Chirashizushi is what everybody eats on March 3--Hinamatsuri. That's Koshi up there holding the Shamoji (rice spoon) getting ready to dish some up for himself and Cici. Chirashizushi is sushi...with sprinkles! No--not chocolate sprinkles, nor sugar sprinkles. Egg sprinkles, ikura sprinkles, sakuradenbu sprinkles (I'll explain in a sec)...and something green, too, so you get those nice pink-white-green spring colors. My kids *love* Chirashizushi. What I made today (fills up a ni-dan--two level-- o-bento box) is nearly gone, and I guarantee they'll get up in the morning and polish off the rest for breakfast.
Full disclosure: I don't make it entirely from scratch! I use a package that contains the vinegar/sugar liquid for the rice (because I never can get the ratio of vinegar to sugar right), and the vegetables already cut and cooked to mix in, and the nori/sesame for final sprinkles. I also don't own one of those huge wooden tubs to put the rice in while mixing in the vinegar/sugar (steps 1 & 2 in the photo). Not that I don't want one of those, just that they're really big and hard to store in a teeny kitchen. If I made this more frequently, I'd probably get one, though. As it is, I just use my big tray (I wash it well first, of course). So don't be put off making it yourself just because you don't have one of those nifty wooden tubs. If you find a package version in an Asian market, then all you need are a couple of eggs, soy sauce, sugar, ikura (salmon roe), snow peas (saya ingen), and if they have it at your Asian market, sakuradenbu (explained below).
...don't have the flame up too high (oops!). But it was rescued in the nick of time...
Set aside. Destring and briefly boil the snow peas, slice diagonally, and set aside.
Get out the rice--put it into a wooden tub if you have one, or just use a nice big tray with a lip. A very large piece of wax paper would do, too, in a pinch. Pour on the vinegar/sugar mix (if you're making it from scratch--1/2 cup vinegar, 2Tblsp sugar, 1tsp salt) and cut it in using the shamoji (rice scoop) or a wooden spoon. Fan the rice at the same time. This is surprisingly hard to do--like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. I generally get one of the kids to do the fanning (that's Cici's hand holding the Uchiwa fan up there in the photo).
Next, dump on the vegetables (thin sliced carrot, shiitake, lotus root, bamboo shoot, kampyou if you can get it--this is why I like to use the package version). I've also seen the relevant vegetables available in a jar version, sliced and cooked and in the dressing ready to go. Either way--it's easier and faster that way.
On to sprinkles...
I sprinkle the thin-sliced Tamagoyaki (egg sheet) on first...
|Ikura comes next...|
And on top of the pink, put some green--I used snow peas, briefly boiled and sliced diagonally. I've also seen Mitsuba (chervil) used, which is pretty also.
Final sprinkle is the nori and white sesame seeds. Dekiagari! (Done!)
So next time you're up for a Kitchen Adventure--head over to your nearest Asian supermarket and see if they stock the things for making Chirashizushi!
Ip---pai tabenasai! (please eat a lot!)
Mata asobou, ne!