Returning to New York after the BIG, BIG break up was, well, intimidating. I didn’t have many friends, I was surrounded by memories of my ex, and I was nervous I’d be unhappy.
However, I was lucky. Two months after moving back I received word a close girlfriend from college was moving to the city – and near me. (If she’d landed on the East Side this would be a different story.) She moved within 20 blocks of me – on the express line! Perfect!
We hadn’t seen each other in years – but one night over sushi we fell right back into our old ways- jokes, gossip, sharing updates about our lives and the lives of others. We developed a pattern, a routine. Once a week, sushi, just us girls. And then more girls! Other college ladies, other city women joined us too!
Gradually, the loneliness that I thought would consume me after my breakup seemed to fade away. It was replaced by a group of strong, smart, impressive women and a feeling of empowerment. I was glad to be single, glad to have single girlfriends, super glad to eat sushi, glad to be out in the world – just as me – not somebody’s someone – but my OWN person.
So here is my recipe for Single Girl Sweet Potato Sushi, which was the girls’ favorite, to honor those kick ass women who saved me from the slump. Sushi may seem intimidating but it is actually easy to make! Little secret – I batter and fry the sweet potato pieces twice for extra crispy outsides and cloud-like insides. Make it with your girlfriends, play some Beyonce, and forget that guy! — What was his name again? Exactly!
Cook your sushi rice according to package instructions. Tryyyy not to just eat it all. Set aside.
To make tempura batter, whisk together dry ingredients. Whisk together wet ingredients. Whisk together wet and dry ingredients.
The batter will be bubbly and light.
Get ready to fry. Keep your batter over a bowl of ice to keep it cold. Heat your oil to 375° F.
Place sweet potato chunks in batter and then transfer to oil. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes until lightly browned. I double fry mine for extra crunch. After they are all fried, I re-batter them and fry again. This makes the outsides crispy and the insides soft as a cloud.
Transfer potato chunks to a sheet tray lined with a paper town and sprinkle with salt.
To assemble, place your sheet of seaweed on the board. Using lightly rice vinegared-fingers press rice in an even layer on the seaweed. Place the sweet potato at one end.
Using dry hands, roll up.
Cut that sushi log into 6 equal piece. Only 5 made it into my photo because… well.. I ate one and then another, and then two rolls. Sorry! It’s so good!
Sweet Potato Sushi
1/2 cup of sushi rice
1 cup of water
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
For the tempura batter:
2.5 ounces of cake flour
2.5 ounces of rice flour
3/4 cup of cold seltzer water
1/4 cup of cold water
1 egg, beaten
2 sheets of sushi nori
Cook your sushi rice according to package instructions. For mine, I placed 1/2 cup of sushi rice and 1 cup of water in a small sauce pan. I brought it to a boil and reduced it to a simmer for 15 minutes, with the lid on. I turned off the heat and let it steam for 10 minutes.
Heat 4 inches of vegetable oil in a small sauce pan.
To make the tempura batter, whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together both waters and egg.
Add the dry to the wet and whisk.
Add the chunks of sweet potato to the batter and then add to the fryer. Fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. After you’ve fried all batches, re-batter the first batch and refry for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a sheet tray lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
To assemble, place a sheet of nori on a board. Cover in rice. Wet your fingers with rice vinegar to press the rice down so it doesn’t stick to you.
Line pieces of sweet potato on the bottom edge of the rice-covered nori. Roll from the bottom edge up.
Cut into 6 equal pieces, about 1/2 inch in thickness and serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with soy sauce if you desire.