by Kate Heyhoe
If you enjoy the taste of sushi rice but aren't up to competing against the perfectly shaped or rolled pieces of sushi masters, try your hand at "scattered sushi" or Chirashi Sushi—in which the rice and ingredients are casually mixed together. Layer the rice on a platter or pack the rice into small bowls, then top with any number of ingredients. You don't have to use raw fish if it's hard to come by either. Here's an example of Chirashi Sushi that uses cooked shrimp, which itself is optional, but you can adapt the dish using whatever ingredients you prefer. It's an easy make-ahead appetizer or main course (serve at room temperature).
If you enjoy the fiery Japanese horseradish known as wasabi, serve it with this dish; buy it as a green powder then mix with a little water until thick. Serve it on small plates so diners can mix it with soy sauce.
4 cups cooked rice for sushi
3 to 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried shiitake
mushrooms, soaked in hot water until
soft and drained)
1/2 medium carrot
6 green beans
1 green onion
1 sheet nori (seaweed)
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sake or dry sherry
1/2 cup dashi (Japanese stock), or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
6 medium-size cooked shrimp
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
(wasabi mixed with water),
plus more for table
1. Slice the mushrooms, carrot, and green beans into matchstick julienne or thin shreds. (Be sure to remove and discard the tough shiitake stems.)
2. Slice the green onions (white and green parts) on the diagonal, about 1/4-inch wide; set aside.
3. Cut the nori into thin shreds, about 3/4-inch long. (Scissors work best for this.)
4. In a small saucepan, heat together the soy sauce, sugar, sake, and dashi until just simmering. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and green beans. Cook on high until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
5. Beat the eggs with the salt and sugar. Lightly grease a nonstick pan and heat on medium. Pour in just enough egg mixture to coat the pan, swirling to cover the surface. Cook until set. Slide the cooked egg onto a cutting board. Roll into a cigar-shaped cylinder and cut across into thin shreds. Repeat with remaining egg mixture.
6. Mix the rice with half of the soy mixture and shredded vegetables, half the nori, and half the shredded egg. (A chopstick mixes the ingredients well without mashing them.) Lightly press the rice into bowls or spread on a serving platter. Top with the remaining ingredients, finishing with a sprinkling of nori and the sliced green onions.
7. If you're using shrimp, butterfly the shrimp by slicing down the backside of the shrimp, but don't cut all the way through. Coat the interior of shrimp pieces with a dab of wasabi and arrange them on top of the rice mixture, spreading the cut area open so the tail stands up. Serve at room temperature.
Variations are endless: try crab, tuna (fresh or canned), water chestnuts, spinach, peas, asparagus, snow peas, or even teriyaki chicken shreds.
This page created September 1999
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