Adlai, also dramatically known as Job’s Tears, is a locally grown grain positioned as a rice replacement. With almost five times more protein than white rice and a soft, biteable texture, this post-Christmas meal eases you out of the holiday gluttony that your body has gotten used to. Pair adlai with sea grapes (or lato), and torched salmon—you’re on the path to becoming healthy-ish.
Sea grapes are typically eaten in Japan and the Philippines, where they can be farmed in intertidal zones near mangroves. As long as you don’t have trypophobia, seaweed-salty sea grapes are a pop-in-your-mouth fun ingredient to introduce more iodine into your diet.
The recipe requires time and special ingredients that will warrant a visit to your local Japanese grocery, and I can’t think of a better time to traipse the grocery than the easy days between Christmas and New Year’s.
Torched Salmon and Sea Grape Adlai Bowl
YIELD: 2 bowls
TIME: 2 hours
- 150g adlai
- 2 stalks scallions, charred over flame
- 10g ginger, sliced
- 1 tsp dashi
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- ¼ cup brandy
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 20g shiitake, sliced
- 20g oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 2 pcs scallions, sliced thin
- 1 tbsp wakame, reconstituted in hot water and drained
- 200g salmon, sliced in 1mm thick slices
- 20g lato, picked and cleaned
- 1 tsp ebiko
- To make adlai, place grains in a pot and rinse and drain 3 times. Fill with water, making sure there is an extra 2 cm of water covering the adlai.
- Cover pot, bring to a boil, and simmer. Adlai will be cooked when its grains are soft, water has been absorbed and grains have expanded. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
- To make sauce, place all ingredients in a sauce pot except for cornstarch. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Strain out ginger and leek and make a slurry with cornstarch.
- Bring liquid back to a boil and whisk in slurry remove from heat once sauce has thickened.
- Heat up a pan with oil and sauté mushrooms a little at a time to caramelize them. Place in a bowl and save for rice.
- To make rice, toss adlai with rice ingredients plus 1 tbsp of sauce. Season to taste. Place rice in a warm bowl.
- Layer salmon on top of rice, brush with sauce and season with salt. Char with a blow torch till salmon is smoky. Garnish with lato, ebiko and sliced leek.
- If you don’t have access to a blow torch, turbo the salmon in a heat-proof bowl, though this will not result in the same charred, smoky flavor.