinegar Marinade over prawns, turn to coat and set aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, line a 21cm springform cake tin with plastic wrap, leaving some hanging over the edge.
Arrange prawns, cut side-up, in a circle in the base of the tin with tails towards the centre. Spread a dab of wasabi on each prawn. Place a strip of cucumber between every second prawn, skin side-down.
Fill a finger bowl with cold water. Dip your fingers into the water, shaking off the excess; this stops the rice sticking to your fingers. Spread half the sushi rice evenly over the prawns. Cover with nori, trimming it to fit, and press down firmly but gently. Spread remaining rice evenly over the nori. Press down firmly, but gently. Place a large plate over the cake tin and invert it.
Remove the tin and plastic and arrange shiso cress around the edges of the ‘cake’.
Serve in thin wedges with pickled ginger and soy sauce on the side.
Nori is dried seaweed; it’s usually sold toasted (yaki-nori) in packs of 10 sheets in Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets. Micro herbs and cress, growing in punnets, are available at some greengrocers and online. They keep, refrigerated and loosely covered with a damp cloth, for several days; if unavailable use the smallest leaves on a bunch of herbs or tear larger leaves into small pieces.
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