How to make chirashi sushi at home with egg ribbons, salmon and spring vegetables

How to make chirashi sushi at home with egg ribbons, salmon and spring vegetables

Chirashi Sushi

Active time:20 minutes

Total time:55 minutes


Active time:20 minutes

Total time:55 minutes


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One of the things I’ve missed most in recent years of limited social engagement and near-constant uncertainty is the calm elegance of omakase. I miss sitting in a sleek restaurant bar, a sushi chef on the other side confidently passing pre-composed appetizers across the invisible line separating the dining room from the kitchen. It has an intimacy, an unspoken confidence and palpable respect for the ingredients, for the chef’s skill and the diner’s palate. You can certainly make sushi in your own kitchen, but it is impossible in my opinion to recreate the omakase experience at home. (Unless you’re a sushi chef or live together….Then please invite me over for dinner!)

But there is another way to prepare sushi at home – no fancy knife skills required. Tonight we eat chirashi sushi. Literally translated as “scattered sushi”, it is a homemade preparation that is much more casual than what you find in most sushi restaurants.

“When I teach a sushi class, I never teach nigiri sushi or anything else that you would have in a sushi bar, because that’s the preserve of sushi chefs,” says Sonoko Sakai, a cooking instructor, author, and grain activist who makes chirashi almost weekly. “For chirashi sushi, you can use whatever you have. Really, the possibilities of a chirashi are endless, because it doesn’t have to be about the seafood. It can be all vegan or vegetarian if you want.”

To make it, sushi rice is prepared, seasoned, and then topped with some fresh, cooked, pickled, preserved, smoked, dried, seared, or otherwise cooked vegetables, fruits, and/or egg whites. Raw fish and shellfish are popular options. Eggs, gently fried in thin sheets and cut into ribbons, are a traditional addition. Nor me, furikakisesame seeds, fresh ginger and tender shiso leaves are common seasonings. But there are many ways to play.

It’s not absolutely necessary, 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 to think about using all your senses (while cooking and eating), all tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami), and the five basic colors – white, yellow, red, green (or blue). ), and black (or brown or purple) – while you’re putting together a dish. A variety of flavors and all five color groups make an appearance in this spring-in-summer chirashi sushi recipe — but think of it as a template. Once you understand the elements, you can trade ingredients based on what you have and what you feel like.

As with sushi – and all Japanese dishes – seasonality is a factor. In her cookbook “Japanese Home CookingSakai includes a recipe for fall chirashi sushi with pomegranate seeds. “They are not a traditional ingredient in sushi, but they work!” she writes. The rouge fruit, together with carrots, provides a hint of red and is a nod to her old home in Los Angeles, where pomegranate trees thrive.

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In the spring, Sakai says she can top her sushi rice with peeled and blanched green peas, sliced ​​snow peas, 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, especially if you opt for smoked salmon instead of fresh, all toppings can be prepared ahead of time. The only thing you need to make on the day you want to serve the chirashi is the rice.

To make good sushi rice, you need to buy Japanese sushi rice. Measure out the amount you want to make, 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 in some of the water in this step,” explains Sakai. “Soaking ensures that your rice cooks evenly and is firm but tender.”

She likes to add a small piece of kombu to her rice as it cooks, and sometimes she seasons 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, soak it and cook it slowly so you don’t end up with mushy rice!”

How to make red rice, a lowcountry classic with deep roots

  • Traditional sushi rice has a hint of sugar >> but even Sakai says she sometimes skips it.
  • The egg ribbons add egg white and a yellow spot. >> If you don’t eat eggs, skip them. (Need another idea for yellow? Try yellow cherry tomatoes or yellow bell pepper.)
  • Salmon, smoked or not, and its roe provide the red in this chirashi. >> Feel free to use another fish, such as tuna. You can also use a different protein instead.
  • Instead of cucumbers >> think of sliced ​​green 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 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 matches
  • 4 ounces salmon roe (optional)
  • 2 (2-inch) sheets of nori, sliced ​​or thinly sliced ​​(optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger or sliced ​​sushi (pickled) ginger (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon prepared wasabi, or more to taste (optional)
  • Soy sauce, for the side

Place the rice in a small 1 or 2 quart saucepan. Add cold water to cover the rice, gently swirl the rice with your fingers for 20 seconds, then drain all the starchy water, making sure the grains of rice don’t 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 let it soak for 15 minutes or up to overnight.

Place the pan on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer quickly for 4 minutes, taking care not to boil over, cover, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. At this point, the rice is cooked, but firm and still quite moist. Remove from heat and keep tightly covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and use a rice paddle or wide spoon to gently fluff the grains. Keep the rice covered while you make the toppings.

Make the egg ribbons: In a small bowl, beat the egg with the salt and sugar until homogeneous.

Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Lightly grease the bottom of the pan with the oil. Pour in the egg and tilt the skillet so that the egg spreads in an even layer over the bottom of the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently cook egg until surface is mostly dry with a few wet spots, 3 to 4 minutes. (The egg should not brown.) Turn off the heat and let the egg cool slightly. Transfer to a cutting board, roll the egg into a log, then cut crosswise to form 1/2-inch wide ribbons.

Stir the rice again with a rice paddle or rubber spatula and stir in the rice vinegar, sugar and salt if desired. Taste the rice and season if necessary.

Before serving, divide the rice between two bowls. Place each neatly with the egg ribbons, slices of salmon, cucumber or avocado, carrots and, if using, salmon roe, strips of nori, ginger and a little wasabi. Serve with soy sauce at the table.

Per serving (with raw salmon and cucumber), based on 4

Calories: 256; Total fat: 4 g; Saturated fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 62 mg; Sodium: 299mg; Carbohydrates: 45 g; Dietary fiber: 1 g; sugar: 2 g; Protein: 10 g.

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietician or nutritionist.

From 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; e-mail questions to [email protected]

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