Monthly Archives: September 2018

Chirashi Sushi (Scattered Sushi) and More

Eating out at one of the local sushi restaurants is a great treat, but, when I’m strapped for cash, I make my own.

There are many rolled and shaped types of sushi but this version is one of the easiest to make and requires no special equipment or rolling skills. And nori (seaweed) is not needed.

You can serve/assemble this dish in whatever container you’ve got … a special sushi bowl, a bento box or just a pretty bowl that’s large enough to hold your rice and toppings.

Chirashi or “scattered” sushi starts with a bowl of sushi (seasoned) rice and is topped with an assortment of ingredients. Of course, you may use raw fish (dip in soy sauce before eating) or other items traditionally found in sushi rolls.

Chirashi Sushi – serves 2,  1 1/2 cups of cooked rice per person

1 cup raw sushi rice**, Calrose, Nishiki and Kokuho Rose are what I’ve tried

Cook according to package directions and then season with two to three tablespoons of seasoned rice vinegar. Each cup of raw sushi rice will give you three cups of cooked sushi rice.

** Note: This amount of rice is enough to make 4-6 sushi rolls

I decided to cut back on the rice serving size, to one cup (instead of 1 1/2), so that I could make three different sushi dishes.

Toppings

raw ahi tuna
blanched shrimp
hard boiled egg, sliced into wedges or rings
sliced avocado
sliced green onion

Condiments

wasabi
soy sauce, for the raw tuna
pickled ginger

If you can find wasabi powder, make it fresh ( 1 1/2 heaping teaspoon of wasabi powder with 1 tsp of cold water stirred in) for each sushi meal as the heat lessens as it stands. Store the powder in the freezer to keep it fresh.

Garnishes

shredded nori
masago (capelin or flying fish roe)

Ochazuke or “rice with green tea” is a great way of using up leftover cooked sushi rice, odds and ends from making sushi rolls, grilled fish and blanched fresh or pickled vegetables.

Ochazuke – serves 1

1 cup leftover cooked sushi rice (unseasoned), reheated in the microwave
1 cup of hot green tea
toppings ie furikake (rice seasoning)

If you stir your raw fish into the hot tea, it will poach quickly.

And with my third cup of sushi rice and the last of the raw ahi tuna I had thawed, I made these two traditional sushi rolls. The spicy tuna roll was topped with masago (capelin roe) while the other roll just had strips of the tuna and avocado so that the flavour of the tuna could be appreciated ‘naked’.

Oh … Sugar

A lot of my ‘experiments’ in the kitchen start with the phrase “I was SURE I had…”. In this case, it was brown sugar. Light brown sugar to be exact.

Because my kitchen pantry has been stuffed to the point of spilling out when the door is opened, a number of my large bags of baking staples have been hung on hooks in the upstairs freezer ‘nook’ or stored in the basement on a set of wooden shelves that also hold my extra jars of coffee, spaghetti sauce, lentils, split peas etc. And I was SURE I had run across a bag of light brown sugar when I was doing a frantic search in the basement for baking utensils that I rarely use. They ended up in boxes. All unlabelled, of course.

I looked. And looked again. And then I looked one last time … before the cleaned up title of this post was uttered.

I wanted to make butterscotch pudding. Even though dark brown sugar was called for in my recipe, I’ve used light brown sugar, in the past. Since I didn’t think there was enough left in my tub for even a half batch, I didn’t bother trying to measure it out.

Luckily I DID have alternatives.

Like a bag of turbinado sugar and a cone of jaggery sugar. Both are ‘raw’ sugars and between the colour and deeper flavour, a nice change of pace from ordinary granulated sugar. I was too lazy to dig out my grater and start grating the jaggery sugar so I just scooped up some of the coarse granules of the turbinado into my measuring cup.

And, because I’m frugal, I poured some hot milk into the bottle of vanilla bean extract I’d set aside before cleaning it out. Because there were so many lovely vanilla seeds in there that hadn’t poured out when I emptied out the last dregs of my home made vanilla extract. (NOTE: I’m making another batch before I use up the last of what I’ve got now.)

Flour and Blueberries (Muffins and Pancakes)

I finally replenished my stock of all purpose flour but, for reasons I won’t go into, ended up buying two 10 kg bags about a week apart, instead of my usual 20 kg bag.

In any case, it all ended up in five pound bags in the freezer, except for what was used to fill my tin flour canister.

Among the many things I made with the flour were blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes. Fresh blueberries sometimes go on sale, and, if I can, I buy a couple of clamshells full and bag and freeze them since no preparation is needed and they can be used straight from frozen.

The muffins were from a basic recipe which can be adapted with whatever additions are desired. You may find the combination of brown and white sugar a bit less sweet than a regular muffin recipe. In that case, use all white sugar.

Carole L’s Basic Buttermilk Muffins – makes a dozen large muffins

2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a large muffin tin with paper liners or coat with nonstick cooking spray (or both).

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugars, salt, and baking powder.

In a liquid measuring cup beat together the buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir JUST until combined, do not over mix. Divide evenly among the muffin tin cups.

Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 deg Fahrenheit (don’t forget this!!). Continue baking until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about another 12 minutes.

Mix Ins:
Add 1 cup chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, candy, etc.

For Fruit Muffins:
1 1/2 cups fruit (such as berries, apples, etc.), finely chopped and well drained
If using fruit, add in with the dry ingredients to make sure the fruit stays evenly distributed and doesn’t sink to the bottom.

Banana Muffins:
3/4 cup mashed overripe banana (from about 2 small bananas) Add in with the wet ingredients.

The pancakes themselves, from a King Arthur Flour recipe that used an equal combination of all purpose flour and barley flour (home ground from some pot barley in my pantry) were a great success, taste wise, even if the blueberry version was a disappointment.

All purpose and barley flour pancakes

The second side, with the blueberries sticking out, didn’t make contact with the frying pan, and the surface didn’t really brown properly but looked almost wet and gummy when done. When cooled, I didn’t even bother eating one (of the three I made) but bagged and froze it until I have a pancake craving and buy some more maple syrup.