Scattered Crab Sushi

Kani Chirashi-zushi

This is a spectacular dish, both colorful and delicious. Tartly seasoned rice is tossed with pink pickled ginger, crabmeat, freshly roasted sesame and laver, and heaped upon a large platter. Then bright yellow ribbons of omelet, pure white slices of Sweet and Sour Lotus Root, braised black mushrooms, tart red fancy crabmeat and crisp green snow peas are scattered on top. Most of these things can be prepared hours or even days in advance and assembled at the last minute, making this perfect party fare.

Ingredients

  • cups raw rice
  • Scant 3 cups water
  • cup sushi su (seasoned vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons amazu shōga (pink pickled ginger)
  • 10 ounces canned, frozen or fresh cooked crabmeat
  • 3–4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 sheet Asakusa nori (dark dried laver)
  • 3–4 eggs, prepared 1 at a time according to recipe for Thin Sweet Omelet
  • 20–25 slices Sweet and Sour Lotus Root, made according to recipe
  • 7–8 braised shiitake (black Oriental mushrooms), prepared according to recipe
  • ¼ cup béni shōga (red pickled ginger)
  • 8–10 snow peas

Method

Wash the raw rice until the water runs clear, then cook it according to the master recipe using a scant 3 cups of water. Transfer the rice while still warm to a wooden bowl. The Japanese use a handai (illustration and details), or a large, unvarnished wooden salad bowl. Pour the seasoned vinegar, a little at a time, over the rice. Toss gently with a wooden paddle while fanning with a fan or stiff piece of cardboard. This helps cool the rice to room temperature while avoiding condensation from the steam.

Finely mince the pink pickled ginger and toss it into the rice. Pick over the crabmeat to remove all cartilage; pour a little lemon juice over it and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Squeeze out the crabmeat and set aside any fancy red leg meat (or at least one-third of the lump meat) for scattering on top. Gently toss the remaining two-thirds of the crabmeat into the rice. Dry roast the sesame seeds ( for details) and toss them into the rice, too. Dry roast the sheet of laver (same page), then fold and crumble it in a clean, dry cloth. Sprinkle the laver flakes over the rice and gently toss with a wooden spoon. Now mound the rice on a large serving platter.

Cut the thin sweet omelet into long, thin ribbons and scatter them over the mound of seasoned rice. Drain the slices of lotus root of excess sweet and sour sauce and scatter them over the egg ribbons. Slice the cooked black mushrooms into julienne strips and scatter them over the garnished rice. Then scatter the reserved crab meat over the rice. If the red pickled ginger you purchased is in slices or knobs, cut it into julienne strips and scatter these over the rice, too. Just before serving, blanch the snow peas for 1 minute in salted water, then refresh them in cold water. Pat the snow peas dry and slice them diagonally into julienne strips. Scatter these over the rice.

Serve at room temperature. Leftovers may be loosely covered and kept in a cool spot for one day. Do not refrigerate the sushi.

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