Thursday, March 31, 2011


KUNG FU PANDA SUSHI BALL - a kung fu celebrational recipe for kids!

Kung Fu Panda, my all time favorite kid's cartoon movie is coming out with a sequel in June, 2011. Kung Fu Panda 2, - I can't wait! I'm throwing a Kung Fu party in it's honor. I so wanted to call this party dish "Panda Balls", but for the sake of a "G" rating (sorry the movie can't boast the same), we'll call it Kung Fu Panda Sushi Balls.

When the blessing of children was bestowed upon us, my husband and I relinquished control of all TV programing to the likes of Dora & Barney. I'm now pleased to say that my little viewers have reached an age of maturity were we can find mutual entertainment in family classics like Kung Fu Panda. This show is packed full of culture, artful graphics, brilliant musical scores, side-splitting humor and unparalleled wisdom. I've lost count of the number of times I've been forced to re-tweet insightful quotes from this film. One of favorites was issued by Master Ooguay: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called, the present." - savor it!

As a mom, nutrition is first and foremost, even when it comes to party fare. I'm always trying to introduce and incorporate new foods. I'm sure we are all aware of the health benefits of Nori, the eatable seaweed found in Sushi. If not, you can take a crash coarse with the Nutrition Diva. And when it comes to raising healthy kids, well as Po says, "It's gonna take a lot more than dew, and, uh, universe juice."

1 Cup Sushi Rice
8 oz. Chicken Tenders
2 Tbs. Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs. Granulated Sugar
1/2 Tbs. Sea Salt
Soy Sauce or Teriyaki for Dipping
Wasabi? - well, only if you're looking to invite the "Kaboom of Doom" into your mouth.

Our young chefs begin by adding 1 cup of Short Grain Sushi Rice into a small mixing bowl. They next add a generous amount of cool water. They swirl the rice in the water to rinse off the extra starch (this will prevent an unwanted "gummy" texture later). They drain the water off and repeat this process 3 to 4 times, or until the water becomes clear.

Our chefs strain the rice from the rinsing water and transfer it to a medium saucepan. They add 1 & 1/4 cup cool water to the rice. The supervising chef places the saucepan over high heat and brings it (uncovered) to a boil. Once it begins to boil the heat is reduced to the lowest setting and saucepan is covered. The rice is cooked for 20 minutes on low heat (do not lift the lid during cooking). It is then removed from the heat and allowed to stand (covered) for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, our chefs add 2 tbs. unseasoned Rice Vinegar to a small saucepan. To this they add 2 tbs. Granulated Sugar and 1/2 tbs. Sea Salt. The supervising chef warm the saucepan over low heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved into the vinegar.

Meanwhile, the 8 oz. of Chicken Tenders are sliced in 1/2 thick strips by the supervising chef. They are seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked in a saute pan over medium heat until golden brown and cooked through (about 6 minutes per side).

Our young chefs are allowed to hone their (butter) knife skills as they cut the cooked chicken strips in to 1/2 inch cubes.

When the rice is done resting, it is transferred to a large glass baking dish. Our chefs pour the cooled vinegar mixture over the rice and "very gently" fold the rice to coat each grain. The rice is allowed to cool further to room temperature.

Our chefs spread a sheet of plastic wrap over a sushi mat. They mound 2 tbs. of the cooked sushi rice into the center. A piece of the cooked chicken is pressed slightly into the mound and covered with a bit more of the rice.

Our young chefs then gather the corners of the plastic wrap and twists to form a ball of rice with the chicken tucked neatly into the center.

Our chefs then unwrap the Sushi Ball and places it on a traditional sushi serving dish.

The sushi rice is extremely sticky at this stage. Our young chefs dip their fingers into a cup of cold water as needed to prevent the rice from sticking to their hands.

The supervising chef cuts a sheet of Nori into thin 1/4 inch strips.

Our young chef wraps each sushi ball with a nori strip.

These sushi balls are excellent dipped in a bit of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

We do hope your little ones enjoy this recipe and their introduction to Sushi! You will, of course, allow them an attempt at dipping and eating these delightful sushi balls with an authentic pair of chop sticks.

Enjoy! And as always, if you have a recipe or cooking project that was a winner with your child, please email it to me at:, and we hope to see you again soon at The Chef's Emporium.