Chrysanthemum Sushi


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    25 pieces

Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

Chrysanthemums are a favorite autumn motif in Japanese culinary aesthetics and these bite-size vegetarian sushi are shaped to resemble the fall flower. They make a stunning first course when served on red lacquered plates—or combine them with Camellia sushi on a dark, unpatterned tray or platter.


  • 2–3 tablespoons drained, finely minced amazu shōga (pink pickled ginger)
  • 3 cups shari (rice seasoned for sushi)
  • 1–2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • large circles usutamago yaki (thin omelet)
  • 25 leaves fresh shiso (flat-leafed Japanese herb), OR 25 fresh snow peas, for garnish
  • 3–4 tablespoons drained, finely minced beni shōga (red pickled ginger)
  • soy sauce, for dipping


Toss the pink pickled ginger into the seasoned rice and mix gently, but thoroughly.

In a clean, dry skillet, roast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds until they begin to color slightly or a few pop. Shake the pan to keep the seeds in motion. Sprinkle the roasted seeds over the rice and gently fold them in.

With damp hands, divide the rice into twenty-five portions. Using hands moistened in cold water or a cloth dampened with water and then well wrung out, mold each portion into a sphere. Flatten slightly.

Cut the thin omelets into very fine julienne strips, about inches long and 1/16 inch wide. Divide these into twenty-five portions and arrange the strips of a single portion over each flattened sphere of rice to look like petals of a chrysanthemum. The sushi can be made up to this point and covered snugly with clear plastic wrap 2–3 hours before serving. Keep away from extremes of heat or cold.

Shiso leaves tend to wilt after about an hour of sitting out on a tray, so just before serving, rinse the leaves and shake free of excess water. Trim away the bottom stem of each shiso leaf. Lay the leaves about 2 inches apart on your serving tray or platter. Place one “flower” on the trimmed edge of each leaf. Press the center of each flower with the thicker end of a chopstick, making a slight indentation. Fill this hollow with a few pieces of red pickled ginger. Serve with soy sauce, for dipping.