Contains: Seafood, grains. Is: Quick and easy.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes didn’t happen for me here this past year. I did manage to make four of the seven, but I will write this up so you can use whatever you have available, and chirashi certainly is great ANY time of the year. I thought I had salmon frozen away – but it remains elusive.
Chirashi is a Japanese dish where sashimi (seafood, often raw) and a few light vegetables of Japanese origin is laid over a bed of sushi rice, prepared the Japanese way (with a little rice vinegar and a little sugar mixed in).
I will be doing a riff on a real chirashi – it was a last minute concept since 1) I couldn’t find the salmon and 2) some of the other ingredients I’d normally include were not in my house at the time. Just don’t EVER pass this off as authentic – and don’t limit yourselves to the attempt to find a couple unusual ingredients I DID manage to include!
I made the Japanese sushi rice in itself authentically – I have a stash of that rice, and some rice vinegar and some sugar – and a rice cooker. But…
I also cooked in some rehydrated shiitake mushroom, and a little rehydrated “tree ear” fungi.
The kingfish I found at the bottom of my freezer is a stand-in for the missing salmon. I had gotten the kingfish from a Korean grocery, pre-COVID. Sub with any finned fish you like or feel to be appropriate.
Had they been available, I would have added perilla leaves. Maybe half of an Asian pear, in slices. An avocado half, sliced. As it was, the grape tomatoes were needing to be eaten, and my lone avocado was… dead.
At any rate, find what you can find, and work with it. Keep some wasabi and/or soy sauce/tamari and/or ginger slivers aside. Had I been thinking further – a good sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds?
This was made for one (no sides, no dessert).
Prep Time: About 10 minutes active, but let the mushrooms/fungi soak for at least 45 minutes.
Cook Time: About 40 minutes.
Rest Time: Eh?
Serves: 1 or 2, depending if there are sides.
Cuisine: Adapted from Japanese
Leftovers: Not quite as good.
A Quick Chirashi-Influenced Dish
- 1/2 cup sushi rice
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 small to medium sized dehydrated “tree ears” (a type of fungus)
- 3-4 dehydrated shitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher or flake salt
Various toppings of your choice – mine were:
- 3-4 raw sea scallops from a reputable source, sliced in half or thirds depending on size. (These were bought fresh, and I froze them for a good FIVE days prior to use.)
- A heaping teaspoon of lumpfish roe (flying fish row is even better)
- Deboned meat from one small kingfish fillet. (This should be cooked – pan fried or baked)
- Five or six medium-sized shrimp, shells removed, and deveined. (These should also be cooked, pan-fried, steamed or baked.)
- Five or six grape tomatoes, sliced in half.
- A scallion/green onion, sliced.
- One fresh raw quail egg yolk. Discard the white.
Optional topping ideas that I wish I had (or had thought of): (Adjust quantities of the above if you are adding in additional things. Adjust if things are out and out substitutions for ingredients above.)
- Half an avocado, sliced.
- High quality salmon, raw. (PS, especially with salmon, I do a HARD FREEZE of this for at least five days before serving raw.)
- High quality tuna (yellowfin), raw.
- Mung bean sprouts.
- Salmon roe
- Japanese-style pickled ginger
- Sesame seeds, white or black, perhaps toasted.
- Cilantro/coriander leaves.
- Tomago (the Japanese omelet).
Rehydrate the tree ears and the dried shiitake in warm or hot water for around an hour or so. Remove the fungi/mushrooms and reserve the liquid for another recipe. Chop up the mushrooms and tree ears to small pieces and discard any bits that are still tough.
Make the rice. You need to rinse rice three or four times until the water runs clear of the starch.
I used a rice cooker but a pot on the cooktop is fine. Add the rice, water, salt, and the shiitake and tree ears together in the cooker or pot. Cook as per instructions for your rice.
While the rice is cooking, cook any topping ingredients that need to be cooked. In my case I pan-fried the kingfish and the shrimp.
For the kingfish: Pan fry on medium high with a little oil, adding some pepper and a tiny sprinkle of hot pepper flakes if desired. Flip a fillet after cooking about 3 minutes, then cook longer for another 3 minutes. Remove and slice into pieces.
For the shrimp: De-shell and de-vein. Including the tail of the shell, although that’s not essential.
For pan-frying, Pan fry on medium high with a little oil, adding a dash of ground pepper. Cook for 1.5-2 minutes a side, depending on the size of your shrimp. As you complete, add a dash of toasted sesame oil.
For a boil, heat up a pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp, reduce to a simmer, and allow to simmer about 2 minutes. If you go too long, shrimp goes MUSHY.
When the rice is ready, place in a largish bowl, and top at will, aiming for some type of aesthetic presentation.
Sit down and ENJOY!