Chinese people (specifically Chinese parents) love to tell their children urban myths that exploit their children’s vanity. These creative truths are told in order to compel children to eat all of the food on their plate. Eat “one more piece of broccoli” or have “another bite of chicken” doesn’t cut it in Chinese households. I grew up believing any grain of rice left in my bowl would be a pimple on my face the next day.

For me, wasting is even more offensive when it comes to cooking.

I have tons of sushi rice in my pantry from all of those times I vowed to make sushi. And just like finishing The Godfather trilogy, I can’t seem to commit. The unopened bag of rice mocks me every time I open my pantry. I’m surprised my body isn’t covered in pimples from unused, uneaten rice. Since my fantasy of daily sushi bento boxes is going to happen at the same rate as the World Cup, torched rice crisps is a really easy way to use it all up. The rice sticks together so with minimal effort you’ve got the easiest rice cracker-like vessels to carry anything that goes with rice. Tuna poke salad is a must. Great to make ahead too. To finish, sear on both sides before serving.

1 ½ C sushi rice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
(optional) black and white sesame seeds

1. Cook sushi according to package directions.
2. While hot add rice vinegar and stir. Let cool until you can work with it with your hands.
3. Using a whoopee pie pan, press the rice down tightly into the molds. If you don’t have a whoopee pie pan or any other pan with a shallow circular mold, use a muffin pan. Only fill each cup partway about ¾ of a centimeter. 
4. Put in fridge for at least an hour. To cook, fry each side in a little canola oil until you get some pretty brown and black flecks of torchy-goodness flavour. Serve with anything that goes with rice.

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into large cubes
1 C panko crumb
¼ C diced onion
2 tbsp garlic, diced
1 tbsp ginger, diced
1/3 C soy sauce
¼ C chicken broth
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 C  maple syrup
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cold water
canola oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder and paprika
salt & pepper
(optional) garnish: green onion, diced & sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 425. In a bowl prepare breading station with panko, salt, pepper garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.
2. Coat all the chicken pieces in panko mixture. Bake on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Drizzle canola oil. Cook for 18 minutes, flipping halfway.
3. Saute onion until soft. Add in ginger and red pepper flakes and cook for four minutes. Add garlic and fry until fragrant.
4. Add soy sauce, chicken broth and rice wine vinegar. Add maple syrup and bring to a low simmer.
5. In a separate small bowl, whisk cornstarch and cold water together to form a paste. Whisk into sauce and let thicken.
6. Coat cooked chicken pieces in sauce. Serve with green onion and sesame seeds.

© 2017 Michelle Li / miliSashimi