Active time:20 minutes
Total time:55 minutes
But there’s another way to make sushi at home—no fancy knife skills required. Chirashi sushi tonight. Literally translated as “scattered sushi,” it’s a homemade preparation that’s a lot more casual than what you’ll find at most sushi restaurants.
“When I teach a sushi class, I never teach nigiri sushi or anything that you would have at a sushi bar because that’s reserved for sushi chefs,” says Sonoko Sakai, a cooking instructor, author, and grain activist who almost weekly chirashi prepared. “For chirashi sushi, you can use whatever you have. The possibilities of a chirashi are really endless, because it doesn’t always have to be about seafood. It can all be vegan or vegetarian if you like.”
To make sushi rice, it is prepared, seasoned, and then topped with chunks of fresh, cooked, pickled, canned, smoked, dried, fried, or otherwise cooked vegetables, fruit, and/or protein. Raw fish and shellfish are popular options. Eggs, gently fried into thin sheets and sliced into strips, are a traditional accompaniment. Nori, furikaki, sesame seeds, fresh ginger, and tender shiso leaves are common condiments. But there are many ways to play.
It’s not strictly required, but the one overarching concept to keep in mind when preparing chirashi sushi is gogyosetsu, or the Japanese system of grouping things into fives. It’s a way of thinking about using all the senses (in cooking and eating), all flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami) and the five primary colors – white, yellow, red, green (or blue). , and black (or brown or purple) – how to compose a dish. A variety of flavors and all five color groups feature in this spring/summer chirashi sushi recipe—but consider it a template. Once you understand the elements, you can swap out the ingredients based on what you have and what you’re craving.
As with sushi — and all Japanese dishes — seasonality plays a role. In her cookbook, Japanese Home Cooking, Sakai provides a recipe for fall chirashi sushi with pomegranate seeds. “They’re not a traditional ingredient in sushi, but they work!” she writes. The blush fruit adds a hint of red alongside carrots and is a nod to her longtime home in Los Angeles, where pomegranate trees thrive.
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Sakai says that in spring she could top her sushi rice with shelled and blanched green peas, sliced mangetout, or even steamed or blanched asparagus. Neither pomegranate seeds nor asparagus are traditional ingredients, but Sakai says, “We’ve always adapted our cuisine to where we live, using local ingredients in a Japanese way.”
In this recipe, all of the toppings can be prepared ahead of time, especially if you opt for smoked salmon instead of fresh salmon. The only thing you need to prepare the day you want to serve the chirashi is the rice.
To make proper sushi rice, you need to buy Japanese sushi rice. Measure out the amount you want to cook, then rinse and soak in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes — or up to overnight. “This starts the cooking process, the rice starts soaking some of the water in this step,” Sakai explains. “Soaking ensures your rice cooks evenly and is firm but tender.”
She likes to add a small piece of kombu to her rice during cooking, and sometimes flavors the cooked rice with fresh ginger, a dash of sake, toasted sesame seeds, or chopped herbs. “You can treat it like a pilaf for chirashi,” she says. “But whatever you do, let it soak and cook it slowly so you don’t end up with mushy rice!”
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- Traditional sushi rice has hints of sugar >> but even Sakai says she sometimes skips it.
- The egg bands add protein and a yellow stain. >> If you don’t eat eggs, leave them out. (Need another idea for yellow? Try yellow cherry tomatoes or yellow peppers.)
- Salmon, smoked or not, and its roe give this chirashi the red. >> Feel free to use any other fish, e.g. B. Tuna. You can use any other protein instead.
- Instead of cucumbers >> consider sliced peas, steamed asparagus, pickled green beans, or fresh herbs.
NOTE: If you have hard water, Sakai recommends using filtered water to cook the rice for best results.
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- 1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) sushi or other short grain rice
- 1 1/4 cups cold water plus more for rinsing (see NOTE)
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt, plus more if desired
- 1 large egg
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
- Small pinch of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 4 ounces smoked salmon or sushi-grade salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 Persian cucumber, sliced or 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1 small carrot (1 ounce), cut into thin matchsticks
- 4 ounces salmon roe (optional)
- 2 (2-inch) sheets of nori, trimmed or thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger or sliced sushi (pickled) ginger (optional)
- 1 teaspoon prepared wasabi or more to taste (optional)
- Soy sauce for serving
Place the rice in a small 1 or 2 liter saucepan. Add cool water to cover, gently swirl the rice around with your fingers for 20 seconds, then dump out all the starchy water, being careful not to let the rice grains fall down the drain. Repeat this process. After draining the cloudy water a second time, add 1 1/4 cups of cold water to the rice and allow to soak for 15 minutes or up to overnight.
Place the pot on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and bring to a rapid simmer for 4 minutes, being careful not to overcook, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. At this point, the rice is cooked but firm and still fairly moist. Remove from heat and keep tightly covered for 10 minutes. Cover the grains and use a rice spoon or wide spoon to gently fluff the grains. Keep the rice tightly covered while you prepare the toppings.
Make the egg ribbons: In a small bowl, beat the egg with the salt and sugar until homogeneous.
Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Lightly grease the bottom of the pan with the oil. Pour in the egg and tilt the pan so the egg spreads in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently cook egg until surface is mostly dry with a few moist spots, 3 to 4 minutes. (The egg should not brown.) Turn off the heat and allow the egg to cool slightly. Place on a cutting board, roll the egg up into a log, then cut across to form 1/2 inch wide ribbons.
Fluff the rice again with a rice paddle or rubber spatula and stir in the rice vinegar, sugar if using, and salt. Taste the rice and adjust the seasonings as desired.
To serve, divide the rice into two bowls. Neatly top each with egg strips, salmon, cucumber or avocado slices, carrots and, if using, salmon roe, nori strips, ginger and a dollop of wasabi. Serve at the table with soy sauce.
Per serving (with raw salmon and cucumber), based on 4
Calories: 256; total fat: 4 g; Saturated fat: 1 g; cholesterol: 62 mg; Sodium: 299 mg; carbohydrates: 45 g; fiber: 1 g; sugar: 2 g; Egg White: 10g
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a nutritionist or nutritionist.
By staff writer G. Daniela Galarza. Sushi rice recipe adapted from “Japanese Home Cooking” by Sonoko Sakai (Roost Books, 2019).
Tested by G. Daniela Galarza and Kara Elder; email questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
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