The Answer to Expensive Sushi Bar Bills, Chirashi Sushi
Do you love sushi but have to take a long sip of sake before looking at the bill? Well, chirashi sushi offers the perfect solution for the budget conscious.
Traditional Chirashi Sushi
Chirashi Sushi refers to a sprinkling of rainbow ingredients including sashimi style fish and veggies atop a bed of rice flavored with vinegar. A shredded egg crêpe called kinshi tamago is typically also used as a garnish. Every household has their own particular take and tradition on this dish. According to one Japanese colleague, kamaboko (pressed pollock fish) is most often used in the US by second generation Japanese.
Chirashi is family-style friendly, perfect for parties, and romantic dates. The ingredients can also be altered to celebrate the company of one! And with the exception of daikon radish sprouts, the ingredients can be found in most markets.
Here’s the how-to:
Make sushi rice. Click here for the recipe.
Next, fry up kinshi tamago.
- In a bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 1 tablespoon (sweet rice cooking wine) mirin (sake rice wine works fine, too), 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt.
- Heat a small pan coated with about a ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Just like an omelet, nudge the edges of the egg mixture with a spatula and rotate the pan so that all liquidy parts get fried.
- Slip onto a paper towel to drain off any excess grease.
- With a sharp knife cut into razor-thin strips.
Fun Fact: The art of making tasty kinshi tamago and slicing super-thin strips of the egg crêpe is the pride of many Japanese chefs and homemakers.
Chirashi Sushi: Family-Style Friendly Food
(Perfect for potluck parties, too!)
Atop the rice, assemble sliced:
- Maguro tuna
- Yellowtail hamachi
Sea bream tai
(As you are probably aware, most fishmongers are happy to slice up fish for you.)
- Kamaboko pressed pollock
- Japanese cucumbers
- Kinshi tamago (shredded egg crêpe)
Other traditional garnishes include salmon fish roe ikura or flying fish roe tobiko, kaiware daikon radish sprouts, cooked baby lima beans and kinshi tamago.
Of course, some cooks can’t help but be a bit creative. Case in point, jewelry maker, hair stylist, and cook extraordinaire, Masako Shimamoto. For a special family gathering, she invented a California Chirashi. In addition to the traditional preparation of chirashi, Masako-san sprinkled in cut-up avocados – which of course works well with maguro tuna, salmon, cucumber and shredded egg.
Masako Shimamoto's California Chirashi
Inspired by Masako-san’s invention, on a whim, I created The Ninja Baker’s American Southern-Style Chirashi.
The Ninja Baker's American Southern-Style Chirashi
After cooking up a box of Jambalaya rice, I garnished the grains with a ring of cooked collard greens. Next I added the Holy Trinity of Southern cooking: Green peppers, celery and scallions. (Yes, yellow onions are traditionally used in Southern cooking but I took the liberty of using scallions for my Asian fusion cuisine.) I also added cooked, deveined shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes.
Fun Fact: My husband is not a huge rice fan. But he ate the whole serving of the Southern-Style Chirashi I set in front of him!
Wishing you divinely delicious dishes that don’t affect your bottom-line.
The Ninja Baker
© ™ Watkinson 2012
The Ninja Baker's recipes are also available at: