Long Jing Quinoa

Hey There! I’m finally back with another recipe and I thought that it was time to do something savory! I’ve done tea infused rice before so why not try quinoa!

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I bought this red quinoa loose from safeway. They have a nice section where you can fill up a paper bag and the cost is by weight. I like how I can just recycle the bag afterwards, no plastic packaging! I want to start off by saying, I’m Persian so rice is like a love language to me but every once in a while I’ll have quinoa.

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I had been making my way through some long jing that I got for my birthday and was towards the end of it so I decided to use that. I think this could go well an oolong, hojicha or something like genmaicha or gyokuro as well.

I didn’t have directions for this quinoa so I followed the general rule of doubling the amount of quinoa for how much water to use. Quinoa expands 3 times so 1 cup will make plenty !

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The recipe is simply one cup quinoa to two cups water. Instead of using plain water I brewed two cups long jing and used that to cook the quinoa so that it would have a delicious green tea flavor!

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Prepare your two cups of tea, I used this pot because it is so handy! Again, feel free to change up the tea to some of the suggestions mentioned above. Place the 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups tea in a pot. I added a bit of salt, pepper and liquid saffron as well.

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With the lid off, bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, cover and lower the heat and let the quinoa cook until the water has been absorbed (10-20 minutes). Once all the water is absorbed, turn off the pot and let the pot sit with the lid on for another 10 minutes then fluff the quinoa with a fork!

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The result is a nicely flavored quinoa with a touch of green tea! The long jing gives the quinoa a bit of it’s roasted nutty flavor !

Voila!

Sencha Margarita

Spring is finally here and I’m excited to bring you a new recipe for a spring themed drink! I got to work with First Leaves tea and their Sencha tea! What better way to celebrate spring than with a green drink?

If you’re unfamiliar with Sencha, it is a Japanese green tea. First Leaves tea’s sencha comes from Fuji City in Shizuoka. You can choose loose leaf or for an easy, on the go solution, the tea sachets. Check them out here to get 15% off your purchase!

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Although I made a recipe with this tea, I highly encourage you to brew the tea first to try if you’ve never had sencha! When it comes to brewing in this recipe, you can do either brew it hot and let it cool down or cold brew in advance.

If you want to cold brew, run warm water over 2 teaspoons of leaves just to wake them up a bit. Place the leaves in a container and fill with 2 cups of water and leave in the fridge for about 12 hours. Make sure to taste it after 12 hours to see if the flavor is strong enough, if not you can leave it a bit longer.

The way I brewed the tea for this recipe was with hot water and let the mixture cool before creating the drink. The tea pot that I used (pictured) can hold about 2 cups of water and it is suggested to use about 1 teaspoon per 8 oz so I placed 2 teaspoons of loose leaf sencha in my tea pot.

At this time, I also placed the honey that I used to sweeten the margarita in with the leaves. I normally wouldn’t sweeten tea this way but it’s nice for the margarita to have a little bit of sweetness to it!

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Brew the your water to no more than 175 F. It is really helpful for teas like sencha to have a kettle that shows the temperature. If you don’t have one don’t panic! You can let the boiling water stand for a little bit, maybe 5-10 minutes and it should cool enough to use.

Pour your water into the tea pot with the leaves + honey and brew for 30-40 seconds. Give it a stir so that the honey dissolves and strain your tea!

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Let the tea cool enough to use in your drink! You can refrigerate it to speed up the process or use ice in your drink to wait less time. I wanted to note that I used a matcha honey in this recipe because I had it and thought it might be fun but it is not a necessity!

Salt! Who doesn’t love a salt rim?? If you don’t, skip this part :) If you do, take a lime wedge and wet the rim of the glass and then dip the glass in a plate of salt. What salt to use? You don’t have to have that margarita salt that you see at the store. If you don’t have that, you can use most sea salts that aren’t fine grain and they’ll work well. I used maldon sea salt flakes I had for this drink!

In your salted (or non salted) glass, combine the juice of half a lime + 1.5 oz of your favorite tequila! I used Altos tequila. It is my go to because it’s priced well and tastes great in margaritas! I also love espolon tequila!

Please feel free to alter amounts of lime + tequila to your liking!

Finally, fill your glass up with the sencha + honey brew, mix, garnish with a lime and enjoy!

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Roasted Eggplant with Genmaicha Sauce

Fall is here and I always crave squash and eggplant! I try my best to go to the local farmer’s market every weekend or every other weekend to support Maryland Farmers! I happened to pick up 3 nubia eggplants!

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My original plan was to make khoresh bademjan which is an Iranian eggplant stew but when I got my Sipsby box and saw that there was genmaicha in it, an idea started brewing! Genmaicha is a Japanes green tea that also had puffed rice in it. This genmaicha is from Yannoko tea and is their organic variation which includes bancha as the green tea.

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I love rice so the very first time I tried gemaicha I was in love! Genmaicha is definitely a tea that pairs well with savory food as it has the grassy green tea flavor as well as some roasted notes due to the rice. I decided to try a sauce using genmaicha to top the eggplants with!

In my recipe you’ll see that I said to let the eggplants “sweat".” When we prepare eggplants for the khoresh I mentioned above, you peel and slice the eggplants then salt them. After a little bit, you’ll see beads of liquid on them hence the “sweat"! This helps rid the eggplants of some of the bitterness. You are welcomed to fry the eggplants instead of baking but I love to bake them. With a little olive oil, S + P, they get browned and a bit crispy on the edges!

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The baking time really depends on your preference and also how thick you sliced your eggplants. I wanted to give a little advice when slicing. Sometimes slicing thin can help things cook quicker, but with eggplant in the oven I’ve noticed that if they are sliced too thin you really lose most of the eggplant.

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When doing this sauce I think it’s best to have all your ingredients prepared before you start so that you can focus on the sauce itself. When you brew the genmaicha tea, make sure to follow brewing instructions on the package. For reference, brewing temperature is 176F and steep for 30-60 seconds. You can do multiple infusions.

One other brewing note is about strength. In my other recipes I sometimes brew the tea on the longer side so that it is more potent in the dish since many times it is being cooked. Be cautious of applying that to genmaicha. I find genmaicha to be pretty delicate and you wouldn’t want the tea to be bitter and then transfer that taste to your meal!

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The genmaicha helps cook the spinacha bit more and once it’s reduced use as much boursin as you’d like to thicken it. I could definitely use more cheese but was trying to keep this a semi helathy recipe :D I did want to note that I used boursin because I had some, it’s creamy texture and the fact that it is already flavored with garlic and herb which I think went well with everything else. You could definitely experiment with other cheeses but be careful of using one that is too strong as it will likely overpower any notes of the genmaicha.

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I thought this sauce turned out well and it paired well with the eggplant! The sauce definitely has an earthy taste which is thanks to the genmaicha!

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A fancy but easy meal for a day when you have time to make yourself a nice meal or use at a party!

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DIY Tea Scrubs

Tea Scrubs!

Valentine's day is coming up and handmade gifts are a great way to show someone you love, that you care! If you're stuck on what to make, check out these two types of tea infused scrubs that are easy to make, with simple ingredients !

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I have two different versions of scrubs that vary in ingredients and with tea!

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The first scrub combines salt and sugar and a rhubarb & ginger tea! Rhubarb and ginger are both great ingredients that can help skin. Rhubarb has antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Ginger is also said to help with evening skin tone and improving elasticity! 

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I had this manuka honey and decided to use it instead of regular honey. You're welcome to use regular honey as well! Manuka honey has all sorts of benefits like treating acne and eczema! 

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One of the most important parts of this recipe is to let the tea cool completely before mixing it in. If the tea is too hot, the sugar and salt will dissolve and lose the rough texture that helps with exfoliation! Feel free to put more tea than I used in the scrub but just know that the scrub might be a bit more water like as opposed to a scrub.

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This seconds scrub uses only sugar and 2 types of tea! I received these teas from kailo tea. Kailo tea puts loose leaf and a capsule of vitamins in a tea sachet so you're taking in tea and vitamins at the same time!

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The two teas used were Wake up and Zen out tea. The Wake up blend is green tea with vitamin B, C and D. The Zen out blend is herbal tea with vitamins C, D and magnesium! I brewed these two teas together so that they become mixed when I include them in the scrub. 

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The rosehip and vitamin E oils give this scrub a lovely scent and added skin benefits!

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Again, make sure to let the tea cool completely before mixing it into the sugar.  

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Make sure that the scrub clumps a little bit, so that it will be effective!

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Green Tea Cranberry Spritzer

Sparkling tea!

It's Christmas time and I have been so busy with the shop that I have been making recipes but not posting them! I recently got a bag of cranberries from my CSA and have been brainstorming about what to do with them. 

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I'm a huge fan of cranberries in drinks so I started to look at what I had in the house. I try to make my recipes with simple ingredients so that you can make them with things you probably have already instead of going out to buy a bunch of items. 

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I had cranberries, seltzer water and some clementines! The last thing I needed was to choose a type of tea. I wanted to chose something that embodies the christmas spirit. Lucky for me The Tea Spot generously sent me some of their lovely teas and one of them is a roasted green tea with peppermint! You can find it here  ! Peppermint is a classic christmas time flavor and with the addition of cranberries and citrus, it's perfect!

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Once you brew the tea let it cool and then let it cool all the way by putting it in the refrigerator! Once the tea is cool you can use it in the drink! 

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Seltzer always gives drinks a nice fizzy kick! If you are a cranberry lover I would suggest crushing up a few cranberries to add to the drink.

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I filled my cup up about 1/2 way with tea and 1/2 with seltzer but feel free to change these porpotions to however you think the drink will taste best!

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I mention in the recipe about adding some juice of the orange. I had a clementine on hand and squeezed half of one in each cup. You can add more or less based on your taste!

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Orange + Cranberries + Green tea peppermint + Seltzer water = AMAZING!! If you want this boozy, I think this simple combo would taste delicious with a variety of drinks!

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Green Tea Passion Fruit Cupcakes W/ Ginger Buttecream Icing

Spicy Frosting.

I had a bunch of these pique tea packets left and they were so fun to work with, I decided to try another recipe! Last time I made this cocktail with them. I knew this tea would be great in a cupcake, all I had to decide what kind of frosting to create with it!

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I know what ginger is a fun flavor with green tea and I thought, ginger buttercream? Why not?! I'm not blogging to be boring, I want to be adventurous!

All you have to do is mix the pique tea crystals with the milk in the recipe. I encourage you to use whatever amount you think is best but I honestly like to have a strong flavor so I used 4 packets in the 1 1/4 cup of milk! Do this step first before starting the recipe and place your tea infused milk into the fridge until it's time to add it to the batter. You don't need to heat your milk, but you can if you'd like!

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I tried  a little experiment using mini cup cake papers but honestly I wouldn't do it again. Use full cupcake liners, you'll make less than is what is shown here but they will have a better shape.  

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This tea has fragrance has such a wonderful and it's apparent in both the batter and when they're baked!

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You may have seen the "spicy frosting" heading at the start of this post. I won't lie to you, with 2 tablespoons, this frosting had a KICK. If you want the ginger flavor with less of the kick I would mix everything together and gradually add in ginger to your taste. 

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But let me tell you something about this spicy frosting...IT IS AMAZING. I thought it would be a bit strange but I really liked the spiciness contrasted by the sweet cupcake and the flavor of green tea! 

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Yes, cupcakes were harmed ...I mean eaten...in this process!

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Another note about the actual cupcake. These are THICK. If you want them to be a little less thick you can add a tiny bit more milk, try a few additional teaspoons. I actually loved how thick they are because they are a perfect for pairing with tea! I wanted to add this note though because not everyone likes cupcakes to be this way. 

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As always, I suggest that you enjoy these cupcakes with tea :) 

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You can check out Pique Tea here and see all their teas! These last a while because there are a bunch of packets in one box and I think theyre great for on the go tea without sacrificing the flavor! 

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Berber Tea Noodles

Minty Noodles.

When I was younger I used to eat noodles all the time! Not just mac 'n' cheese but my mom would make this "green sauce" which wasn't really sauce just butter and basil which was SO GOOD. Nowadays I try to eat as healthy as I can, avoiding an excess of grains and noodles, with the exception of rice. I can't live without my rice!

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After doing some research I kept finding "green tea" noodles but these were mostly pre-packaged noodles that were made with green tea. I decided that I wanted to infuse my noodles and although I couldn't find an exact method, I kept it really simple. 

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I think that to make this recipe a success, you should use whatever noodle type you want. I used these flat korean noodles that I had in my shelves and they were great but I think this would work with any noodle and here's why. All you do is dump the tea into the water with the noodles and they will cook in the tea! The Berber blend from Tay Tea has Moroccan mint so it gives the noodles this fun minty flavor!

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I love every part of tea and when I make recipes I often leave some of the leaves in it for fun because they don't bother me. If you cook the noodles in the tea you will have noodles with pieces of tea leaves on them, I really like this but if you don't you can do it a different way. If you want tea leaf free noodles, I would brew the tea first, strain it then cook the noodles in them! 

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Now on to toppings and sauce. This would be delicious with a number of different sauces and I encourage you to pick your own. I like to use whatever ingredients I have so I whipped up a little stir fry of garlic, onions, salt and garlic chili paste! 

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Mix your noodles and enjoy! The minty flavor is very refreshing! I Wanted to share really quickly a book that my friend Lu-Ann over at The Cup Of Life wrote, it's filled with inspiration and I often like to read it when I'm enjoying tea! You should also check her out because she recently had me on her monthly "at the tea table"

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So there you have it, another fun and simple way to incorporate tea into your day! I want to encourage you to give Sips by a shot, not just because I partner with them but I think that their monthly boxes are seriously a great way to discover new teas if you're into that! Also, this weekend 100% of their sales will be donated to Hurricane Harvey Relief! 

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Green Tea Passion Fruit Champagne Cocktail

Tea Crystals.

What the heck are tea crystals?! I didn't know either! Pique Tea reached out to me to try their tea and I was intrigued! I've probably mentioned that I'm somewhat of a loose leaf snob but am always willing to try new things! Before I received the tea I checked out the process and guess what? To get these crystals, the tea is in fact brewed from loose leaves! Read more about their process. 

I think it's really cool that these crystals are made from actual brewed tea and are able to keep in the benefits and flavors of the tea. Although, I like to enjoy my tea slowly and in places where I don't have to rush, these packets are perfect for people who want tea but can't make the time or for traveling! I also think that these packets make tea more accessible to people and I'm all about spreading the love for tea!  

You're welcome to brew this tea with hot or cold water, I used cold water because I didn't want to wait for the hot tea to cool down. If you're making these for a party I would also suggest cold water so you can make these drinks right away! Once the water hit the crystals, they start dissovling.

I'm not sure if I've ever discussed my process but I do a lot of flavor brainstorming before I create a recipe. I think about the flavor and what I've had it with and what I've liked it best with. I also think about dishes I like and wish there was tea in! I've had many passion fruit flavored things but I'm not sure I've ever eaten a passion fruit by itself so I had to do a little research about what flavors pair well with it. 

In my research, I concluded that raspberries and champagne were a great combo for this tea! I did not sweeten this drink but if you like sweet drinks, simply add honey or sugar to the tea or the finished drink! 

You can kind of play around with the amount of tea vs champagne in this drink. I made mine slightly boozier by adding more champagne than tea. I was thinking that if you had frozen raspberries you could even use those to make this drink even cooler!

This is a super simple cocktail and I think it's great for a party! Pique Tea is affordable and has green and black teas, you can check out their flavors here!

Bangkok Popsicles

Bang! 

May's Sips by box has some delicious tea in it! It's been super hot since I got home from my trip to Italy and I thought that tea popsicles were the perfect solution! The Bangkok tea blend from Harney & Son's that was in my box has green tea, coconut, ginger and vanilla. Um.....can you say YUM or what?! These are all light, summer time flavors in my opinion that would go perfect as a popsicle. 

Part of me wanted to just brew this tea, let it cool and then freeze them because it has so many wonderful flavors. BUT, I decided that I needed to add one ingredient to spice things up.   

I chose cardamom because it's not only fragrant but also very flavorful. I used to eat these sugar candies that had whole cardamom seeds in them and they were one of my favorite things to have with tea! Even though cardamom is potent I think it goes well with a lot of different flavors. 

I've seen so many posts about ice cream that have fancy styled shots and I was on the hunt for popsicle sticks and metal molds. My local grocery store didn't have what I was looking for but something even better! These colorful popsicle molds are so cute AND do you see that straw? You can sip the melting popsicle so it doesn't run into your hand, it's awesome!

I let my tea brew for a bit longer than I said in the recipe and they were quite potent but I liked them. I wanted to make sure that they got a nice color because splitting the tea between all these mold would certainly weaken the flavor. 

These are great ice pops, they have a wonderful flavor and aren't heavy. The only thing I didn't like which I'll have to find a solution for is that the bottom of the mold and what turned out to be the top of the popsicle were much more flavorful than the rest of the popsicle. 

I've been enjoying these the past few nights and really like how light and refreshing they are. I didn't use very much honey but they still have sweetness to them to make them feel like dessert. 

Watch out for another ice cream/popsicle recipe coming very soon! Do you have a favorite tea pop?!

Sencha Ahi Tuna

Tea Tuna.

I have another fun recipe for you using one of the samples that came in my Sips by box! This recipe is for seafood lovers who want to spice up their dinner menu! I've used a sencha green tea from Yunomi to create an ahi tuna steak marinade! 

I've noticed that green and puerh teas have such a rich and often earthy flavor so they pair so well with savory dishes. If you remember my Gyokuro Shrimp recipe, this is a similar idea but with some different spices and a longer marinating time. Tuna steaks are often seared quickly both sides and enjoyed with a somewhat rare inside. The key to this recipe for me is the hours it is marinated. 

My marinade is fairly liquid due to the tea and lemon juice so the tuna is literally soaking it all up. Even if you cook these steaks to be rare or medium rare that meat will have the delicious flavor of the marinade packed into it. 

I decided that I would go with tart and spicy on this marinade with the lemon juice, peel, fresh garlic and ginger. I also used a little bit of basil to cool it down, especially if you choose to use some red pepper flakes like I did. 

I've recently been watching The Great British Baking show and one episode they had to make tea loaves. I thought this was fun because I had recently made tea infused bread (recipe coming soon). I was shocked when one of the judges said that he was impressed with everyone's bread because tea is a difficult ingredient to incorporate into baked goods and food. EXCUSE ME? If you've noticed that my blog has been dominated by recipes lately it's because I'm here to prove that notion wrong! 

When I think of a recipe, it's basically anything that includes water or an ingredient of some sort that I can either use tea as a substitute or brew the tea into the ingredient. Marinades are often liquid so I simply brew my desired tea and use some of it to marinade the tea! You can also use the entire leaves as well as the brew but it's important to pay attention to how bitter the tea will become. Give the leaves a taste before you incoporate them into the dish.   

I grew up brewing tea not paying any attention to brewing times. Persians like their tea dark, or at least my family did and it was always more about color and aroma than how long it had been brewing. Green teas are different. As a general rule, you should follow brewing times carefully so that your tea does not become so bitter, especially if you are using it for food! 

The first brew time suggested 60 seconds which is what I followed. I think that because the meat is raw, it's better if you allow it to cool before adding it to the marinade. If you add hot tea in right away you risk the heat from the tea cooking the ingredients as well as the meat while it marinades. 

Instead of plopping the tuna into the marinade I think it will turn out better if you really soak the tuna. I spooned the liquid over the meat a few times and made sure some of the spices were sitting on top of the tuna. In my directions I mention turning over the tuna during the marinade time, don't forget to spoon the liquid over the tuna again at that point. 

I think the tuna turned out delicious but I didn't SEAR it like you see in many recipes because I poured the marinade over the tuna in the pan. If you want a crisper outside, simply place the tuna into the hot pan without the liquid! 

We enjoyed these steaks with sushi rice and some baked green beans. I have made this sushi rice recipe many times and it's so easy to follow. I only suggest using 1 tablspoon of sugar instead of 3...unless you like super sweet sushi rice!

Bon Appétit !

I would LOVE to know if you try this recipe, feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email :)