Based on the Chinese rice cake Zong Zi, which are wrapped in bamboo leaves, these savory bars are wrapped in paper foil, and shaped to fit into the athlete's back jersey pocket.
The bars can be easily varied by swapping chicken sausage for the bacon, and adding nut butters, roasted cashews, or raisins. Although designed for elite cyclists, they work equally well for an aging athlete like myself, mountain biking on slushy roads on a gorgeous spring day.
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Bacon Sushi Rice Bars (or Moose Balls)
Some tips for success:
Do not rinse the rice before cooking; if you do, it won't stick together to form a bar or a ball. Believe me, I've made that mistake (but if you forget, you'll have a nice rice bowl).
The easiest way to prepare the bacon is to take the whole package and chop it without separating the slices first. They will separate in the frying pan. Also, be sure to really blot out all of the grease. You don't want your rice bars to be greasy.
Form the bars or balls while the rice is still warm; it will stick together better.
Make your bars gluten-free by using tamari instead of soy sauce.
One more thing: it is important to choose the right type of rice, as this recipe won't work with many varieties. Calrose is a medium grain rice that is available locally. It is inexpensive, cooks in 20 minutes, and has the sticky quality you'll need. You could use any rice marked "sushi" (which I buy in bulk at Jackson Whole Grocer in Jackson), or the "sweet rice" you'll find in Asian markets.
Yield: about 10 bars, or 2 dozen balls
- 2 cups uncooked Calrose rice, or another "sticky" medium grain rice; do not rinse
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 8 ounces bacon
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons liquid amino acids (like Bragg's) or soy sauce (I use the green labelled low sodium type)
- brown sugar to taste (2-4 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, well rinsed (optional)
- Combine rice and water in a rice cooker, or a medium saucepan, and cook on low until done, about 20 minutes.
- Chop up bacon, then fry in a medium frying pan until brown and crispy. Drain well over paper towels.
- Beat eggs in a small bowl and scramble over medium heat in the same frying pan (after wiping out the excess bacon grease). Stir gently until done.
- In a large bowl, or in the rice cooker bowl, mix the cooked rice with the bacon, eggs, soy sauce and brown sugar. Toss in the sesame seeds.
- Taste. Add more soy sauce or sugar as you see fit.
- To make bars: press into an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan to about 1 1/2 inch thickness. Sprinkle with more brown sugar if you wish. Cover with wax paper or plastic wrap and press down and even over the top. Cut into bars or squares while still warm.
- To make balls: squeeze 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture into a concise ball. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to eat.