Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Vegan Bara Chirashi Bowl
I can’t say I was ever super into Japanese culture when I was growing up. Like, duh, I watched Sailor Moon like every other amazing teenage girl, but when some of my friends started learning kanji and memorizing their inchi, ni, san, and shi’s, I had other priorities (hi metal music and vans warped tours!) And, ugh, don’t even get me started on the first time I went to go eat sushi. I was basically white girl supreme over there like ‘omg is there anything with chicken in it?’
However, I grew up, moved to the coast, got a Japanese mother-in-law, and now I am all like ‘um hai yas hunny i’ll eat anything that Francis cooks for me domo arigato gozaimasu’
What’s that? YOU DON’T KNOW WHO FRANCIS IS?
Yeah, you’re basically done for the day. Watching this will be your life now.
Why am I talking about this? Because I love Francis BUT ALSO because I made some delicious almost Japanese food AND YOU SHOULD TOO!
Recently, Brian and I went on a hot date night to a local restaurant that just opened up called Raisu. Step aside hole in the wall sushi place that knows our order when we sit down, there is a new place in town! Although Raisu just opened up, it was a very bustling restaurant that has already sold out of their two main fancy-pantsy dishes before we got there. The 2 Bento boxes and Ocean Offering Sushi plates are their pièce de résistance, and I definitely want to hit those up on future occasions. However, I ultimately went with this delish dish:
VEGAN BARA CHIRASHI SUSHI
Delicately flavored vegetables and nutritious bean curd scattered on top of gently sweet sushi rice mix with root vegetables and Shiitake mushroom.
Now, have I mentioned that I am hhwwwhite? This bich didn’t know what bara chirashi was and I expected little mushroom nigiri pieces to hop out on my plate. PSYCH for you Natasha, it was actually nothing what you thought (but everything that you ever wanted in your most favourite vessels of food ever).
IT CAME OUT IN A MOTHER! FLIPPIN! BOOOWWWWLLLLL!
* air horn noises *
* screams and hollers from adoring crowds *
* bowl fans uniting around the world to honour food in bowls everywhere *
Now, I bet you are expecting a picture of this vegan bara chirashi bowl from Raisu. HAH, too bad, I ate it within 14 seconds of it being presented in front of me so there was no chance for that. However, after letting my food baby settle down, I did some more research into this delicious dish that I ate.
Kayoko from Umami Mart has a great article on Chirashi, which I have sampled from below:
“Chirashi is a classic dish of sashimi pieces over a bed of vinegar rice. It comes from the word 散らす (chi-ra-su) meaning “to scatter”, as in scattering fish bits all over the place. Kuni says that the origins of chirashi come from wanting to get rid of extra, unattractive pieces of fish, after using the nice parts for proper sashimi platters or for nigiri.
There are two versions of chirashi: the first being the fancy sashimi version you find at sushi restaurants or for take-away at grocery stores around Tokyo. The second is the bara-chirashi, which is a more humble variation using cooked, not raw, ingredients.
Yas, it’s exactly what you are thinking folks, bara-chirashi is a sushi bowl heaven paradise of assorted meats and veggies on a pillowy bed of sushi rice. It is, truly, what god expected when he said, ‘uh sure, give them rice and bowls and shit, I don’t care’
Raisu’s vegan option came with little bits of tofu, cauliflour florets, cucumbers, shiitake mushrooms on sushi rice and topped with salad greens, red onion, avocado pieces, and goji berries! Come on now people, let’s get in on this majesty!
Though some e-searching, I came across a few elements from different recipes that I wanted to incorporate with the Raisu bowl in order to recreate this at home. So, here we go!
Vegan Bara Chirashi Bowl (made by a truly hhhwwhite woman)
for two, or three if you eat like little birds.
Brine adapted from The Spice House
1/2 c. Soy Sauce
1/2 c. Rice Vinegar
1/4 c. Water
1 tbsp. Sugar
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 nub of ginger, finely julienned
1 tsp ground ancho chile (I used a crushed up dry chili because I did not have this)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Small cucumber, seeded
Cauliflower florets, chopped
Note: I used one long english cucumber and a half a head of florets, but I have a lot of extras for extra eatings!
Marinate adapted from The Kitchn
Shiitake mushrooms, chopped or sliced
Tofu, chopped or sliced (pressed is my preference, but you should do you)
1/4 c. Soy Sauce
1/4 c. Ponzu Sauce
1-2 gloves garlic, minced or grated
Seasoning adapted from Food & Wine
2 c. short grain Japanese Rice
1/2 c. Rice Vinegar
2 tbsp salt
Note: I only used about 3/4 of this mixture, but you can season to taste.
Toppings and Garnish
Salad Greens, roughly chopped or chiffonade
Pickled Ginger (from the brine)
PSA for the quantity of ingredients: if you haven’t noticed, this blog is like 99% (f)arts and crafts, with a tiny segment for food, all of which I pretend to call a ‘life style’ blog. Which means, yeah, I have no god damn idea what I am doing. What I am trying to say is: You do you! You want 1000 mushrooms on your shit, slay it girl. You don’t like any of the toppings, well I don’t know why you are still reading but whatever, you just eat that sushi rice and feel good about choices then.
WORK THEM STEPS GIRL
RICE: make that rice hunnay. In a strainer, wash your grains until the water runs clear. Let it hang out for about 15 minutes to dry out. I don’t really know what this is, but I trust Chef Masaharu Morimoto AKA Mr. Iron Chef, so I am going to do what he says.
PICKLE: Mix your pickling brine and add your cucumber and cauliflower florets to brine. Let chill for 30 minutes and/or until you are finished with the rest of the recipe.
MARINATE: Marinate your Shiitake mushrooms and Tofu in the marinating mixture. Set aside.
RICEx2: The amount of water needed changes from recipe to recipe, but I would follow your rice cookers suggestions. I usually add enough water that it just comes up to my first knuckle joint cause that’s what my mama taught me, but most recipes say 1/1 ratios or 1.5/1 ratio of water to rice. What this? You don’t have a rice cooker? Dear god, go get one! It will change your life for only like $15 dollars.
HEAT: Heat up your rice vinegar and sugar for your sushi rice until the sugar dissolves. You can do this on the stove or in the microwave, either works. Set aside.
CUT: rock the rest of the vegetables that need to be cut, including your avocado, scallions, salad greens, nori if you’re into that.
COOK: fry up that mushroom and tofu mix, cha!
RICEx3: Once your rice is finished, put that shit in a huge ass bowl and flatten it out. This does something, or helps it cool or whatever, who even knows (Masaharu Morimoto knows). Drizzle the vinegar mixture onto your rice and combine using a slicing motion. Your rice might look super watery and gross to start off with, but cover it with a towel and it will soak it all up in a few minutes, I promise! Again, season to taste, so if you don’t know if you want to use all of the mixture, use half and go from there.
ASSEMBLE: It’s eating time kweeeens. Throw all that shit together, take about 1500 Instagram pics until your food gets * a bit * too cold and then complain to your husband about your cold, but god dam delicious, food.
Oh man guys! The rice is sweet and sticky. The pickled vegetables have a great kick of ginger and snap from the pickling brine. The mushrooms and tofu are slightly citrus-y from the ponzu sauce. Then, from all of that sexy salty side, you get little burst of goji berry sweetness and avocado coolness. All of the flavours come together so well, it’s truly a miracle of food gods everywhere.
The only thing that I would change for next time is probably not using as many julienne ginger pieces in my actual bowl, cause that got ginger spicy real quick, but even Brian was 10/10 would eat again.
DO YOU LIKE IT?! DO YOU, MY READERS, LIKE IT?! Please tell me that you love it, and if you hated it please do not tell me you will hurt my tiny baby ego.
Also, I know I don’t have Francis, but I do have this guy (note: he did not help at all)
love you mean it! #yky