Hey folks, it’s the weekend, oncemore, and I’ve got another recipe for you. Not a seasonal one, however, but a third one from my buddy, PixelTea.
Another Gourmet Smash Ultimate recipe, this time, but one that I’ve tweaked slightly, using suggestions from his Discord server.
Based on Pixel’s Pokemon Trainer recipe – Specifically his beef-filled Charizard version – this “jelly filled doughnut” has a rather different core. One amped up with blueberry and ghost pepper, in order to reflect the pokemon’s X evolution. And, despite my rice ball not being christmas themed in any way, it did wind up featuring a surprisingly seasonal assortment of spices.
Yet, topical or not, I love the way that this recipe turned out. So full of rich, savoury, meaty goodness, tinged with berries, spices and a high, yet pleasant heat. All kept in check by its soft, fluffy, rice ball exterior.
But we’ll get into its flavour properly in a bit. First, let’s look at how to cook it.
For this dish, you will need:
⅔ cup sushi rice
1 sheet nori
1 red bell pepper (or ½ a ramiro one)
1 spring onion
1 clove garlic
4 actual cloves
5 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons light soy
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light (hikari) miso paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon tomato purée
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
½ a teaspoon black pepper
½ a teaspoon salt
And 2 teaspoons of the ghost pepper and blueberry sauce of your choice.
Personally, I think that this recipe works best with Tom’s, though.
It’s got that dark berry rich quality, to complement the meat, without being too sweet, and a pepperiness to match and meld with that of the basil. A herb which may not have been in Pixel’s original recipe but definitely belongs in this version. Since it works incredibly well with savoury blueberry.
And, speaking of the fruit’s savoury side, I really wanted to highlight it in today’s recipe, so I also browned off my garlic a touch more than PixelTea and omitted the cinnamon that might have brought out some sweetness. But, aside from that, I stuck to his original spices. Because, well, I already mentioned how perfectly black pepper worked with the berries in my review of Bravado’s sauce and the cloves only add to that.
Pixel’s picked out an excellent blend for the beef which, even if it is just a coincidence, is also perfect for this blueberry sauce pairing. So let’s get started.
To prepare the marinade, you’re going to need to thoroughly crush those peppercorns and cloves, then mix them both, in a medium bowl, with the soy sauce, hot sauce, tomato purée, miso paste, vinegar and sugar. Chop in the beef, nice and fine, shred over the basil and toss to combine. Then cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
It can help to briefly chill your meat in the freezer, before cutting, to lessen the chances of it falling apart.
Then, while we wait for it to rest and soak in all of the delightful, berry-based flavour of the marinade, we might as well slice our veg. So crush that garlic with the back of a knife, deseed your heatless pepper and remove the green from your spring onion. You can use that in another recipe, like garnishing my old mapo tofu.
For this recipe, we want only the whites and we want to dice them as finely as possible, along with the garlic. Because we’re going to be frying the two like you might fry regular onions, only faster. Softening them nice and quick, in the hopes that they’ll still keep a little of their fresh zing, even after the garlic has browned.
In fact, you’re going to want to chop your red pepper up right now, too, since there’ll be no time to waste, once our alliums are a-sizzlin’. They’ll only be frying on their own for a minute.
So, once everything’s been cut to size, get the pan nice and hot and chuck that onion and garlic in. Fry them on full blast until you see just the slightest hint of browning begin to occur – It should take literally a minute, or something very close to – and then drop to a medium flame to add the pepper.
From there, simply grate in the ginger and fry for another five minutes, before chucking in the beef.
The beef should take around eight to cook through but you’re going to have to keep it moving constantly, during that time. If any of it sticks then that thin layer of sauce is going to dry out and burn. And, trust me, you don’t want to be burning anything with ghost pepper in it!
But, so long as you’re attentive, the risk is really quite minimal and the results are well worth the level of focus.
This isn’t an easy dish to mess up and ruining the next step – The rice – is even harder to get wrong. Just bring it to a boil in a cup and a half of lightly-salted water, then cover your pan and reduce the heat to an absolute minimum.
It should take between fifteen and twenty minutes more for all of the water to be absorbed and you may even be able to see or hear the absence of steam. But, if not, don’t worry. It’s perfectly fine to have a peak.
Once the liquid is all gone, fluff your rice up with a fork and leave it until it feels warm, yet comfortable to shape by hand. Because that’s exactly what you’re going to do.
You’re going to form small handfuls of the sushi rice into little pancakes, add a small dollop of the beef filling and fold them up into balls. All the while keeping your hands just slightly damp, with water, so that the warm grains will stick to each other, instead of you.
And, for the finishing touch, I recommend taking a pair of scissors to your nori sheet, in order to wrap it all up, like so:
Because, even if I find the seaweed far too fishy on its own, I actually quite enjoy the subtle, tuna-like hints that it gives rice, when used in small quantities. And it does a lot for the visuals, too. Breaking up that solid block of white.
Speaking of which, though, I’m afraid that I didn’t manage to get any good pictures of my rice balls split in half, to show the filling. They were too warm, at the time, to slice cleanly and I was far too excited by the flavour to wait.
The marinade was a delicious blend of cooked, dark berries and peppery, fresh herbs, peppercorns and chillies. With a surprising extra fruit flavour, coming from the miso. Then the meat went in and added an intense burst of umami to that already rich and savoury sauce and it was truly incredible, yet honestly a bit too much.
The filling, on its own, was overwhelmingly meaty and rich, with the dark fruit marinade only further amplifying the umami of the beef. So, as weird as it sounds, I was really looking forward to toning it down again, with the mild flavour of the rice. A nice, soft exterior which would simply provide substance and take up the taste of that beef-based core.
And I’m very pleased to say that it worked. That the bland rice balanced out the overpowering meat and allowed the subtler aspects of its marinade to shine through, oncemore. Making the whole process oh so worthwhile.
And, as an extra bonus, it also helped to tame the chilli to a hot but not unreasonable
heat in the throat and back of the mouth.
One which was just enough to make me stop and savour the meal that I’d made, without keeping me from polishing it all off.
It being roughly four to six of the rice balls shown above, depending on just how large you make them.
So, thanks again to PixelTea for providing the original recipe and to the people in his Discord server for suggesting this hotter, fruitier version. I really have been overjoyed with the results!
Go check out his take on the Pokemon Trainer rice balls, along with the rest of his wonderful creations, by clicking the link in my side bar. Or use the one for Tom’s Curious Sauces, if you’d like to pick up the same bottle of ghost pepper and blueberry that I used today.
I may be more a fan of Digimon’s X Evolution than Charizard’s but this is definitely one of my all time favourite blog recipes.