Serves 8 to 10 | Prep time 1 hour | Inactive time 6 hours | Cook time 1 hour
The word “sushi” makes many people think of sushi rolls and nigiri. But there are more sushi varieties that are commonly made at home in Japan. Chirashi Sushi – scattered sushi — is a popular dish often enjoyed on celebratory occasions. Hinamatsuri (Doll’s
Festival or Girls’ Day, on March 3) is probably the most popular holiday that includes chirashizushi. On this day, families with young daughters display dolls on a hinadan (a platform covered with red carpet) inside the house and eat chirashizushi along with
traditional sweets. In my family, however, we displayed an edible hinadan made of sponge cake and topped with meringue dolls (and of course we ate it on the same day!). So chirashizushi and its colorful presentation always brings me memories of Hinamatsuri and a sense of spring. Typically, chirashizushi is sushi rice mixed with shiitake mushrooms and kanpyo (dried strips of gourd), topped with kinshi tamago (shredded egg crepe), cooked shrimp, lotus root and greens. I’ve simplified the traditional recipe by omitting some ingredients.
- 3 Japanese rice-making cups (or 2¼ U.S. cups) short grain rice
- ½ cup sushi vinegar (sushi seasoning)
Sushi rice filling
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 5 oz. precooked bamboo shoots, thinly sliced into ½-inch squares (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. mirin
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. toasted white sesame seeds
- 2-3 oz. lotus root, peeled
- 3 x 3” kombu (dried kelp)
- 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 4 large eggs, well-beaten
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1-2 Tbsp. neutral-flavored oil, such as canola
- 4 large prawns, deveined (optional)
- 2-3 Tbsp. ikura (salmon roe) usually available in jars at the fish counter (optional)
- ½ cup frozen peas or fresh English peas, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute with ½ tsp. salt
- 1 full sheet roasted nori (dried seaweed), crushed into small pieces
Prepare sushi rice filling
- Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 2-3 cups of water at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight
- Remove shiitake from soaking water, saving the water. Squeeze shiitake well to remove excess liquid and cut off stems
- Place shiitake, sliced bamboo shoots, and 1.5 cup of the saved soaking water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat
- Reduce heat to a simmer, add sugar and mirin, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add soy sauce and cook another 5 minutes, then turn off heat
- Cool mixture in pan to room temperature
- Strain shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots and squeeze well to get rid of as much liquid as possible. Discard the soaking liquid. Slice two shiitake thinly for topping. Mince the remaining four shiitake for filling and set aside
- Store in fridge until ready to use.
Cook lotus root for topping
- In a small saucepan, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil and blanch peeled lotus root for about a minute
- Drain and cool the lotus root, then slice it into thin rounds
- In the same pan, place lotus root, ¾ cup water, kombu, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat
- Allow to cool, then transfer lotus root and liquid to a glass container and store in fridge until ready to use.
Make kinshi tamago (shredded egg crepe)
- Add salt to beaten egg and mix well
- Heat a 9-inch nonstick or well-seasoned pan over medium heat. Add ½ Tbsp. oil and blot off excess oil with paper towel. To test the readiness of the pan, drop a small amount of egg batter from a chopstick into it. If it sizzles, the pan is too hot and the heat should be reduced to prevent egg from browning. The egg should easily come out of the pan without sticking; if not, add a bit more oil
- Pour ¼ of the batter into the pan and quickly swirl it around by tilting the pan in all directions so that the egg covers the entire bottom. In about 10-15 seconds, or once the edge starts lifting away from the pan, pick up the edge of the crepe with both hands and quickly flip it over. Cook another 5-10 seconds, then slide the crepe out of the pan onto a cutting board
- Repeat the steps until the egg batter is used up. Stack cooked crepes on the cutting board. Roll crepes together and slice them thinly from one end of the roll. Store in a covered container in fridge until ready to use.
Cook prawns for topping
- Boil prawns with shells on for a few minutes until fully cooked. Check the color of the prawns for doneness. The flesh should be white, not translucent. Strain and cool to room temperature
- Peel the shells and cut each prawn in half lengthwise
Toss the prawns with 1 tablespoon sushi zu and set aside.
Cook sushi rice and mix with filling
- Cook short-grain rice following your rice cooker’s instruction (Using a Dutch oven: Put rice and 1¾ cup water in Dutch oven. Bring to
a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the lid on for another 15-20 minutes)
- While rice is still steaming hot, transfer
it to a large bowl, preferably wood. Pour ¼ cup sushi vinegar over the rice and mix well with a spatula. Then add another ¼ cup sushi vinegar and mix well. Using a fan, blow the
steam off of the rice for about one minute. This step allows excess moisture to escape and makes the surface of the rice shine
- Mix minced shiitake and bamboo shoots into the
rice. Add sesame seeds and toss well. Transfer the mixed sushi rice into a large serving bowl or plate.
On top of the mixed sushi rice, scatter nori flakes, then kinshi tamago to cover the rice. Scatter sliced shiitake mushrooms, sliced prawns, lotus root slices, peas
and ikura if using.
About Sushi Vinegar Sushi vinegar keeps indefinitely; store unused portion in a glass jar at room temperature. You can purchase sushi vinegar in bottles at Asian grocery stores, where it is sometimes labeled “Sushi Seasoning.” You can also make homemade seasoning by using rice vinegar.
Make sushi vinegar
1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup and 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar, ½ cup sugar, and 2 Tbsp. salt over medium-high heat.
2. Cook until sugar and salt are completely dissolved, 2-3 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, cool, and transfer to a glass jar.
Recipe by Kanako Koizumi | www. kozmokitchen.com
Kanako, a native of Akita, Japan, is a chef, author and instructor focused on authentic Japanese homecooking. Chef Kanako also offers in-home private cooking classes for groups up to 12. You can reach her at email@example.com.