Sushi is one of those love-hate foods – either you absolutely adore it and crave it and would gladly swap a beloved relative for it, or you can’t stand the thought of sticking an alien piece of raw fish in your mouth and grimace every time you walk past a sushi bar. I’m one of the former, who love it to bits because it’s little and bitsy and pretty and delicate and fills you up without making you feel heavy. It’s just one of those niche things… so it occurred to me that maybe it’s not the little bitsy prettiness that bugs out the latter group, but definitely the raw fish and seaweediness of the whole deal. And so … a concept was born. Drumroll please…. I give you Boere-Sushi, perfect as posh little nibbly things for entertaining and with suitably familiar local ingredients so that you will not find random bits of “sushi” stuffed between couch cushions or into pot-plants by suspicious diners…
(I just googled “boere sushi” – I can’t believe how many people had the same idea! Dang nabbit).
This is such an easy base recipe, you could try putting a strip of thin boerewors down the middle, or wrap the whole lot in springbok carpaccio, or serve it with Mrs Balls for dipping, or fry it quickly before slicing to give it a nice crunch, or pressing the log into crushed toasted nuts before slicing, or or or… you get my drift, it’s a bottomless pit of local-is-lekker variations. My mind’s already wandering into a vaguely milk-tart-koeksistery-sushi direction which could be calorifically disastrous.
So, to make enough boere-sushi for about 4 people, depending how greedy they are, you will need:
A fist-sized blob of prepared pap. I can’t cook pap and I don’t usually eat it, so I bought it ready-made at the local supermarket.
About half of a ripe avocado
A few peppadews, drained – I like the hot ones, but if your guests are still getting over the shock of boere-sushi rather start out with the sweet ones
This can’t be easier, really – lay a sheet of clingwrap down on the counter. Don’t worry about having one of those fancy-shmancy sushi-mats, it’s not necessary. I used one of those reed-like placemats but just for effect – makes it look as if you are going to lots of trouble, but has no real purpose.
Squash the cooled pap out into a square-ish shape. It doesn’t matter if the angles aren’t quite 90 degrees, all will work out in the end. It shouldn’t be more than 1cm thick, as it is quite gummy texture and a little of this sushi goes a long way.
Slice the avo quite finely and chop the peppadews into tiny bits. I was lazy and simply sliced the peppadew, but this caused problems when it came to slicing the sushi neatly – the knife kept ripping out bits of peppadew which I of course ate without thinking, so lots of pieces did not have peppadew in them at all – oops. Lay down a strip of avo and peppadew on the pap, then generously apply biltong powder to the rest.
Using the clingwrap as an aid, firmly (but gently – it won’t do to squash right through the pap) roll the pap up over the ingredients. Wrap the clingwrap round it and refrigerate it long enough to firm up but not so long that it’s icy cold. If you want, you can pat the log into a square-ish shape like real sushi at this point. I rolled mine in more biltong powder but chopped toasted cashews could be fun too.
Using a sharp knife, slice the sushi – eat the ends, since these will look wobbly and will not be good enough to present to guests. For authenticity you could try walloping the knife through the sushi at great speed, like the guys behind the sushi bar – but only if you have very good aim and hand-eye co-ordination. Guests rarely appreciate bits of severed finger in their hors d’oeuvres.
Serve you beautiful boere-sushi with good old Worcestershire sauce for dipping instead of soy (with a whole chilli reclining in it instead of wasabi, if your guests are quite brave) and remember to announce loudly that it contains no raw fish or other terrifying things.
PS: I tried this out absolutely months ago but completely forgot to post it – Jani kept reminding me, so Jani, here it is finally, and CONGRATS to you and Mr. Jani on your marriage yesterday!!!