Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushi

Chirashizushi  –  Scattered SushiChirashizushi – Version 2, February 2015

Over the past month my Chirashi Sushi recipe, published almost three years ago, received lots of attention. However, I reviewed and revised that recipe for last Saturday’s Japanese cooking class. And I now want to share the updated version with you as well. Including the change of name. It’s more accurately called Chirashizushi.

Chirashizushi – Scattered SushiThe name means “scattered sushi.” And the dish is often made for celebrating special occasions such as festivals and birthdays. Coincidentally, chirashizushi is eaten annually today, March 3rd for Hinamatsuri (Doll Day or Girl’s Day).

Seasoned shiitakes
Foundational to Japanese cuisine is the harmonious balance of flavors. That means including all of the basic tastes in each meal.  With this understanding, I’ve now included a small amount of sweetener in both the Thin Egg Omelet and the Seasoned Shiitakes. (Though considerably less than used in Japanese cookbooks.) This small bit of sweetness balances the other flavors, making them all brighter without making the omelet or shiitakes “sweet.”Chirashizushi –  Scattered Sushi

In the original Chirashi Sushi recipe I labeled the seasoned shiitakes as a bit salty. Salty no more. With reduced soy and that smidge of honey, they’ve become my favorite ingredient in chirashizushi. Savory, luscious, glistening and all around delicious.

Sushi rice
Oh my. It used to be wonderful. Now perhaps more so, following these two most important keys to success:
• Thoroughly wash the rice till the water becomes clear.
• For plump, fluffy rice, soak the rice after washing for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours before cooking it.

Thin egg omelet – kinshi tamago
More thorough instructions and pictures for making these very thin egg omelets.

The more formal presentation known as Edomae chirashizushi Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushi(Edo-style) covers the sushi rice with artfully arranged toppings. Gorgeous for individual servings. Though for more than just a few people, rather difficult.

Plus, with all those toppings covering the rice, how will your guests get each of the toppings let alone the rice underneath them?

Scattering the toppings over the rice is the answer. Then wherever someone scoops, a portion of rice and of all the toppings ends up in their bowl. Thus the name, chirashizushi, scattered sushi.

Robin Blanc Mascari
Thank you, Robin, for so many of today’s wonderful pictures. Not just from this past Saturday’s class, but from so many of the past Healthy Cooking classes. I so appreciate your talent and artistic eye. ♥ ♥ ♥

March and April’s Healthy Cooking Classes
Save the dates:

Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, April 26th
More details on the menu in my next post . . . along with more of Robin’s photos.
For more information and to register, send me a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box below or email me:

After much ado, enjoy Chirashizushi, March 2015

Chirashizushi – Scattered SushiChirashizushi – Scattered Sushi

Chirashizushi is enjoyed as much for its presentation as for its flavor, lightness and ease of preparation. It is a popular party-style presentation of sushi rice, usually served family style in a large bowl or platter. Choose a good mixture of colors and textures. The toppings can be scattered on top or arranged in wedges, strips or clusters by color.
Topping suggestions and my plan of action follow the recipe.

Makes 4 servings as an entrée                                                  Printer-Friendly Recipe
Timing depends on the topping you choose

Carrot Flowers
Years ago at a Japanese cooking class in Berkeley’s local KoreanChirashizushi – Scattered Sushi 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. When you can find them, make flowers with rainbow-colored carrots and daikon, too.

  1. Divide the carrot in half horizontally.
  2. Use your sharpest knife to carve out 4 to 5 V-shaped strips along the length of each half. After you remove the strips, thinly slice the carrot.
  3. Blanch the flowers in boiling water until just tender. Cool them quickly in ice water. Drain and dry.

Seasoned Shiitakes
½ ounce dried, whole shiitake mushrooms
2/3 cup soaking liquid from the mushrooms
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
½ teaspoon honey

  1. Bring 1¼ cups of water to a boil. Put the shiitakes in a small bowl along with the hot Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushiwater. Soak the shiitakes for at least 30 minutes or until soft.
  2. Remove them from their soaking liquid and cut off the stems as close to the caps as possible. Discard the stems or use them in dashi (soup stock). Thinly slice the caps.
  3. Combine 2/3 cup of the soaking liquid with the mirin, soy (or tamari) and honey in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Set the mushrooms aside while you prepare the rest of the toppings.

Thin Egg Omelet (Kinshi Tamago)Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushi
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon organic sugar
Pinch of salt

  1. In a small bowl, use chopsticks (or a fork) to thoroughly mix together the egg, sugar and salt without whipping in air.
  2. Optionally strain the eggs to remove any white, rope-like strands.
  3. Place a non-stick omelet pan, or a very lightly oiled regular omelet pan over medium-low heat (so as not to brown the omelet). Pour in about a fourth of the egg mixture. Quickly move the pan so the egg Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushievenly covers the bottom of the pan. Cook the egg until just set. Use a chopstick to loosen the edge of the omelet and flip it over to cook the other side for about 30 seconds. Remove to a cutting board. It’s best not to stack the omelets until they have cooled to room temperature.
  4. Repeat the process with the remaining egg mixture.
  5. When ready to serve, stack the omelets on top of each other. Roll them into a tight roll. With a sharp knife, cut them into thin strips. Use your fingers to loosen and separate the strips.

Sushi Rice
• The key to tender, moist but not sticky rice is to remove all surface starch from the raw rice. This is done by thoroughly washing the rice, draining it and repeating with more cold water until the water is clear.
• The key to plump, fluffy rice comes from soaking the rice for 30 minutes to 3 hours before cooking it.

2 cups short-grain sushi rice
2 ½ cups water
Pinch salt
½ cup “lite” seasoned rice vinegar

  1. Put the rice in a bowl and cover with water. Swirl and swish the rice and squeeze the Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushigrains together. Drain the cloudy water. Repeat until the water until the water is clear.
  2. Transfer the washed rice to a strainer. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.
  3. Place the washed rice in a pot with the water and salt. Let the rice soak for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Bring the water to a boil. After boiling for 30 seconds, cover the pot and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Cook for 10 minutes. After turning up the heat for 30 seconds, remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Without removing the lid, leave the rice to steam for 10 minutes.
  6. Use a wet rice paddle to transfer the cooked rice to a wide and shallow bowl. Spread into a thin layer.Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushi
  7. Sprinkle the seasoned rice vinegar over the rice paddle into the rice. Use a cutting and folding motion to mix the rice. Place a fan in your other hand. Fan the rice while mixing in order to remove moisture and to quickly cool the rice.
  8. Gather the rice together. Cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap until ready to use. Keep the rice at room temperature. For the best texture, do not refrigerate the rice. Use it within an hour of preparation.

My basic plan of action:

  • Pour boiling water over the dried whole shiitakes to reconstitute them. Let them sit for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse and soak the rice. Let it sit in measured water for 30 minutes to 3 hours.
  • Prepare carrot flowers and blanch them.
  • Prepare the thin egg omelets.Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushi
  • Cook the rice.
  • Slice the shiitake caps thinly and cook them.
  • Let the cooked rice sit covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
  • Slice the cucumber, avocado and scallions and any other toppings you will be using.
  • Fold the seasoned vinegar into the rice.
  • Just before serving, place the rice on a platter or in a wide bowl.
  • Scatter the rice with your choice of toppings.
  • Or arrange the prepared toppings in wedges, strips or clusters by color.
  • Serve and enjoy.

More Topping Suggestions

  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sugar snap peas and/or snow peas (blanched in boiling water then cooled in ice water)
  • Julienne green beans (blanched for 30-60 seconds in boiling water then cooled in ice water)
  • Julienne scallion
  • Grated daikon
  • Sushi ginger
  • Thin strips of toasted nori seaweed
  • Thinly sliced raw fish (sashimi)
  • Cooked tofu
  • Toasted sesame seeds

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3 thoughts on “Chirashizushi – Scattered Sushi

  1. Pingback: Chirashi Sushi—Sushi in a Bowl - Everyday Healthy! Everyday Delicious!

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful compliment. It’s a joy being in your class and sharing the beauty of food with photos. I love learning from you, being in the presence of your passion, wisdom and gift of teaching. I am inspired in every class and love sharing the fabulous recipes with friends and family. Your classes are such a gift – so many tips and treasures in every session.

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