Chirashi

9 Dec

Chiriashi is best explained as sushi, salad style. If you order it at a restaurant (I’ve had it at Morimoto in Napa…and holy man…) it is typically served as a rice bowl with an arrangement of sashimi. However, I don’t make sashimi at home and I am not sushi chef. Pero, I have learned how to prepare a version of chirashi from both my Obaachan and my Okaasan that is easily one of my favorite meals. It is time consuming, almost like bibimbap, but worth the effort.

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I have the coolest Obachan EVER

Ingredient List:
– Sushi rice (3 cups rice, 3 cups water)
– Rice vinegar (or a prepared chirashi mix)
– Cucumber, cut into matchsticks
– Avocado, thinly sliced and lightly salted
– Smoked salmon, broken into pieces
– Seaweed, thinly sliced
– Eggs
– Shitake mushrooms
– Mirin
– Sugar
– Shoyu

The ingredients you use are entirely optional, but this is pretty much what my Obaachan and Okaasan always use. The only thing that we switch out sometimes is instead of smoked salmon, we use shrimp. You could also add different vegetables according to your taste – ginger, carrots, etc.

Directions:
1. Begin with the sushi rice. Measure out 3 cups of rice and clean the rice until the water runs clear. Then, you need to put the rice in a colander and let it drain until the moisture is drained out completely. This process takes at least 30 minutes. Once drained, cook in your rice cooker. If you have a fancy rice cooker, there is probably a sushi setting that you can use. I have a regular rice cooker, and just cook it like normal. Just a note – 3 cups of rice makes a large serving…probably enough for about 6 people as a main course.

2. Once the rice is done cooking, you must let it completely cool before you do anything with it. You need to fan it (seriously, get out a fan and start cooling the rice down) for a good 10 minutes.

3. Once the rice is done cooling down, you transfer it to a sushi oke.

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Sushi okes are made of wood and are good for keeping the rice at the right moisture. They are also very expensive, so they are an investment for the true sushi lover.

4. In the sushi oke, you have two options. Option 1: Use a prepared chirashi mix. You can find these at any Japanese market. Option 2: Use rice vinegar and sugar to taste. I recommend option number 2 because then you are really making the flavor exactly where you want it. Combine small portions of rice vinegar and sugar together and then pour over your rice. Once this is completed, leave your rice aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (you can also prepare these things as your rice is cooking in the rice cooker).

5. On your stove, start boiling water and add your shitake mushrooms. Once the water boils, shut off the water. The mushrooms can soak for several hours, depending on the thickness of the mushrooms, but you need to let them soak until soft. Once this has happened, add about 1/4 cup shoyu, 2 tbsp mirin, and a pinch of sugar and boil the water. Boil until the liquid reduces till almost nothing.

6. Cut your cucumber into thin matchsticks. Lightly salt these and then let sit while you prepare other ingredients. When you are ready to use them, rinse them under cool water to rinse the salt off and then squeeze with a paper towel in order to drain the excess liquid.

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7. Slice your avocado into thin slices. LIGHTLY salt these.

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8. The smoked salmon is the easy part – simply break this into small chunks.

9. Now, the hard part. The egg. This is a skill I have not yet mastered. You want the egg as thin as possible — so thin that when you cut it into thin strips, it almost looks like shredded cheese. This takes a lot of practice. I think I used about 5 eggs for this. Get out a small pan and use a paper towel to grease it down with cooking oil. Then, pour about 1/5 of the whisked eggs (about 1 egg at a time) into your heated pan. You want the pan hot, but not so hot it will burn the egg. Then swirl your pan around to make sure the egg is coating the entire bottom. Take your greased paper towel and wipe down the edges so it does not stick. Once the egg is almost cooked through (and this happens FAST — maybe 45 seconds) flip your egg over for the last few seconds to cook the other side.

Your egg should look something like this:

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10. Okay, you’re finally almost done! Now, just to prepare it all together. The order that you layer your chirashi is entirely up to you. However, this is the order I like to go —

Sushi rice
Smoked salmon
Shitake mushrooms
Cucumber
Avocados
Shredded egg
Shredded nori (seaweed)

11. And you’re done! Now just serve with some shoyu and ginger on the side and eat up! Itadakimasu!

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The Boyfriend Rates It: 5

This is again one of those dishes that I have never experienced until I met the gf, but man oh man is it delicious! It’s just fresh tasting and light but filling at the same time. I think that its the flavors of rice vinegar and shoyu that I enjoy so much. Whatever it is, this is another one of those definite must makes.

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