I don’t know why, but when I first read the recipe for chocolate ribbons in Bakewise the first thought my mind went to was “you could use that to make dessert suishi.” And so I set out to try it. This “sushi” is composed of malleable chocolate, rolled around a filling of coconut rice, mangos, pineapple, and kiwi. I topped it off with mango “caviar” in an attempt to complete the tromp l’oie effect. I have to say, making this was a whole lot of work. I’d never made malleable chocolate before, but it is not the easiest thing to use, specifically rolling it out is challenging, expect to get a good work out. I did think this tasted really good, when you first bite in the fruit and rice hit your mouth, followed by the taste of the chocolate. The recipe here is largely a guide, as these could be filled with almost anything, and a pretty wide variety of fruits would be good. I have cut the recipe for coconut rice in half from what I used, as it made way more than I needed. I would also recommend adding some flaked, sweetened coconut to the rice after it is cooked (or maybe just some coconut extract), as I didn’t think the coconut flavor came through as much as I’d like.
Making the mango caviar was my first experiment with “spherification” – turning liquids into spheres. I used agar agar for this spherification, rather than the more complicated chemicals used for dishes like liquid ravioli. This method has the disadvantage of turning the spheres into solid gel all the way through, but the advantage of using an ingredient that can be found in most health food stores and Asian markets, and doesn’t cost an absurd amount. I have read a number of recipes on this technique, and I’m not sure if you’re supposed to bring the agar agar mixture to a boil or not, I did. One recipe also said to blitz the mixture with an immersion blender, which I didn’t bother with. This was a mistake, as many of the agar agar flakes didn’t dissolve, resulting a weaker gel, and the occasional chunk of agar agar. I will definitely experiment with this technique again. I didn’t bother using a hypodermic needle to make my spheres, I just dripped the juice from a measuring cup. I also tried using a pastry bag, but attempts so squeeze near boiling liquid did not go well.
Coconut Sticky Rice2 t flavorless oil (canola, vegetable)
1. Use a paper towel to oil the bottom of a medium pot. Combine all ingredients in the pot over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom.
2. Once the mixture begins to bubble, stop stirring, turn heat down to low, and cover the pot with a lid. Leave the lid slightly askew so that some steam can escape. Cook 15-20 minutes, until rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
3. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
4. Remove the rice from the heat, and let cool COMPLETELY. If you want to use the rice soon, you might spread it in a baking pan or put it into the fridge or freezer. It is imperative that the rice be cold when you put it into the sushi, otherwise it will melt through your carefully rolled sushi, and cursing will ensue!
Mango Caviar1 cup mango juice
*I used flakes, because that is what my store had. The package had the 1 to 1 ratio on it, if you have a different form of agar (such as powder) check your packaging for the appropriate ratio. Otherwise, I have read that you want between 1-2% weight of agar to liquid. A cup of juice should take about 2.5 grams of agar.
1. Pour the cold oil into a shallow dish. You want breadth, not depth, you probably need less than an inch of depth.
2. Combine the mango juice and the agar argar. Blitz the mixture with an immersion blender to break up the agar agar. Put the mixture into a small saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a heavy boil.
3. Pour the mixture into a spouted measuring cup. Drip the mixture into the cold oil. You should see your droplets settle on the surface, then sink and turn into spheres after a few moments. How much you drip will determine the size of your spheres.
4. Make as many spheres as you want. Pour the remaining mango mixture into a ramekin and place in the fridge to set as a nice mango jelly. Use a fork to test if your spheres have set (they should be solid and resist the fork. If they haven’t set, place the pan into the freezer for a few minutes.
The caviar may look flat from the top, but from the side you can see they're really spheres
5. Pour the oil and mango caviar through a fine mesh strainer. Rinse the mango caviar with slow running, cold water, to clean off the remaining oil. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Malleable Chocolate Sushi wrappers
This may make more than you need, I only made one “roll” of sushi so I had a lot leftover
10 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup + ½ tsp light corn syrup (Bakewise recommends pouring this from a measuring cup that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, so that all of it will come out easily. I scraped it out with a spatula)
1. Melt the chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat.
2. Quickly stir in the corn syrup into the chocolate. At this point you will have a wet, sticky mess. Use your spatula to continuously turn the mixture and fold it over on itself. As the mixture cools and you work it, it will begin to form a dough. Eventually the dough will pull away from the sides, and will no longer be sticky when you touch it (this may take awhile, I would guess it took me ten minutes).
3. Dump the dough onto a clean counter. Flatten the dough out, and fold it over on itself three times. Press it together, flatten it out, and fold it over again. Do this several times. When complete press the dough into about a 6 inch disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
4. This is the challenging part. Remove the dough from the fridge. It will be incredibly hard. Put the dough between two pieces of wax paper and begin rolling it out. Bakewise suggests that if the dough is too hard you should give it 10 seconds in the microwave at 30% power, but I didn’t try this. Once you have the dough rolled out, fold it over on itself, and roll it out again. Keep doing this until the dough begins to become reasonably flexible.
5. Bakewise recommends putting the dough through a pasta maker on its widest setting at this point, which turns out to be a remarkably good idea. Just make sure the pasta maker is completely clean, as the chocolate will pick up any dirt in it. Take about a quarter of the chocolate, and run it through the machine. Fold it back on itself, and run it through again. Do this until the chocolate is very flexible. Unfortunately, for a sushi shape, you cannot use the pasta maker, and will need to return to rolling out the chocolate by hand.
6. On a piece of wax paper, roll out your chocolate. It should be considerably easier to work at this point. However, because any flour or powdered sugar will discolor the chocolate, I didn’t use it. Instead, after every roll or two, pick up the parchment paper, and flip the rolled out chocolate onto your hand, (treat it like a pizza dough, and be careful not to let it fold over on itself), and then flip it back onto the wax paper. This will help the keep from getting the chocolate stuck to the paper. Roll the chocolate into roughly a rectangular shape, and use a pizza cutter to trim off any edges. You will not be able to make the chocolate as thin as seaweed, and wouldn’t want to, but try to aim for 4-5 mm at most. Once the chocolate is rolled out, let it rest for at least 5 minutes before using it to make the sushi (I found this made the chocolate a little less prone to breaking when rolled, good time to get the next piece of chocolate ready.
Chocolate sushi “wrappers” (above)