Chirashi Zushi with special guests
The guests: our daughter, her boyfriend, and of course Mikey came to the table for this meal. This was the first time I met “the boyfriend” and of course I was apprehensive about making a good impression. My friends laughed and advised that it is his business to do so. In fact I believe that such a relationship, should there be such, must be approached as equals. Nonetheless I did not want to seem incompetent or foolish.

We went to Tsai Grocery in the afternoon to buy sushi fish for dinner. He seemed interested in the aisles of exotic foods, though I’m sure he’s been to much larger and more well-stocked stores in San Francisco. It is a nice store!

I pan-roasted these gingko nuts with salt, and added some toothpicks so the guests could munch on them with glasses of beer. These gingkos were a bit strange, the texture being more suited to a soup or stew. The nuts that fall from my tree are not ready yet: They have been dropping all summer, and though they appear to be full-sized they turn blue and rot.

Sushi Rice Topped with
Assorted Sashimi Fish, Shellfish, and Omelette

Edomae Chirashizushi

from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
page 285
serves 4

Prepare the Lotus Root

  • 7 ounces lotus root (about 5 inches of a 2½-inch-diameter root)
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 2 Tablespoons komezu (rice vinegar.)¼ cup water
  • ⅔ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons komezu (rice vinegar)

Peel the lotus root, and slice it thinly. Soak it in the quart of water acidified with the vinegar.Drain the lotus root. In a saucepan, bring the water, salt, and sugar to a boil. Add the lotus root, and cook, covered with a drop-lid, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let the lotus root stand in the cooking liquid until it is cool.
The lotus root can be prepared to this point up to three days in advance, placed in a sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid, and stored in the refrigerator.
Prepare the Cucumber

  • ½ Japanese cucumber, preferably, or a salad cucumber

Cut the cucumber diagonally into 2-inch pieces, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Make about six evenly spaced diagonal cuts from the skin side, leaving about ¼-inch at one side uncut. Soak the cucumber in salted water for 10 minutes. Remove the cucumber from the water, wipe it with a paper towel, and press open the cut ends of each slice to make a fan shape.
Prepare the Mushrooms and Omelette

  • 4 to 5 sweet simmered dried shiitake
  • 1 rolled omelette The sweet simmered shiitake can be made well ahead and frozen.

I made thin omelette with 1 egg and and extra yolk instead.
Prepare the Sushi Rice

  • rice
  • komezu (Japanese rice vinegar)
  • sugar
  • salt

The recipe is here. I made 2.1 pounds of rice rather than the 2.8 Ms. Shimbo calls for.
For chirashi zushi, I would suggest using more vinegar than what you’d use for maki rolls.
Prepare the Sashimi

  • 4 to 5 large tiger shrimp (6 inches) in their shells, heads attached
  • 3 ½ ounces sashimi-quality salmon
  • 3 ½ ounces sashimi-quality tuna
  • 3 ½ ounces sashimi-quality sea bream or flounder
  • 4 to 5 large sashimi-quality scallops

Cook the shrimp, if you are using them: Insert a wooden skewer through the belly side of each shrimp, from throat to tail so it will remain straight while cooking. Peel, but leave the tail. Cut open from the belly side without cutting through the back. Gently press the shrimp open to lie flat.Slice the fish about ¼ inch thick.
Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the sushi.
Assemble the Chirashi Zushi
Use deep soup bowls for serving the sushi. Heap one-quarter of the sushi rice, covering the bottom of the bowl but leaving the side exposed. Gently level the top of the rice. Place the cucumber, shiitake, and lotus root in the center, and arrange the sliced fish, shrimp, and omelette around the vegetables. To make a beautiful arrangement, place items of different colors next to each other and slightly overlalpped, so the presentation does not look flat. Garnish the bowl with wasabi and sweet pickled ginger, and serve with shoyu or tamari on the side.
Garnish and Condiments

  • Wasabi
  • Sweet pickled ginger
  • Shoyu (soy sauce)
  • or Tamari

Serving Chirashi Sushi
To eat chirashi zushi, apply a little wasabi to a slice of fish, shrimp, or scallop. Pick it up, lightly dip one edge in shoyu, place the item back on the rice, and pick it up again, together with some rice. The omelette and and shiitake are best eaten without shoyu.

The evening was casual, so in keeping with the laid-back mood, I served the component parts of the meal family-style to allow each person to choose what to eat.

We’ve been away, family business, sibling bonding, and vacation. Nine of us met in the U.P. where my parents were born. It’s a long trip from where we live, and even longer from Missouri and Georgia where my brothers live. Our kids were able to join us: a first! We rented a cottage on the shore of Lake Superior…

4 thoughts on “Chirashi Zushi with special guests

  1. What a beautiful meal! I’m sure everyone was delighted with it – Mikey too – I bet his nose was a-quiver with the perfume of sashimi. Lovely ingredients and so pretty. I enjoy using lotus root too and it’s in season here at the moment. I often simmer the slices in a sweetened mirin-soy stock – yours looks so much prettier white. I bet boyfriend was impressed.

    • Mikey joins us for dinner just about every night. He has good table manners in as much as he keeps his paws to himself and doesn’t beg, though he usually sits up straight and keeps his eyes on the food.

      I can rarely find fresh lotus root so have to use the stuff sealed in plastic. Sometimes I can find it packaged that way but not sliced and it’s fun to stuff then slice. One time I bought a package of lotus root that had soy sauce mirin and sugar, and it was golden brown colored: pretty enough but very sweet. Maybe it was candied? Meant for dessert? dunno.

      H. seems a very nice fellow, expressive, good conversationalist, interesting. Too bad the weekend was so short!

  2. This looks like a wonderfull meal. I hope you enjoyed your stay on the lake. I havent yet tried buying fresh lotus. We almost did but then my hubby got intimidated so we didnt. Your recipe though makes me wish to have a go at it. Its such a pretty vegi.

  3. Pingback: On Saving Gingko Nuts « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

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