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Chirashi Sushi (Scattered Sushi Bowl)

Posted Apr 19 2012 7:31am

I snuck away on a brief tryst to Montreal last week.  

No, not that kind!  A play date with my sister.  Just a 24 hour thing, but a great break from the ordinary and well worth the trip.  Being in Montreal, quite naturally, there was food involved.
We went out for dim sum at one of these massive cafeteria style Cantonese joints that happened to serve up some of the freshest seafood and vegetable dishes I’ve had in a long time (there were plenty of other goodies on hand but we kept away from the thigh enhancing deep fried gems).  It was lip-smacking good and no matter how much food you order, the bill never seems to exceed $12 per person (not sure how that works).
But I do love that style of eating – lots of fresh vegetables and assorted proteins with a mix of yummy dips and sauces to choose from.  It reminds me of one of my favourite Japanese preparations, chirashi sushi. 
Chirashi simply means 'scattered' – a scattered bowl of assorted fresh ingredients that typically comprise sushi.  Chirashi's most common preparation includes a bowl of rice with fresh fish or seafood and an assortment of vegetables.  The garnishes can be quite elaborate, colourful and decorative. But there are no fixed rules when it comes to sushi bowls.  You can toss in whatever ingredients you like (substituting tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian version) and the great news is, you don’t have to wrap or roll anything!  You get all the taste and health benefits without the fuss. 
This is such a simple meal to throw together and, depending on how you mix it up, you can enjoy it as a light lunch or heartier dinner.
As for topping, I most often enjoy my sushi bowls with a fresh squeeze of lemon or a splash of soy sauce but you can play around with different dips, dressing and sauces as you like.  The classic pickled ginger and wasabi are nice flavour mix-ins here as well.

 Chirashi Sushi ~ Scattered Sushi Bowl
  • 1 cup or so, coleslaw
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame (I simply run frozen edamame under hot water)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 6-8 large shrimp, sautéed
  • For Garnish: sesame seeds; chopped toasted nori or dulse (seaweed); chopped green onion

Serves 2
Place coleslaw in a medium size salad bowl.  The coleslaw should come at least halfway up the height of the bowl.
Simply add in the rice, carrot, edamame and avocado section by section over the coleslaw.
Meanwhile, sautée shrimp in a skillet with some olive oil over medium heat and, once cooked, place shrimp in centre of bowl.  Sprinkle sushi with lemon, lime, soy sauce, or other flavourings as desired.
Garnish sushi bowl with sesame seeds, green onion and chopped nori or dulse. 

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