Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi Sushi

For those of you that have never had it, chirashi sushi i a bowl of vinegared sushi rice topped with a bunch of colorful stuff. At most sushi restaurants this means covering the rice with slices of various raw fish, but that’s not always how it’s made.

Growing up my mom used to make a vegetarian version with simmered shitake mushrooms, carrots, egg, sugar peas and benishoga (red ginger) for any potluck or party we’d go to. It makes for a great party dish because it’s something you eat at room temperature and the ticker-tape-confetti of toppings makes it look very festive.

Mixing the rice with the vinegar while cooling it off

My rendition is a bit more extravagant, capturing the essence of the sea. The ingredients aren’t cheap, but it’s still cheaper than going to a local sushi restaurant and it isn’t nearly as hard to prepare as it looks. I made this in about an hour, but if you make some of the stuff ahead of time it can be assembled in even less time.

If you’re squeamish about uni (or any of the other ingredients) you could obviously sub them out, but steamed uni is not nearly as off-putting as the raw kind they have at sushi restaurants. Cooking it gives it more structure making it more cheese like in texture (though not flavour) while retaining its sweet creaminess.

for shitake
4 dried shitake mushrooms rehydrated, cleaned and sliced (with 2 Tbs of soaking liquid reserved)
1 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs soy sauce

for uni
1 flat of uni
mirin
couple pinches of salt

for tamago
2 eggs
1/4 tsp dashi powder
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp mirin
1 tsp usukuchi shoyu (light color soy sauce)

for sushi rice
2 rice cooker cups of rice cooked with a little less water than you would normally use
1/4 C rice vinegar
1/4 C sugar
3 tsp salt

other toppings
toasted sesame seeds
6 shiso leaves sliced into a thin chiffonade
tobiko (flying fish roe)
ikura (salmon roe)
crab (optional)

making the shitake
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan (including the 2 Tbs of reserved soaking liquid). If you’re using fresh shitake mushrooms, just replace the soaking liquid with water. Boil until the mushrooms have absorbed most of the liquid and are a nice brown color about 5-10 minutes. Cool then squeeze out the excess liquid. You can make this up to a couple days in advance

making the uni
Add some water to a pot and insert a steamer rack, cover and boil. Lay the uni in a shallow bowl that will fit in your steamer then cover with mirin and a few pinches of salt. Once the steamer is hot, put the bowl in the steamer, cover and return to a boil for 1 minute. Turn off the heat (without opening the lid) and allow it to continue steaming for 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the steamer, cover and allow to cool. You can make this up to a day in advance

making the tamago
Beat all the ingredients for the tamago together until well combined. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat then use a paper towel to apply a thin layer of oil. Add the egg and using chopsticks, scramble. When the egg has mostly solidified, start scrambling vigorously to break up the curds. You want to cook this a little longer than you normally would for soft scrambled eggs, but you don’t want them to be tough or chewy. Transfer to a bowl, cover and allow to cool. You can make these up to a day in advance.

for the rice
Cook the rice in a rice cooker using a little less water than you normally would. You don’t want the rice to be tough, but it should be on the firm side as you will be adding more liquid to it after it is cooked.

While the rice is cooking put the vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl and microwave for a minute and stir. If the sugar and salt isn’t completely dissolved keep microwaving until it is.

For the next step you may want to get a helper. You’re going to be mixing the vinegar solution with the rice while fanning it to cool it off quickly. Unless you have an electric fan handy, I’d suggest having one person fan while the other one stirs.

When the rice is done, dump it into a large flat bottomed bowl and spread it out. The serving platter I used was a bad choice, so if you don’t have the traditional wooden sushi oke, trying using a large roasting pan or glass pyrex. The idea is that you want to maximize the surface area of rice so it cools quickly.

Pour most of the vinegar mixture over the rice (you don’t want to pour so much on that the rice gets mushy, but it should be wet and glistening). Start fanning and use a large flat spatula or rice spoon to gently stir the rice using circular spreading motions. You don’t want to mash, cut, or otherwise break apart the grains of rice, but you also want to make sure the vinegar is evenly distributed while preventing the rice from sticking together too much. Keep stirring and fanning until the rice is at room temperature, the grains of rice should be intact and each grain should glisten. If you’re confused, here’s a video that might help.

Sushi rice with sesame seeds, shitake and shiso

with tamago and uni

Chirashi with ikura, shiso, tamago, uni, and shitake

Once the rice is ready, put it in a serving platter and top with sesame seeds. Scatter a few tablespoons of tobiko, then sprinkle on the shitake mushrooms and some of the shiso. Crumble the tamago and uni on top. Finish with a few tablespoons of ikura and crab (optional) then top with the remaining shiso.

You’ll want to serve this as soon as possible. If you have leftovers, put them in the fridge and when you want to eat it, let it come to room temperature before eating. You won’t want to eat it cold as the rice will be hard and you certainly don’t want to heat it in a microwave.

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    Come to mommy is what I’m thinking! Looks delicious!

  • http://www.noblepig.com/ noble pig

    Come to mommy is what I’m thinking! Looks delicious!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    I had to google “uni” lol. I learn so much from this blog! When I first started flatting and had no money, one of my regular dinners was just a bowl of sushi rice with soy sauce…this look sooo much nicer :) Having said that I’m not sure of my stance on fish roe, I’ve only had caviar the once and it wasn’t quite love at first bite.

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    I had to google “uni” lol. I learn so much from this blog! When I first started flatting and had no money, one of my regular dinners was just a bowl of sushi rice with soy sauce…this look sooo much nicer :) Having said that I’m not sure of my stance on fish roe, I’ve only had caviar the once and it wasn’t quite love at first bite.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Oh, that’s what Chirashi sushi is! All this time I thought Chirashi was a fish! Heh heh. Great job, Marc!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com manggy

    Oh, that’s what Chirashi sushi is! All this time I thought Chirashi was a fish! Heh heh. Great job, Marc!

  • http://www.justgetfloury.blogspot.com/ Ginny

    I think it looks amazing! hadn’t a cool but would love to try it! :)

  • http://www.justgetfloury.blogspot.com/ Ginny

    I think it looks amazing! hadn’t a cool but would love to try it! :)

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com/ maybelles mom (feeding maybell

    Oh, lovely.

  • http://feedingmaybelle.blogspot.com maybelles mom (feeding maybelle)

    Oh, lovely.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ We Are Never Full

    So awesome and lovely! I’m with noble pig – come to mama!

    btw, i started laughing thinking about my mother even attempting to do anything like this for a pot-luck or as an app at someone’s house. Wispride and triscuits were as good as it gets w/ her!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com We Are Never Full

    So awesome and lovely! I’m with noble pig – come to mama!

    btw, i started laughing thinking about my mother even attempting to do anything like this for a pot-luck or as an app at someone’s house. Wispride and triscuits were as good as it gets w/ her!

  • http://www.illeatyoudelish.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    i get something like this at a local sushi place but it’s nowhere near as colorful and yummy looking as yours. glad to see it made in the home kitchen, gives me courage to try it myself.

  • http://www.illeatyoudelish.blogspot.com Lauren

    i get something like this at a local sushi place but it’s nowhere near as colorful and yummy looking as yours. glad to see it made in the home kitchen, gives me courage to try it myself.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    I would almost always rather buy expensive than eat in expensive restaurants, so you definitely have my attention. I might need to stop by Anzen for some of these ingredients – I’m sticking to a pescetarian diet this week to purge the pork from my system. :P

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    I would almost always rather buy expensive than eat in expensive restaurants, so you definitely have my attention. I might need to stop by Anzen for some of these ingredients – I’m sticking to a pescetarian diet this week to purge the pork from my system. :P

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    Ingredients. I’d rather buy expensive ingredients. Typing is hard.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    Ingredients. I’d rather buy expensive ingredients. Typing is hard.

  • http://www.sugabar.org/ diva

    my mum only cooks Japanese these days and we recently had a hokkaido fair in town. bought loads of fancy stuff which i’m very excited to use some time soon.
    this looks lovely and so delish, colourful too!

    would it be alright to throw in loads of ume as well?? i really like the colour it gives. x

  • http://www.sugabar.org diva

    my mum only cooks Japanese these days and we recently had a hokkaido fair in town. bought loads of fancy stuff which i’m very excited to use some time soon.
    this looks lovely and so delish, colourful too!

    would it be alright to throw in loads of ume as well?? i really like the colour it gives. x

  • http://eatingclubvancouver.blogspot.com/ [eatingclub vancouver] js

    What a gorgeous bowl of rice. It’s comforting to the tummy but immensely soothing to the soul as well. So beautiful.

  • http://eatingclubvancouver.blogspot.com [eatingclub vancouver] js

    What a gorgeous bowl of rice. It’s comforting to the tummy but immensely soothing to the soul as well. So beautiful.

  • http://www.soyandpepper.com/ Nilmandra

    Beautiful, and just perfect for summer. I envy your roe topping, can’t get any here!

  • http://www.soyandpepper.com/ Nilmandra

    Beautiful, and just perfect for summer. I envy your roe topping, can’t get any here!

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  • Marc

    Noble Pig, if I ever throw a foodblogger potluck out west, I’ll bring this:-)

    Laura, caviar is definitely one of the those love/hate things, but you’ve only had it once, you may want to give it another go. Each type of fish has very different roe (some are soft, some are crunchy, some are more pungent than others).

    Manggy, lol that’s funny, I’ve made that mistake once with Adobo which is very different between Mexican food and Philippino food.

    Thanks Ginny, and maybelles mom:-)

    We Are Never Full, I had to google, wispride. My mom wasn’t big on instant foods. So when I had my fist twinkie in highschool and my first frozen dinner when I left the house. So I binged on any and every instant food product I could find eschewing restaurant dining for Marie Calendars Chunky Chicken and Noodles, or Kraft Mac N Cheese.

    Lauren, aside from a bit of prepwork it’s actually pretty simple:-)

    Heather, I’ve been eating fish all week, so I’m switching into carnatarian mode. Send me some pig:-)

    Diva, sounds like fun! Little bits of ume might be nice, but if you throw in too much it might overpower the subtleness of the seafood.

    Thanks eating club vancouver!

    Nilmandra, sorry to hear you can’t get roe there. Are you near London?

  • Marc

    Noble Pig, if I ever throw a foodblogger potluck out west, I’ll bring this:-)

    Laura, caviar is definitely one of the those love/hate things, but you’ve only had it once, you may want to give it another go. Each type of fish has very different roe (some are soft, some are crunchy, some are more pungent than others).

    Manggy, lol that’s funny, I’ve made that mistake once with Adobo which is very different between Mexican food and Philippino food.

    Thanks Ginny, and maybelles mom:-)

    We Are Never Full, I had to google, wispride. My mom wasn’t big on instant foods. So when I had my fist twinkie in highschool and my first frozen dinner when I left the house. So I binged on any and every instant food product I could find eschewing restaurant dining for Marie Calendars Chunky Chicken and Noodles, or Kraft Mac N Cheese.

    Lauren, aside from a bit of prepwork it’s actually pretty simple:-)

    Heather, I’ve been eating fish all week, so I’m switching into carnatarian mode. Send me some pig:-)

    Diva, sounds like fun! Little bits of ume might be nice, but if you throw in too much it might overpower the subtleness of the seafood.

    Thanks eating club vancouver!

    Nilmandra, sorry to hear you can’t get roe there. Are you near London?

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ syrie

    Looks beautiful. I also love the sound of your mum’s vegetarian version.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ syrie

    Looks beautiful. I also love the sound of your mum’s vegetarian version.

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  • matstomato

    Hello to a fellow Matsumoto!
    This looks delicious and reminds me of something I had as a child that I have had difficulties replicating or finding online… My grandparents used to make a giant bowl of sushi rice with pickled ginger, sliced cooked eggs, thinly sliced mushrooms, and a bunch of other stuff mixed in (I can’t remember everything, haven’t had it for many years). Everything that was mixed in was in very small pieces, and there may have been some bonito flakes sprinkled on top. They called it sushi, but it looked different than the chirashi sushi. It was so good! Do you know what dish I’m talking about? I’d appreciate any information you have!Thanks.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Kim, I’m pretty sure what your grandparents made was a vegetarian version of chirashi sushi. My mom makes one with finely chopped up carrots, age (fried tofu), shiitake, gobo, and renkon(lotus toot) simmered in sake, soy sauce, sugar and dashi, then mixes it with vinegared sushi rice. Then it’s topped with thinly sliced egg, thinly sliced boiled sugar peas, and pickled red ginger. I’ll probably post a full recipe for it at some point so stay tuned.

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!