This is an impressive celebratory meal, with toppings varying depending on the region and the family’s traditions. It can be prepared in advance and makes a perfect party dish.
Soak the dried shiitake in a bowl of hot water for 1½ hours, or in room temperature water overnight. Drain (reserve the soaking water as it makes a nice broth). Remove the stalks and thinly slice the caps.
Place the sliced shiitake in a frying pan with the soy sauce and sugar and simmer for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrot and snow peas and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Add the cooled vegetable mixture and the sesame seeds to the sushi rice and combine well.
Place the rice on a large platter and cover with the shredded egg crepes. Arrange the sashimi on top and add the salmon caviar, if using. Serve with pickled ginger and small dishes of soy sauce for the sashimi.
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