Scattered Sushi (Chirashi Sushi) is often made for special occasions such as Doll Festival and birthdays. This beautifully arranged sushi is the easiest of all the sushi dishes. Prepare the toppings of your choice, scatter them on sushi rice, and voila! My Scattered Sushi toppings are easy to prepare or can be made ahead.
Ingredients are sliced or cut into small pieces, then scattered over the sushi rice. That’s all it takes to make such a good-looking sushi! This simple but pretty sushi is quite versatile and you can pick and choose different toppings.
Although I added ‘Chirashi Sushi’ in parethsis next to Scattered Sushi to highlight the word ‘sushi’, in Japan, this dish is called ‘chirashizushi’ (ちらし寿司). The English name, ‘scattered sushi’ is the perfect translation of Chirashi Sushi or Chirashizushi. ‘Chirashi’ (ちらし) means scattered and ‘zushi’ (寿司) is the same word as ‘sushi’ (the sound changes when appended to another word).
When it is served on a bowl of rice, it is also called ‘chirashi don’ (ちらし丼, chirashi bowl).
Scattered Sushi is Not always made of Raw Fish
In Kanto (関東, the eastern region of Japan, which includes Tokyo and surrounding prefectures), Chirashizushi consists of sushi rice topped with various raw fish pieces that are used for nigirizushi (hand-pressed sushi that you find at sushi train).
But in other parts of Japan, Chirashizushi is often made by mixing flavoured vegetables mixed in sushi rice and decorating with shredded egg crapes and other ingredients. Some of the toppings are raw fish pieces, some not.
There are so many variations of scattered sushi and different names given to it that you might get very confused if I start listing all the different names and possible ingredients. Basically, Scattered Sushi can be defined as follows:
- A plate or a bowl of sushi rice decorated with seafood, vegetables and/or eggs.
- Sushi rice can be plain (just vinegar rice) or mixed with flavoured small pieces of vegetables.
- Toppings can be raw fish only, a combination of raw fish, cooked fish and vegetables, or no raw fish.
- The number of toppings can vary but usually several different toppings are placed on sushi rice.
I was born in Tokyo so I am more used to the chirashizushi with raw fish on top. But today, I made a different version.
Toppings of My Chirashizushi
I wanted my Chirashizushi to be colourful, with ingredients that were easy to prepare or could even be made ahead. This recipe also minimises the use of raw fish. The rice is just plain sushi rice. Here is a list of toppings I used today with a photo.
- Lotus roots marinated in amazu (sweet vinegar) – make ahead, see the recipe in note 5 of the recipe.
- Blanched snow peas
- Simmered shiitake mushrooms – make ahead, see my post Simmered Shiitake Mushrooms.
- Shredded egg crapes (Kinshi Tamago) – can be made ahead the day before, see my post and recipe instructions in Hiyashi Chūka as well as the photos in note 4 of the recipe.
- Japanese grilled eel (BBQ eel) – comes in a frozen pack and available at Asian/Japanese grocery shop. In the USA, some fish markets seem to sell it, too.
- Boiled prawns/shrimps
- Diced sashimi salmon
Japanese grilled eel is called ‘unagi no kabayaki’ (うなぎの蒲焼). The photo below is the frozen unagio no kabayaki purchased from the Asian grocery store.
The pack indicates ‘Roasted’ but the proper way of making unary no kabayaki is not roasting it. It is initially steamed, then grilled over charcoal with a rich sweet soy flavoured sauce. If you cannot buy grilled eel, you can omit it or substitute it with diced teriyaki chicken (see my post Teriyaki Chicken).
Traditional chirashizushi of this kind often use ikura (イクラ, salmon roe) as it makes chirashizushi a little bit extravagant. But here in Sydney, salmon roe is very expensive so my recipe uses diced sashimi salmon as a substitute.
To give you an idea of how it looks, here is my Chirashizushi with ikura on it. Doesn’t it look gorgeous with shiny ikura?
You could also use smoked salmon or tobiko (とびこ, flying fish roe), which is cheaper than salmon roe.
The recipe is long, especially with photos inserted but the preparation is not complicated at all. Some ingredients can be made ahead and are easy to prepare.
PS: I added a new section ‘MEAL IDEAS’ below the recipe card. It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and the new recipe in this post that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you!
Scattered Sushi (Chirashizushi) is often made for special occasions such as Dolls Festival and birthdays. This beautifully arranged sushi is the easiest of all the sushi dishes. Prepare the toppings of your choice, scatter them on sushi rice, and voila!
Total Time does not include the time to cook sushi rice, make Simmered Shiitake Mushrooms, marinate lotus roots and making kinship tamago (egg crapes) that can be made ahead.
- 4 cups cooked sushi rice (note 1)
- 8 fresh prawns/shrimps (medium size, note 2)
- 8 toothpicks
- 4 Simmered Shiitake Mushrooms , thinly sliced (note 3)
- 2 large eggs worth of Kinshi Tamago (shredded egg crepe, note 4)
- 6 slices of pickled lotus roots (note 7), cut into quarters (pie shape)
- ½ pack Japanese grilled eel (note 5)
- 50g/1.8oz sashimi salmon , finely diced (note 6)
- 40g/1.4oz snow peas
Remove heads and veins from the prawns.
Hold prawn horizontally with the tail on the left (for right hander) and the belly facing down.
Starting from the head end, put through a toothpick along the back between the shell and the flesh.
When the toothpick reaches half way, point the tip of the toothpick downwards and push it further towards the tail so that the toothpick cuts through the flesh. This will prevent the prawn from curling when cooked.
Repeat for the remaining prawns.
Bring a small saucepan with water and a tablespoon of vinegar to a boil. Add the prawns and cook for a couple of minutes.
Drain, remove the toothpicks, let them cool and remove shells.
Butterfly the prawns by cutting the belly side from the head end to the tail, leaving the dorsal side of the flesh and skin intact.
Cut the butterflied prawns, perpendicular to the butterfly cut, into 3 similar size pieces (note 8).
Cut the grilled eel perpendicular to the backbone, to 2cm/¾” wide pieces.
Cut each piece in half crosswise to make each piece almost square.
Break the stem end of snow pea gently and pull the tip towards the other end. The tough string that runs along the side comes off.
Pinch the other end, trim and pull the other side of the tough string (if you can) towards the stem end.
Place the snow peas in a microwave safe bowl with a small amount of water, sprinkle tiny amount of salt and cover with cling wrap. Cook for 1 minute.
Rinse under cold water to quickly cool them down. Pat dry with a paper towel.
Cut each snow pea pod diagonally into two pieces. If the pod is very large, cut it into three pieces diagonally so that you will have two ends and one diamond-shape piece.,
Spread the sushi rice thinly in a large shallow plate.
Scatter simmered shiitake mushrooms over the rice.
Scatter kinshi tamago over so that the rice and mushrooms are mostly covered.
Scatter the lotus root pieces over the kinshi tamago.
Place the prawn pieces with the red side up, randomly but evenly spaced.
Place the eel pieces with the skin side down, randomly but evenly spaced.
Make small balls with diced salmon and place them where the large patch of yellow is.
Place snow peas randomly but evenly spaced.
1. Please refer to Temakizushi (Hand Rolled Sushi) for how to make sushi rice.
2. My fresh prawns in shell weighed ab0ut 200g in total. If prawns are large, reduce the number of prawns.
3. Please see my recipe, Simmered Shiitake Mushrooms.
4. Please refer to Hiyashi Chūka recipe and follow the instruction to make Kinshi Tamago. If the eggs are small, use 3 eggs.
For chirashizushi, shred to 3mm wide instead of 5mm indicated in the recipe.
5. How to make Pickled Lotus Roots:
• You will need fresh lotus roots (see last point if using frozen thin slices) and amazu dressing (refer to my post, Japanese Dressings).
• Peel skin and thinly slice lotus roots to 3mm/⅛" thick.
• Boil water with a tablespoon of vinegar and cook the lotus root slices for few minutes.
• Drain and while lotus roots are still hot, marinate in amazu for minimum 2-3 hours, preferably overnight.
• If you are using frozen thinly sliced lotus roots, blanch them to warm them up before marinating them in amazu.
6. Japanese grilled eel is called ‘unagi no kabayaki’ (うなぎの蒲焼). It comes in a thick sweet sauce and is sold frozen at Japanese/Asian grocery stores. In the USA, some fish markets seem to sell it, too.
1 pack weighs about 150-200g/0.3-0.4lb. Please see the photos in post.
If you cannot buy grilled eel, you can omit it or substitute it with diced teriyaki chicken (see my post Teriyaki Chicken).
7. Traditional chirashizushi often uses salmon roe called ‘ikura’ (イクラ). See the photo of chirashizushi with salmon roe in post. But salmon roe is very expensive so I substituted with sashimi salmon in the recipe. If using salmon roe, you will need about 40g/1.4oz. You could also use smoked salmon instead.
8. If prawns are large, cut into 4.
9. You can serve chirashizushi on a large plate for everyone (per instructions) to share or serve individually. Simply divide the ingredients into the number of servings and follow the same instructions.
10. How to prepare prawns: