Sonoko Sakai makes Summer Chirashi Zushi, as seen on her course, Intro to Japanese Cooking on Food Network Kitchen.
Recipe courtesy of Sonoko Sakai

Summer Chirashi Zushi

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 4 to 5 servings
You may have ordered a chirashi bowl in your favorite sushi restaurant. This recipe shares some qualities with that dish and is a wonderful way to add the flavors of sushi to your home cooking repertoire. Chirashi means “scattered” in Japanese and refers to the sprinkled and tossed way this dish is plated and served. I’ve been eating chirashi zushi since I was in a highchair, but this version I’ve tailored to highlight summer produce. Chirashi zushi can contain a whole plethora of different ingredients, anything from pomegranate seeds to slices of raw sashimi-grade fish. The goal is to find a beautiful, appetizing balance of colors, textures and flavors.





Special equipment:
a rice cooker or heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot, a rice paddle or wooden spoon, a handai (wooden sushi rice container) or a large bowl
  1. For the rice: Place the dry rice in a medium bowl and fill the bowl about halfway with cool water. Stir gently with your hand for about 30 seconds, then drain the water completely. Repeat, filling the bowl halfway up again with cool water, gently stirring the rice with your hand for about 30 seconds. Drain again.
  2. Combine the measured filtered water and rinsed rice in the bowl of your rice cooker or in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid. Let the rice soak in the water at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. You will not change out the water before cooking, this pre-measured water is what the rice will soak in and then cook in.  
  3. After soaking, keep the rice in its soaking water. If using a rice cooker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking medium-grain white rice. If cooking on the stovetop, put the pot on the stovetop, uncovered, and bring to a boil over medium heat. This will take about 7 minutes.  
  4. Cover the pot, lower the heat to the lowest possible setting, and cook without lifting the lid (don’t peek) for 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the heat and, without opening the lid, let the rice rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  
  5. Remove the lid, wet a rice paddle or wooden spoon and gently fluff the rice. Replace the lid and allow the rice to rest for another 5 minutes. 
  6. For the chirashi: Prepare the green beans and broccolini by bringing a small saucepan of water to a boil over medium heat. Slice off the broccolini tops, creating small florets, and set aside. Add the green beans, broccolini stalks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the water with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Cut the green beans on the diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices. Cut the broccolini stalks into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. 
  7. Thinly slice the cucumbers on a mandoline or with a knife into rounds about 1/8 inch thick. 
  8. Bring the water back to a boil and add the broccolini florets. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from the water and cool. Set aside. 
  9. Heat a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Make egg ribbons by whisking together the eggs and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Strain the eggs through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Spread the oil evenly over the pan with a paper towel and increase the heat to medium. Add a quarter of the beaten egg mixture and spread it over the pan to make a thin crêpe. Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid, turn off the heat and cook for about 10 seconds. The residual heat and the lid will work together to cook the egg. After 10 seconds, remove the lid and you should find a perfectly set egg. 
  10. Transfer the crêpe to a cutting board to cool. Repeat with more oil as needed and the eggs to make 4 crêpes. When cooled, cut each in half and stack them. Slice the stack into ribbons about 1/8-inch-by-2-inches. Set aside. If using nori, slice it into strips that are 2 inches long and thinner than the egg ribbons; store in an airtight container at room temperature to keep them crispy.  
  11. Make the dressing for the rice by whisking together the vinegar, sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the freshly cooked hot rice into a large bowl or handai (wooden sushi rice container; if using a handai, be sure to wet it first and give it a light wipe with a clean kitchen towel to prevent the rice grains from sticking to it). Add the vinegar dressing. Toss to combine, moving the rice paddle diagonally to avoid mashing the grains. Add the ginger, finely chopped shiso leaves and sesame seeds to the rice. Mix gently. Transfer the rice to a large platter or leave it in the handai. 
  12. Garnish the rice with the egg ribbons, green bean slices, cucumbers and broccolini florets and stems. Place the whole green shiso leaves on top. Divide the ikura between the shiso leaves. Sprinkle with the nori strips if using and sesame seeds. Serve immediately (see Cook’s Note). 

Cook’s Note

To make the ginger easier to mince, peel the ginger, then place in a small bowl and cover with water to soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and mince. If you make the components for the dish ahead, be sure to eat the finished dish within a day as the sushi rice will harden quickly.