Chirashi-zushi means "scattered sushi," but this simple description does not adequately prepare one lor this beautifully made and arranged dish.
In the Tokyo version, both cooked and uncooked seafoods, vegetables and omelet are "scattered" on top of sushi rice in a bowl. The bowl, often lacquered, may strike the eye as a work of art in itself. Wasabi horseradish is not used, but there is soy sauce in a small dish to dip the pieces offish in as they are eaten.
In Osaka, chirashi-zushi is made by finely chopping the cooked ingredients-eel, fish, ginger, vegetables and so on— and mixing them with the rice. A little of the sweetened sauce in which the vegetables were cooked is poured on top, and the whole is topped with a layer of omelet. The omelet is made by beating eggs seasoned with soy sauce and a little sugar and cooking the mixture in a very thin layer, which is then rolled, cooled and cut into slender golden strips.
The Tokyo chirashi-zushi shown here features chütoro tuna, yellowtail, sea eel, thick omelet, cucumber, grilled squid, shrimp, pickled bamboo shoot and cooked shiitake mushrooms. The secret is to put the vinegared rice (about 2 ço gr.) in the bowl gently. The rice should be only loosely packed. Nori seaweed, broken up into small pieces with the fingers, is sprinkled on top of the rice before other ingredients are added.
Whether the cook is a beginner or a pro can be quickly known by how the final arrangement looks, as well as tastes.
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