Vegetarian Chirashi Sushi – (Chirashizushi)
There is a Japanese restaurant not too far from my apartment that makes delicious chirashi sushi (chirashizushi in Japanese) for lunch. We go there a lot because the quality of the fish is excellent and the prices are very reasonable… The lunch prices that is! Go there in the evening and expect to pay NYC prices for your maki rolls and sushi pieces. Add drinks to your order and the total can easily go above $100 per person. Ouch. Welcome to NYC. If I could make chirashi sushi at home I would serve it once a week with the classic miso soup and side salad. But buying top grade sushi fish isn’t cheap so instead I’ve come up with a vegetarian chirashi sushi that’s just as satisfying. I’m not kidding! We like this vegetarian chirashi sushi so much that we eat it on average once or twice a week.
Don’t be intimidated by the amount of ingredients needed for this vegetarian chirashi sushi recipe – it’s VERY easy and uncomplicated to make, I promise you! Chirashi sushi is simply sushi rice topped with different types of fish served raw. It can also come with shredded eggs, shiitake mushrooms or other topping options. Chirashi sushi is usually served on special occasions like festivals or birthdays and can be served in individual bowls or family size bowls. Whenever I go visit my relatives in Japan, it’s almost guaranteed that one of them will make chirashizushi. I’m that special! Nah, actually they make it for my husband and his gorgeous blue eyes hehehe!
I chose to make a completely vegetarian chirashi sushi for this post to keep it light and colorful just like the fish version. I fried the carrots and ginger slices in a little sesame oil and sprinkled them with sesame seeds, and cooked the shiitake mushrooms in soy sauce. I then mixed the tomato slices with miso paste (so yummy!) and finished the dish with chopped spinach, scallions and shredded nori (optional). So many different flavors make this dish; sweet, salty, umami, nutty and vinegary. You’d think it would be too much but the flavors marry beautifully together!
The beautiful thing about this chirashi sushi dish is that you can make more of each topping and keep them in the fridge for future meals.