With its rainbow of colours and harmonious balance of flavours, this chirashi scattered sushi is a winner. It’s so simple to make and such an easy way to enjoy sushi without the need for any rolling. You can serve it as a large dish to feed many for a family dinner or pack it small for a healthy and delicious lunch on-the-go!
Table of contents
- What is Chirashi?
- Chirashi for Special Occasions
- Why You Will Love this Chirashi?
- What Do I Need?
- Wooden Tub (hangiri)
- Special Ingredients Note
- How to Make Chirashi?
- Tips & Tricks
- Variations & Suggestions
- Short Cut
- What to Serve With Your Chirashi?
- How to Store Chirashi?
- More Sushi Recipes
- Stay Connected
- Recipe Measurement Note
What is Chirashi?
Chirashi is a type of sushi. The name of the sushi comes from a Japanese verb “chirasu” which means scatter in English. So Chirashi is various ingredients scattered over sushi rice (vinegared rice). There are variations depending on the regions and are named differently such as “bara zushi (deconstructed or disassembled sushi)” “maze sushi (mixed sushi)” “gomoku chirashi” etc.
Chirashi for Special Occasions
Chirashi is an indispensable dish for many Japanese festivals and special occasions. It is typically served for Girl’s Festival (3rd of March). But why is Chirashi often eaten at Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Festival)? It is said that the Japanese used to eat Narezushi which is a preserved food made by soaking fish in rice and fermenting it in the Heian period. People ate the Narezushi around March as the fermenting process finishes around the time. Over the time, the appearance of the sushi becomes eye-catching and gorgeous from just plain fermented fish and rice. Reference: Hinamatsuri(in Japanese language)
Why You Will Love this Chirashi?
- Easy! NO rolling mat and skill required.
- You can use whatever ingredients you have. Make Perfect sushi rice following my recipe and just scatter whatever ingredients you have.
What Do I Need?
Sushi rice – I discuss in detail how to make perfect sushi rice in this post.
Ingredients for mixing into the sushi rice such as dried shiitake mushrooms, carrots and kanpyo.
Ingredients for topping such as snap peas, tamagoyaki, seafood, and sakura denbu.
Garnishes – Myoga, shiso (ooba) and sesame seeds.
Wooden Tub (hangiri)
You may have seen a wooden tub that Japanese use for making sushi rice. It has a shallow and flat bottom. You need to wet it before use so that the rice will not stick to the tub and also it will not soak up the vinegar for the rice. If you don’t have it, it is a good investment if you love sushi and make sushi often. Never use the rice cooker bowl for mixing the vinegar in. The acidity of the vinegar will damage the rice cooker bowl.
Special Ingredients Note
- Sakura denbu – is a pink cod flake. It is very finely flaked cod that coloured pink. More information on sakura denbu is in my Sushi Cake post.
- Kanpyo – is dried strips of dried gourd fruit which is a type of melon. You can buy this dry or cooked and seasoned to be ready to use straight away. Also mentioned in the Futomaki Sushi rolls post.
- Shiso – is a type of Japanese herb which has a cross between mint and cinnamon with a hint of clove flavour. You may find this special herb in your local market or Japanese grocery stores. You can also easily grow this herb which I do.
- Myoga – Also known as Myoga ginger or Japanese ginger. Its flower buds are edible and has a unique aroma and spiciness and used for garnishing condiment for many Japanese dishes.
How to Make Chirashi?
Make sushi rice perfectly by following my recipe. While the rice is being cooked in a rice cooker, make sushi vinegar and mixing in ingredients. Also, prepare for toppings. I chose to use renkon lotus root, snow peas, sakura denbu and tamagoyaki cut into dices instead of “kinshi tamago (thinly sliced egg crepe). Finally, assemble all together. Easy! No rolling skill required.
Tips & Tricks
- Tips to serve Chirashi beautifully – Chose colorful toppings, serve sushi rice mixed with carrots, kanpyo and dried mushrooms then scatter topping ingredients evenly considering colour distribution.
- Use dried shiitake mushrooms soaking water to cook mixing ingredients as it is packed with Umami and gives the Chirashi depth of flavour.
- Keep all ingredients except sushi rice in the fridge before assembling.
Variations & Suggestions
Depending on the region of Japan and households, there are many variations of Chirashi that exist. As I mentioned in the above paragraph, Chirashi means scatter in English, so if you scatter seafood (kaisen) over sushi rice it is called ‘kaisen chirashi’, and if you mixed in 5 different ingredients (gomoku) into sushi rice, and scatter tamagoyaki and other toppings like I did, it is called Gomoku chirashi. Also, variations continue, depending on what you serve the Chirashi in. For instance, Chirashi served in a bowl is called chirashi bowl or Chirashi don.
Ingredient suggestions are carrot, kanpyo, dried shiitake mushroom, renkon lotus roots, konnyaku, kōyadōfu hijiki are good to be mixed into sushi rice. Delicious toppings to scatter are thinly sliced egg crepe (kinshi tamago), shrimps, salmon, salmon roe, grilled eel, peas, renkon lotus roots
Chirashi is easy sushi to make though a little time consuming because you need to make sushi rice, make the ingredients to mix in, and preparing topping ingredients separately. So in Japan, you can buy ready-made Chirashi Sushi Mix in packages. You cook rice, and open the packet and mix it into the cooked rice. Top with your chosen toppings.
What to Serve With Your Chirashi?
Chirashi is quite filling so I usually I serve with miso soup or Japanese clear soup and pickled ginger, rice bran pickles, daikon pickles, pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber sunomono, or Asian cucumber salad.
How to Store Chirashi?
It is best served freshly made. Because any sushi needs to be stored under 50°F (10°C). However, it is easy to make too much more than you need to serve, so how do we store it? You can keep Chirashi in the fridge and also freezer.
Fridge – The quality of cooked rice starts to deteriorate at 35-37°F(2-3°C) and it becomes dry. It is difficult to store sushi in the condition it is made. We need to separate sushi rice and topping ingredients and wrap them with cling wrap, then wrap around with newspaper. Store it in the vegetable and fruit compartment in your fridge. It will keep a few days. The chilled chirashi can be enjoyed again, by steaming or microwave the sushi rice then top with separated toppings.
Freezer – You can also freeze it as well. Same as keeping Chirashi in the fridge, you need to separate the sushi rice and toppings. Then wrap them in a cling wrap tightly to keep in the freezer. It will keep for about 2 weeks. Steam or microwave frozen sushi rice. Some toppings and mixing ingredients such as konnyaku is not suitable for freezing. So for that reason, toppings are better made fresh. If you use konnyaku as mixing in ingredient, you need to remove them before you freeze the sushi rice.
More Sushi Recipes
A: This recipe is not as soy sauce is used to flavour some ingredients. You can make gluten-free chirashi if you use gluten-free soy sauce to season some ingredients.
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Recipe Measurement Note
To change the measurements to US customary, click “US Customary” underneath the ingredients list. This converts from Metric units to the customary units used in the USA.
- 2 cups Japanese short grain rice *1
- 1.8 cups water
- 1 5cm strip of Kombu Kelp *2
- 4 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in a night before *3
- 1/2 carrot (cut into matchstick like) or 70g
- 1/4 kanpyo *4
- 2/3 cup Shiitake dashi *5
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs (large)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 4 snow peas (parboiled and cut)
- 1/4 cup renkon sliced thinly *6
- 2 tbsp Sakura denbu(pink cod flake) *7
- 2 myoga flower buds (for garnish) *8
- 2-3 Green Shiso leaves (for garnish) *9
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- Wash the rice a few times till the water becomes clear.
- Drain the water and place the rice in a rice cooker. Add 10% less amount of water than rice and the piece of kombu kelp if you have.
- Set the rice to cook as per your rice cooker.
- While the rice is cooking, in a small pot, heat the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt together to make the sushi vinegar on medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Moisten the wooden tub with water and wipe excess water off with a cloth.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove the kelp strip (if you used a kelp strip) from the rice and place the rice into the wooden tub. Pour the sushi vinegar over it and mix with a wooden spatula to flavour the rice while fanning it to cool it down.
- While the rice is being cooked, prepare "mixing in" ingredients. Squeeze excess water out of shiitake mushrooms. Don't discard the water because it is "shiitake dashi" and will be used to cook other ingredients.
- Remove the stem off the soaked mushrooms and slice mushrooms thinly.
- Place shiitake dashi, sliced shiitake mushrooms, carrot, kanpyo and all seasonings in a saucepan.
- Bring it to boil, then shimmer until most of the liquid evaporates.
- Turn the heat off, Drain any excess liquid left with a sieve.
- Make tamagoyaki. Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and add all seasonings for tamagoyaki, and whisk all together.
- Strain the egg mixture with a sieve twice.
- Heat the oil in a rectangular frying pan over medium heat.
- Pour 1/3 of the egg mixture into the pan. Break any bubbles formed with a pair of chopsticks and scramble gently.
- When the surface is solidified a little, fold and push the egg to one end of the pan with chopsticks
- Wipe the empty side of the pan with oil-soaked kitchen paper and pour another 1/3 of the egg mixture into the empty space of the pan.
- Lift the folded egg up to let the egg mixture run under it.
- Fold and roll the egg from one side of the pan and wipe the empty space of the pan with the oil-soaked kitchen paper.
- Pour the last 1/3 of egg mixture and repeat fold and roll.
- Turn the heat off and remove the tamagoyaki egg roll from the pan. When it is cooled down, cut it into small cubes and set aside.
- Defrost frozen lotus roots and string snow peas and parboil them and set aside.
- Mix the cooked and drained excess liquid mixing-in ingredients into the sushi rice. Do not mush it, rather by cutting motion. *10
- Scatter tamagoyaki cubes, snow peas, renkon lotus roots and sakura denbu over the sushi rice.
- Garnish with chopped shiso leaves and thinly sliced myoga Japanese ginger.
- Sprinkle white sesame seeds.
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