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.
- 1 small carrot, julienned (sliced into thin sticks)
- 1 thumb size ginger, peeled and julienned
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped bite size
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sake
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- 1 plum tomato, sliced bite size
- 1 tbsp white or mixed miso paste
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup baby spinach, finely chopped
- 2 scallions, finely sliced on the bias
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 4 cup Japanese rice, cooked
- shredded nori (optional)
- In a small pan over high heat, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil, ginger and carrots, and fry for 3 minutes until ingredients have softened. Turn the heat off and add ½ tsp sesame oil, sesame seeds and a little salt. 2. Stir, transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Using the same pan over high heat, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and shiitake mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, sake and sugar, and fry until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Put the tomatoes in a small bowl together with miso paste and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well until the tomatoes are coated evenly.
- Heat up the Japanese rice and pour rice vinegar over it. Mix well until rice is evenly coated.
- Divide rice among two bowls and top evenly with carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, scallions and shredded nori. Serve immediately.