Tuna Chirashi with Snow Peas

I would’ve never thought pairing sumeshi (vinegared sushi rice) and curry powder could deliver such a great combination. The flavors in this unconventional chirashi are so delicately nuanced, I couldn’t help but feel it exemplifies a Japanese sensibility. I’m not always in the mood for curry-flavored foods because I expect it to be overwhelming, but this dish definitely proves me wrong. The vinegar plants a sour note while the curry gently rounds out the flavor with its savoriness. The blanched snow peas are crisp and sweet, making this a light but satisfying dish. Perfect for this warm spring weather, in fact.

Sometimes it’s hard to modernize traditional dishes successfully, but this is a good example of it. Even though this isn’t a typical chirashi, it manages to keep the essence and spirit of the original dish. I picked this recipe only because the ingredients were accessible, so I was surprised at how much I liked it. This dish would go well with miso soup and a simple nimono (stewed or braised dish). I hope you have a chance to make it!

Tuna Chirashi with Snow Peas | Tsuna Soboro to Kinusaya no Chirashizushi
Adapted from きょうの料理ビギナーズ(2010年3月号)
Makes 2 servings

15 snow peas
1 can solid tuna packed in oil, drained
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. shoyu
pinch of salt
pinch of finely ground pepper
14 oz. sushi rice (recipe below)

Blanch the snow peas by cooking in boiling water for 1 minute, drain, then shock them in a bowl of ice water. Drain well and pat dry with a paper towel. Trim ends and cut diagonally into 1/2″ pieces.

In a small pan, cook the tuna over medium heat. With the back of a wooden spoon, break up the pieces of tuna into small flakes. Add the curry powder, shoyu, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined and then turn the heat off and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the sushi rice (you can use the bowl you were using to mix and cool the vinegared rice) and the tuna. Mix until well incorporated, then add the snow peas and fold in.

Sushi Rice
14 oz. cooked short-grain rice
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 2/3 tsp. sugar
2/3 tsp. salt

Heat the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small pan over low heat and whisk until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Put the hot rice in a large bowl. Take the rice scoop and hold it over the bowl with the flat side parallel to the counter. Slowly pour the vinegar mixture onto the scoop and rotate around so the vinegar mixture pours evenly around the rice. Mix the rice quickly to combine, then fan the rice to cool. Don’t mix the rice too much at this point, otherwise the rice will become mushy. I mixed the rice a total of 2-3 times when fanning, just to make sure the rice was completely cool. When you mix, do it in a folding/cutting motion, being careful not to crush the rice. The rice is ready once it has completely cooled.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted April 21, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    must. make. soon!!! this looks delicious! – mary

  2. Katerina
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    This dish looks absolutely great and very easy!
    I would like to make it! May I ask you what type of curry do you use in the japanese cuisine? Also where I live (Greece), I can only find canned tuna in olive oil. Can I use this or it will alter the flavor? Maybe I should use fresh tuna?
    Thank you so much for your time!

  3. Posted April 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Katerina, you probably know that Japanese curry is very distinct from the curries you find in Indian or Thai cooking. Usually, you can find curry in block form (House and S&B are 2 popular brands), but I’ve also used curry flakes. As to what type of curry this is… every blend is different, but it’s distinct because it’s thickened with a roux. This recipe uses curry powder, which I bought in the spice section of an American grocery store. Canned tuna in olive oil is perfect—just remember to drain it before using.

  4. Katerina
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    I undertsand! I hope I can find Japanese curry!
    Thank you so much for your great recipes and help!

  5. Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    It looks so delicious! Im making this soon! The tips you gave are very helpful. I really love what you’ve got going here.

  6. Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Alisa! Would love to hear how it turns out.

  7. Posted August 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    yes, i too am curious about what brand of tuna you used … i have just started using ‘premium’ tuna that i get from an italian store and it’s quite different from what i am used to (grocery canned tuna)

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