Korean raw fish salad bowl (hoedupbap)

Adapted from Cook Korean!: a Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha

Author Robin Ha calls this raw-fish, salad and rice bowl "one of the healthiest, tastiest and easiest dishes in Korean cuisine." Its tangy, spicy dressing, she writes, "is the key to tying all the ingredients together." Tobiko (flying fish roe) and toasted seaweed (nori) are available in Asian groceries. Gochujang (red chile paste), toasted seaweed (nori) and tobiko (flying fish roe) are available in Asian supermarkets, as well as select well-stocked groceries. I often find gochujang and nori in the imported foods section of my local Whole Foods Market. For the rice, you'll need a medium-sized deep pot with a clear lid. To crush the nori, you can use scissors to cut a sheet of the seaweed into strips and then crumble them with your fingers. 

Serves 2.

1 cup short to medium-grain white rice

1/4 small Asian pear, peeled and roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup gochujang (red chile paste)

1 Kirby (pickling) cucumber

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish

4 large Romaine lettuce leaves

1 Kirby (pickling) cucumber

2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced into thin rings

1/2 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

8 ounces sushi-grade fish, such as tuna, yellowtail or snapper

1 ounce tobiko (flying fish roe)

Toasted seaweed (nori), crushed, for garnish

1. Make the rice: Put the rice in a medium pot with a clear lid. Fill the pot with cold water, and massage the rice to get all the cloudy dust out. Drain the rice and wash it in the pot 3 to 5 more times, until the water is clear. Leave enough water in the pot so it covers the rice by one inch. Place the pot on the stove over high heat without the lid and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and put the lid on. Leave it alone and do not open the lid for 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice looks fluffy. Turn off the heat and keep the lid closed for another 15 minutes.

2. While the rice is cooking, make the dressing: Put the Asian pear in the jar of a blender, along with the garlic, lemon juice, chile paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar, and blend into a smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl, add 2 teaspoons of the sesame seeds and stir to combine. Set aside.

3. Cut the thick, white bottoms from the Romaine leaves. Roll the leaves into a cigar shape and slice into thin ribbons. Set aside. Slice the cucumber on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices, then stack a few slices and cut them into matchsticks. Repeat for the rest of the cucumber and set aside. Find the grain of the fish and slice it against the grain into 1/4-inch strips. Cut the strips into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

4. Assemble the bowls: Put half the rice into each of two bowls, and cover each with half the lettuce. Arrange the fish, cucumber and tobiko on top. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and the crushed nori. Serve with the dressing on the side, mixing it in to your taste.