Chirashi Sushi—Sushi in a Bowl

ChirashiSushi--Sushi in a Bowl (c) jfhaugenFood Art Japanese Style

Beautiful and easy to make—a bowl of sushi rice topped with a number of lovingly prepared and artfully arranged ingredients. Chirashi is translated as “scattered,” as some of the ingredients are often scattered throughout the rice while others garnish the top. One way I like to eat chirashi sushi is to use my chopsticks to combine the ingredients together, scattering the toppings all through the rice as I go.

This can be a quick dish, depending upon the number of toppings and how you prepare them. At the end of the recipe I include a number of suggestions. It’s completely your choice as to which ones you use. Soy sauce and wasabi make excellent accompaniments especially when sashimi (sliced raw fish) is among the toppings.

A dish for celebrations; a dish for everyday
Chirashi Sushi Ingredients (c) jfhaugenWondering what to prepare for an upcoming celebration? Consider Chirashi Sushi topped with Seasoned Shiitakes, Japanese Egg Crêpes, cucumber and carrot flowers, avocado, scallions and pickled ginger! Serve as an impressive first course or as a one-dish meal in itself.

While the rice is soaking and cooking you prepare the toppings, making them as complex or as simple as you desire—thus chirashi sushi works equally well for celebrations as it does for an everyday meal.

My best ever sushi rice
I had always prepared sushi rice just as I would normal rice. After doing a bit of research, I now know this was quite the mistake. The preparation of sushi rice has a few more steps. These extra steps are sooo worth it as the individual grains are still “sticky” yet do not break down or become mushy—unless roughly handled. You’re going to be so impressed. Do let me know what you think of this rice.

Tips for preparing sushi rice

  • The rice for sushi is cooked with less water than regular rice so that it is a bit dryer in order to better absorb the seasoned vinegar.
  • As with all rice, don’t open the lid while the rice is cooking or while it is sitting after being cooked.
  • Pour the seasoned vinegar over a rice paddle or flat wooden spoon to evenly distribute it over the rice.
  • Follow the recipe exactly.

This recipe was updated 3 March 2015 Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushi

Chirashi Sushi--Sushi in a Bowl (c) jfhaugen

Chirashi Sushi—Sushi in a Bowl

Chirashi Sushi is loved as much for its presentation as for its flavor, lightness and ease of preparation.

Makes 3-4 servings

My basic plan of action:

  • Pour boiling water over the dried shiitakes to reconstitute them. Let them sit for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse and soak the rice. Let it sit in water for 30 minutes.
  • Prepare carrot flowers.
  • Prepare the Shredded Egg Crêpes.
  • Rinse the rice once again and cook it.
  • Slice the shiitakes thinly and cook them with the seasoned soaking water.
  • Let the cooked rice sit.
  • Slice the cucumber, avocado and scallions and any other vegetables you will be using.
  • Prepare the optional wasabi paste.
  • Fold the seasoned vinegar into the rice.
  • Divide the rice between individual bowls.
  • Top the rice with the egg crêpe and toasted and thinly cut nori.
  • Artfully arrange the prepared garnishes and a few slices of pickled ginger.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Carrot Flowers
Carrot Flowers (c) jfhaugenYears ago at a Japanese cooking class in Berkeley’s local Korean restaurant 😉 I learned to make carrot flowers—very easy to do with a sharp knife. And, it isn’t necessary to peel the carrots if they are organic.

Divide the carrot in half. Use your sharpest knife to remove 4 to 5 v-shaped strips along the length of each half. After you remove the strips, thinly slice the carrot. Blanch the flowers in boiling water for about 1 minute and cool them quickly in ice water. Drain and dry.

Seasoned Shiitakes
Dried Shiitake (c) jfhaugenAlthough the rehydrated and thinly sliced mushrooms are traditionally cooked with sugar, I have chosen to leave the sugar out of the recipe.

½ ounce dried organic shiitake mushrooms
2/3 cup soaking liquid from the mushrooms
2 tablespoons mirin
4 teaspoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)

Thin-sliced Rehydrated Shiitake (c) jfhaugenBring 1¼ cups of water to a boil. Put the shiitakes in a small bowl along with the hot water. Soak the shiitakes for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove them from their soaking liquid and cut off the stems as close to the caps as possible. Discard the stems. Thinly slice the caps.

Combine 2/3 cup of the soaking liquid with the mirin and soy (or tamari) and place in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 7-10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Set the mushrooms aside while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

Note: these mushrooms are highly flavored—better for eating with the sushi as they are a bit salty on their own.

Shredded Egg Crêpes (Kinshi Tamago)
Shredded Egg Crepe (c) jfhaugenOnce again I’ve left the sugar out of the recipe.

1 egg
Pinch of salt

In a small bowl, use chopsticks (or a fork) to beat together the egg and salt till well mixed.

Place a non-stick omelet pan or a very lightly oiled regular omelet pan over medium-low heat (so as not to brown the crêpe). Pour in half the egg mixture and move the pan so the egg evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Cook the egg until just set. Use a chopstick to loosen the edge of the crêpe and flip it over to cook the other side. Remove to a cutting board. Repeat the process with the remaining egg mixture.

Stack the egg crêpes on top of each other. Roll them into a tight roll. With a sharp knife, cut the crêpes into thin strips. Use your fingers to loosen and separate the strips.

The Best Sushi Rice
Amazing how much the rice changes from one stage to the next. . .enjoy!

Organic Sushi Rice Ready for Rinsing (c) jfhaugen1 cup short grain sushi rice
3 cups water for soaking
1 1/8 cups water for cooking
Pinch salt
1/3 cup “lite” seasoned rice vinegar

Rinse the rice in a strainer under cold running water until the water runs clear. Place the rice in a bowl and cover with 3 cups of water. Let the rice soak for 30 minutes.

Sushi Rice After Soaking (c) jfhaugenPour the rice into a strainer and rinse again till the water runs clear. Shake the strainer to remove any extra water from the rice. Put the soaked rice in a 2-quart pot along with 1 1/8 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 15 minutes.

Cooked Sushi Rice with Seasoned Vinegar (c) jfhaugenPlace the rice into a non-metal container such as a large ceramic casserole dish. Use a rice paddle or flat wooden spoon to spread the rice out to cool faster. Distribute the rice vinegar evenly over the rice and gently fold it into the rice.

Topping Suggestions
Sliced avocado
Sliced cucumber
Julienne carrot or carrot flowers (blanched for a minute in boiling
water then cooled in ice water)
Snow peas and/or snap peas (blanched for 10 seconds in boiling water then cooled in ice water)
Julienne green beans (blanched for 30 seconds in boiling water then cooled in ice water)
Julienne scallion
Grated daikon
Pickled ginger
Thin strips of toasted nori seaweed
Thinly sliced raw fish (sashimi)
Toasted sesame seeds

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