Homemade chirashi — a healthy meal of raw fish and sushi rice (Recipe of the Month)
One of my favorite healthy meals is a homemade chirashi bowl. For those who don’t know, chirashi is a Japanese preparation consisting of raw fish on top of sushi rice.
When I make these myself I usually add a large variety of vegetables, either raw, steamed or pickled, or prepared in some other manner.
This, in addition to your favorite raw, or even cooked, fish makes for a magnificent, easy and incredibly healthy meal. The best part is that it takes almost no time at all to prepare, as you can do all of your other work while the rice cooks.
Be sure to have fun and experiment with your bowls. This may be one of the most open-ended recipes yet, as there are infinite combinations of protein, vegetables and sauces/seasonings you can use.
I used salmon and baby sweet shrimp, but I would strongly suggest visiting a trusted fishmonger and asking them to suggest some things that are good to consume raw (obviously if you would prefer your fish cooked this makes for more options). You can even use smoked salmon as a fantastic alternative.
HOMEMADE CHIRASHI BOWL
- For four bowls, but note there will always be some leftover vegetables; if you are feeling hungry, go a little heavier on the protein.
- 2 cups short-grain “sushi” rice
- 2.2 cups (approximately) water
- 5 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar; look for something labeled “sushi seasoning.” The brand I use is called Mizkan.
- Toasted sesame seeds
- 1 bunch scallions, cleaned, with the whites and light greens thinly sliced
- 1 pound sushi-grade fish; you can use tuna, salmon, yellowtail, scallops, cooked crab meat, etc. The options are numerous (the term “sushi grade” isn’t an actual classification, but for our purposes it will get you what you are looking for). Slice the fish against the grain in 1/5-of-an-inch-thick slices. If you are using tuna you can cut that into cubes if you like.
- 1 small head purple cabbage, sliced thinly and soaked in some additional seasoned vinegar
- 1 English cucumber, sliced thinly and soaked in some additional seasoned vinegar
- 2-3 red radishes, sliced thinly
- 1 package pea shoot greens (you can substitute spinach or romaine lettuce for this)
- 1 small container salmon roe (this is entirely optional; I like the salty brininess of salmon caviar)
- Low-sodium soy sauce
Instructions for the rice
- Prepare the rice: Take the rice and rinse it in a bowl with cold water, mixing the rice around and draining the water off in multiple rinses. Keep doing this until the water is completely clear; this may take up to 15 minutes, but trust me, it is well worth it.
- If you have a rice cooker, cook the rice using its instructions. If you do not have a rice cooker, follow the next steps.
- Grab a heavy-bottom pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the rinsed rice and the measured water to the pot. Let it soak for 20 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium and put the lid on the pot. When the water comes to a boil (don’t do more than steal a quick glance to make sure the water is boiling), turn the heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
- Remove the pot from the heat, keeping it covered, and let it sit for 10 additional minutes. After this your rice is done.
- If you are using a rice cooker, start back up at this step. Transfer the cooked rice into a large bowl. Have someone assist you by grabbing a magazine or something like that and have them aggressively fan the rice as you stir it. Do this for a few minutes, until the rice has cooled significantly. At this point mix in the seasoned rice vinegar. Make sure it coats all of the rice.
- Cover the rice with a damp towel and set it aside until use.
Instructions for assembling the bowls
- Take about ¼ of the sushi rice and add it to your serving dish. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions on top of the rice.
- Place the protein you selected, be it sliced fish, cubed tuna, etc., on the left side of the bowl.
- On the right side layer a small handful of the pickled cabbage, pickled cucumber, sliced radishes and pea shoots. Be sure to cover the rice with these varying colors and textures. It will make for a really breathtaking finished product.
- At this point if you want to use the salmon caviar (or any other caviar for that matter) spoon it over your fish.
- Have a small dish of low-sodium soy sauce on the side for each person.
As always, let us know how you made your chirashi bowl your own. We would love to see pictures and stories of your creativity.
In ‘Recipe of the Month’ food writer Steven DeSalvo shares a recipe Montclairians might enjoy making. DeSalvo has a degree in hospitality business management from the University of Delaware and has worked extensively in restaurants and hotels. If there is something you want to know how to make, or if you’ve eaten a dish at a local restaurant that you are dying to make at home, drop us a note at email@example.com.