When I was traveling in Japan I had some amazing eats ranging from street food like hot gooey takoyaki to late night grilled skewers at izakayas and bowls and bowls of ramen. But, after a while, I was exhausted with the over the top “ultimate” dishes I was in search for and just wanted a good clean meal – enter the chirashi bowl.
True to Japanese style, each restaurant had their own spin on the chriashi but they all had the essentials: sushi rice, fresh raw fish, and dainty vegetable garnishes. Of all the dishes we ate in Japan, the chirashi is our favorite food souvenir and they have now become our go to reset meal. Since Jan is here and I am sure we are all making resolutions to be better, it seemed like a perfect a time as any to share my take on the chirashi. Oh, and take a page from the Japanese and personalize it as you see fit, swapping in and out fish and vegetables as they're available.
sliced 1/4-inch thick on the bias and refrigerated until ready to serve
sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
or pea shoots, trimmed
halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
In a small pot with a tight fitting lid bring rice and water to a boil. Stir, then reduce heat to low and cook for a bout 45 to 50 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice cooked through.
Brown rice can be cooked ahead of time (using this method of with a rice cooker) and prepared sushi style up to 2 days ahead of time.
Divide the rice between two wide bowls. Layer slices of your fish over lapping each other while putting a slice of lemon and a few onion slices between each piece. Place a little pile of pickled ginger next to the fish. Then create a pile of cucumbers next to the ginger. Fan slices of half an avocado along the other side of the bowl. In the middle of the bowl place a mound of pea shoots. Serve with a side dish of soy sauce and wasabi.
Once rice is done, transfer to a wide bowl or small sheet pan and pour over the vinegar solution. Using a wooden rice paddle mix the vinegar through the rice using a flipping and chopping motion. This helps to release the hot air and creates a coating on the grains of rice. Continue to mix the rice for 1 to 2 minutes.
About 5 to 10 minutes before rice is done bring the vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir to dissolve sugar and salt.
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You need really high quality sushi grade fish for this recipe so do not take any shortcuts. We special order our chirashi fish from a reputable fish monger and let them know that we're going to eat it raw so they give us the best of the best in quality.
Photo by Robin Jolin