FNK_Chirashizushi_H
Recipe courtesy of Kathleen Brennan

Chirashizushi

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Chirashizushi, or chirashi sushi, is essentially free-form sushi served in a bowl or shallow vessel. The ingredients cover a bed of seasoned rice and are either neatly grouped together, which is typ-ical at restaurants, or cut into smaller pieces and “scattered” (the meaning of chirashi), giving you a variety of flavors, textures and colors in each bite. This is a common way to eat raw fish at home since it requires a lot less skill and time to make than conventional sushi. But another big part of the appeal for home cooks is that you can top it with pretty much whatever you like or have on hand, including only cooked toppings, such as grilled eel, shrimp, sliced shiitake sim-mered in a dashi-soy mixture, kinshi tamago (shredded egg crepe) or sliced tamagoyaki (rolled omelet), edamame or steamed sliced snow peas. You can also mix raw and cooked ingredients. There are really no rules, although you should aim for a balanced, visually pleasing arrangement.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Sushi Rice:

Toppings:

Serving:

Directions

Special equipment:
an electric fan, piece of cardboard or magazine
  1. For the sushi rice: Rinse the rice under cold water until the water is completely clear. Place the rice and 3 cups water in a large saucepan and let it soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Bring the water and rice to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, covered, until tender, about 20 minutes. Keep covered and remove from the heat; let sit for 10 minutes. (This process will yield about 6 cups cooked rice.)
  3. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl until the sugar and salt dissolve. Place the rice in a large bowl and evenly sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the top. While fanning the rice (see Cook’s Note), use a rice paddle or wooden spoon to quickly cut in and then gently fold the ingredients together until thoroughly combined and no more steam comes off the rice, about 10 minutes. Cover the rice with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out and set aside until just above room temperature, about 10 minutes more.
  4. For the toppings: When the rice is ready, divide it among 4 bowls or shallow vessels. (Alterna-tively, you can assemble the chirashi on 1 large platter.) Top with the fish, roe, cucumber, radish sprouts and seaweed, either in groups or scattered, leaving a small space for the shiso (if using), ginger and wasabi.
  5. For serving: Tuck a lemon slice if using along the side of each bowl. Lay a shiso leaf if using on the rice. Place some ginger and a dab of wasabi on each leaf. Serve with soy sauce in 4 very small dishes. You can mix the wasabi into the soy sauce and dip the sliced fish into it as you eat. You can also drizzle the soy-wasabi mixture over the chirashi, although that can make the rice wet and difficult to scoop up.

Cook’s Note

This recipe yields moderately seasoned sushi rice. If you prefer more highly seasoned rice, use more vinegar, sugar and salt, scaling up each ingredient proportionately. Fanning the rice prevents it from getting mushy and helps it develop a nice sheen. If you don’t have an electric fan, you can manually fan it with a piece of cardboard or a magazine.

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