Two modern appetizers flavored with Shichimi

Shichimi is available at Katagiri.com and sunrisemart.com, two excellent Japanese markets in New York.

Japanese-style Mini Pizzas

Makes 12 appetizer-size bites

Ingredients:

12 pieces wonton or gyoza skins

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ to ½ teaspoon shichimi, plus more for topping

Scallion, one stalk, chopped finely

3 tablespoons miso

2 teaspoons sugar

1 small (5 ounce) can water packed tuna, drained

Grated pizza cheese

1. Spread olive oil on wonton skins. Sprinkle with ¼ to ½ teaspoon shichimi.

2. Mix scallion, miso sugar and tuna together. Divide into twelve portions and spread on the wonton skins.

3. Sprinkle pizza cheese on top.

4. Cook in toaster oven until cheese melts. (In a regular oven, cook on very high heat.)

5. Sprinkle with shichimi.

Spiced Gourmet Inari Sushi

Makes 16 appetizer-size bites

Ingredients:

8 pieces deep fried tofu pouches (aburaage)

2 cups dashi stock

4 tablespoons soy sauce

5 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons mirin

(you may substitute with sherry, marsala or sweet sake)

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

300 grams uncooked sushi rice

2 eggs, mixed well, cooked into a thin crepe and sliced thin

16 snow peas, blanched in boiling salted water and sliced thin

2 tablespoons shichimi

 

Prepare the tofu pouches (Best if prepared a day early.)

  1. Cut the tofu pouches in half and form pockets. Put in strainer or colander and pour boiling water on all sides to remove excess oil.
  2. Make a stock with the dashi, soy sauce, sugar and mirin. Boil the pouches in the stock for one hour. Let stand until cool.

Make the filling.

  1. Mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt together and set aside.
  2. Cook the sushi rice and when it is still warm, pour over the vinegar mixture and combine with rice when rice using a slicing, horizontal motion, like turning over pancakes. Do not break the rice grains and make the mixture mushy, or overdo the mixing. Immediately cool the rice by fanning it with a paper fan. The rice will glisten.

Assemble the sushi.

1. Mix shichimi into sushi rice. Divide into 16 portions and pack into the tofu pouches.

2. Garnish with egg and snow peas.

3. Sprinkle with shichimi, if desired.