Writer: Tamaki Kashiwagi
What comes up to your mind first when you hear “a typical Japanese food?” I suppose it is “Sushi” for many readers. In Lima where I live, Sushi is very popular too, especially ”Makizushi”, which is simply called “Maki” here. It is a type of Sushi, and the toppings are wrapped in cooked vinegared rice and Nori (a sheet of dried seaweed). It is surprising to know various Maki here in Peru, which we never find in Japan. For example, exotic toppings as fried shrimps or red meat are wrapped in Sushi. Also, there is “Fried Sushi” that the Maki itself is deep-fried with bread crump! Sushi is known as seafood and healthy diet, and we never ever use oil or meat, do we, my fellow Japanese? If I am asked if it is a Japanese food, the answer will be “absolutely Nooooot”! But if you ask me “Is it good?”, the answer has to be “Yes”!
No need to wrap and hip! Easy Salmon Abocado “Chirashizushi”
To make Makizushi, you need a special tool called “Makisu”, a woven mat made of bamboo, and technique to use it. Here, I would like to introduce a simpler type of Sushi. It’s “Chirashizushi” (“Chirashi” means spread. Sounds wild and easy, eh?). It is a bowl of Sushi rice topped with fish and vegetables. That’s it! We, the Japanese, often make it at home.
I recommend you to use salmon and avocado as toppings of Chirashizushi when you prepare it outside Japan because they are easily available at a regular supermarket in many countries. If it’s hard to find them in your neighborhood, you can get smoked salmon in a fancy store, I suppose. The combination of salmon and avocado is really good. In fact in Peru, Maki with salmon, avocado and cream cheese is very popular. It’s called “Philadelphia Roll” because of the popular brand name of cream cheese! Remember, we are not talking about Bagels but Sushi.
You can try cream cheese as your topping for Chirashizushi” as well with salmon and avocado as it creates beautiful presentation and colors and is recommended for a home party. Some Japanese may find it a bit too heavy and weird, but weird is good, isn’t it, readers?!
Salmon and Avocado Chirashizushi
Steamed rice 300g
Raw salmon or smoked salmon 100g
Roasted sesame seeds To taste
Wasabi To taste
Soy sauce To taste
Nori To taste