Summertime Forking Lesson #4: Get all torn up
Feeling a bit torn up about all of your scandalous summer forking? Dipped your noodle in too many sauces? With summer coming to an end, you may need to indulge in a little guilt-fest by forking this “torn-up” dish. Just like guilt (religious, sexual or otherwise) Chirashi (literally: “torn”) sushi is dead-easy, since it’s just an assortment of toppings on a bed of sushi rice – no rolling required. While sushi restaurants display gorgeous arrays of sashimi atop their glistening beds of rice, the humble Japanese housewife expresses torn-up feelings of guilt with the following: sushi rice mixed with boiled vegetables and topped with fish (if you like) shredded egg and nori (seaweed). Are you a glutton for self-loathing? If so, here’s an easy way to get “all torn up”.
Ingredients for “All torn-up Chirashi Sushi”
- 2 cups hot, cooked Japanese rice
- 4 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 – 1.5 Tbsp sugar, depending on your taste, pinch of salt OR “sushinoko” powder (follow package directions for amount)
- Boiled vegetables: Your choice or combination of thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, julienned carrots, and peas boiled in a broth of: ½ cup fish stock (“dashi”), 1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, pinch salt
- Assorted sashimi (Totally optional. e.g. tuna, salmon, cooked shrimp, salmon roe, etc.)
- Shredded egg – 2 eggs, beaten
- Sushi nori – ½ sheet, shredded by hand or finely cut with scissors
How to make “All torn-up Chirashi Sushi”
- Get in bed. The best place to retreat to when all torn up is a bed (of rice). Put on the rice to cook, and then get to prepping your toppings.
- Make your veg limp. You’ve been naughty all summer – it’s time to punish your veg. Bring the broth (as outlined in the “toppings” section) to a boil, and then boil each topping in turn, scooping the toppings out when limp and re-using the broth to boil each subsequent topping. Set your limp veg aside and allow it to cool.
- Shred a tear. To make shredded egg, beat the eggs and make thin egg “crepes” by frying in a hot, lightly oiled pan. Hold the hot frying pan in one hand (by the handle, unless you are a glutton for punishment) and pour in the egg, swirling it around so that it creates a thin, flat sheet. When it’s cooked most of the way through, carefully flip it to cook the other side (I slide it out of the pan, then pick it up and place it back in on the flip side). Slide the crepe onto a cutting board, and cut it into 1-inch strips. Then, cut the strips cross-wise as thinly as you can, creating 1-inch long egg “sprinkles”. (If this is too much for you, just scramble the eggs instead, using chopsticks to mix up the egg as you cook, so as to create little bitty egg pieces.)
- Get all cut up. Create shredded nori pieces by cutting the sheet of seaweed into 1-inch strips, then cutting cross-wise like you did the egg.
- Salt (and vinegar) your wound. When the rice is cooked, it’s ready to be cooled and given a vinegar treatment. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt, and then transfer the rice into a shallow dish – the shallower, the better (to allow for quick cooling). Drizzle the vinegar mixture over it, distributing it evenly, and then cool the rice by gently turning (not stirring!) it while fanning it at the same time. Do this until your fanning arm gives out and falls off or your rice is cooled, whichever comes first.
- Get all mixed up inside. Add your limp (and by now, cooled) veg to the rice, and gently mix in.
- Get topped. Transfer the rice/veg mixture to your serving platter, and then artfully arrange the shredded egg and seafood (if you’re using it) on top, sprinkling the whole thing with your shredded or cut nori.
- Indulge in your guilt. Don’t listen to your therapist, being all torn up can be a beautiful thing, especially when expressed in artfully arranged chirashi sushi.