Chirashi Sushi (Scattered Sushi Bowl)

I snuck away on a brief tryst to Montreal last week.  

No, not that kind!  A play date with my sister.  Just a 24 hour thing, but a great break from the ordinary and well worth the trip.  Being in Montreal, quite naturally, there was food involved.

We went out for dim sum at one of these massive cafeteria style Cantonese joints that happened to serve up some of the freshest seafood and vegetable dishes I’ve had in a long time (there were plenty of other goodies on hand but we kept away from the thigh enhancing deep fried gems).  It was lip-smacking good and no matter how much food you order, the bill never seems to exceed $12 per person (not sure how that works).
But I do love that style of eating – lots of fresh vegetables and assorted proteins with a mix of yummy dips and sauces to choose from.  It reminds me of one of my favourite Japanese preparations, chirashi sushi. 
Chirashi simply means ‘scattered’ – a scattered bowl of assorted fresh ingredients that typically comprise sushi.  Chirashi’s most common preparation includes a bowl of rice with fresh fish or seafood and an assortment of vegetables.  The garnishes can be quite elaborate, colourful and decorative. But there are no fixed rules when it comes to sushi bowls.  You can toss in whatever ingredients you like (substituting tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian version) and the great news is, you don’t have to wrap or roll anything!  You get all the taste and health benefits without the fuss. 
This is such a simple meal to throw together and, depending on how you mix it up, you can enjoy it as a light lunch or heartier dinner.
As for topping, I most often enjoy my sushi bowls with a fresh squeeze of lemon or a splash of soy sauce but you can play around with different dips, dressing and sauces as you like.  The classic pickled ginger and wasabi are nice flavour mix-ins here as well.
 Chirashi Sushi ~ Scattered Sushi Bowl
  • 1 cup or so, coleslaw
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame (I simply run frozen edamame under hot water)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 6-8 large shrimp, sautéed
  • For Garnish: sesame seeds; chopped toasted nori or dulse (seaweed); chopped green onion
Serves 2
Place coleslaw in a medium size salad bowl.  The coleslaw should come at least halfway up the height of the bowl.
Simply add in the rice, carrot, edamame and avocado section by section over the coleslaw.
Meanwhile, sautée shrimp in a skillet with some olive oil over medium heat and, once cooked, place shrimp in centre of bowl.  Sprinkle sushi with lemon, lime, soy sauce, or other flavourings as desired.

Garnish sushi bowl with sesame seeds, green onion and chopped nori or dulse. 

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  1. says

    Kelly, your chirashi sushi not only looks fabulous, but has some of my favourite and staple food products: shrimps (I have them at least once a week), avocado (this one probably every other day), carrot (I have read somewhere that one can get addicted to carrots and I’m wondering if I am…), edamame, seaweed and of course properly cooked rice ;-) In short, you have made my dream bowl.
    By the way, how does the rice cooker behave?
    I have always loved the idea of chirashi sushi and the funny thing is that when I discovered it I realised I had been making for many years something very similar without knowing how close it was to chirashi sushi… (I will post it soon.)

  2. inspirededibles says

    haha, thanks so much Sissi! I think I went through a carrot addiction phase too. When I was young, I would prepare chopped raw carrot covered in vinegar (love my vinegar!) and it bowl after bowl. I had no idea that this bowl mixture had a former name either – it was a discovery to me that I had been making my own version of ‘chirashi’ for years. It’s really just a healthy salad.

    I particularly like the way the rice cooker renders the rice perfect tasting every time. Making rice on the stove top is not a time consuming things but I have to say that the cooker (at least in my opinion) does a better job at determining doneness than my manual method. I have often found my brown rice on the stove top a little on the starchy/cardboard side; not so in the rice cooker.

    Have a great day Sissi and thank you for your fun feedback!

  3. Kristy says

    Fabulous pictures Kelly! I love the chopsticks over the bowl. :) I’m pinning this one for sure. I’ve never seen scattered sushi. What a great idea! I bet this would be a good way to get the kids to eat it too. They love so many of the sushi ingredients, but are always a little hesitant when it comes in the rolls. I think mostly because they can’t tell what’s in it. This would be perfect! And I totally wish I could jet off to Montreal for a day. You’re right, the food there is fantastic! :)

  4. Koko says

    This looks great! I’ve made a bowl like this before, and I love how you can switch up through use of white or brown rice, shrimp or fish, or veg….awesome!

  5. says

    That is one refreshing bowl! What a great idea adn MUCH less work than rolling sushi rolls, which I have never done because it seems way too complicated.
    The avocado looks so fresh and delicious too. Yum
    Glad you had a nice get away with your sister. Very fun indeed!!

  6. says

    What an incredibly satisfying lunch or dinner, Kelly. I imagine the variety of flavours and textures are what makes this so satisfying, not to mention how gorgeous the colours are within the plate.
    I envy your trip to Montréal, I just love shopping there! Particularly Simons, such cool clothes and reasonably priced!

  7. Pure Complex says

    This is really a good way to begin eating sushi in my opinion. I love this dish Kelly. Now I’m hungry lol

  8. Mandy says

    An impromptu trip is always the best. Glad you were able to see your sister and them come home and share this lovely recipe.
    :-) Mandy

  9. says

    Aw, so glad you and your sister got some quality time together :) I always get chirashi when I go out for sushi! I’ve never thought I could make it at home, but this is a great idea. Sounds so yummy. I’m totally craving it now!!!

  10. says

    Glad you had a nice time with your sister… I am sure it must have been fun n relaxing….
    This Chirasi Sushi looks fabulous… like a bouquet of freshness and beauty!!!
    I have to try it at home some time..

  11. says

    Sounds like you and your sister had a wonderful time. Nothing better than really high quality sushi and dim sum and great company!!! Love your sushi bowl! Lots of fresh goodness!

  12. Lisa says

    Another great recipe! I just love the simplicity of this meal! Ahhh, if only I could hire you to cook for me! It’s been a crazy month and I haven’t had the energy to be creative in the kitchen! Luckily I follow you to get some inspiration!

  13. Eliotseats says

    What a lovely, simple, delicious dish! Glad you had a great time with your sister. Good times and good eating!

  14. beyondthepeel says

    yum…dim sum. It has been so long since I have enjoyed dim sum. Sign..This bowl might just hit the spot and curb the craving. It looks beautiful. PS I hope you had a nice visit with your sister.

  15. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says

    This is a great idea, Kelly! I tried to make sushi once and I just don’t have the patience for it. This would be a great way to still enjoy all of the ingredients!

  16. says

    “Being in Montreal, quite naturally, there was food involved.”


    Ah, no :D I so desperately want to try that stuff.

    I love chirashi – I used to always order this in Japanese restaurants until I got dreadfully bored of it because they don’t seem to make it well at all. It’s bad enough when they can’t roll the maki properly but when they just use the chirashi as an excuse to sling “unusable” fish into a bowl that gets too much. A lump of rice and some mis-shapen pieces of salmon dumped on top does not a good meal make. It’s obviously easier to make at home, and better, so I shall have this as a dinner next week.

    I notice you don’t, but I’ll probably use sushi rice just because it’s easier to pick up with chopsticks I find – does one still use the rice vinegar stuff when cooking sushi rice specifically for chirashi do you know? I’ll have to investigate!

  17. says

    Wait, what now? Quebec’s not a city? No, silly Charles – of course it’s not. It’s a province. Duh, I blame the fact that it’s 2.30am and I’m tired… that’s a far more reasonable excuse than the fact that my geography is absolutely terrible! :D

  18. inspirededibles says

    haha, there is a Qc city but in this case, I mean the province of Qc – generally, when Canadians reference “Quebec” they are talking about the province and almost always specify “Quebec City” otherwise… it is confusing to an outsider for sure ;=)

  19. inspirededibles says

    I was totally thinking of you and your love of sushi when I was putting this one together Kristy…thank you for the pin love too!

  20. inspirededibles says

    Lately, I’ve been enjoying a simple squeeze of lime or lemon on salads – including this one – and just loving it! Thanks for dropping in Michelle ~

  21. inspirededibles says

    Thanks KoKo ~ I agree, it’s completely versatile and adaptive to your particular tastes and mood… enjoy!

  22. inspirededibles says

    Hello Amy! So nice to see you here :) I’m with you – I like to simplify rather than complicate – I think moms generally can relate to that idea :) I hope you and your beautiful family are well!

  23. inspirededibles says

    We kept away from the shopping this time – heehee – mostly because we were very limited time wise and had to focus on our priorities: FOOD ;-)

  24. inspirededibles says

    Thank you so much Emily and welcome to Inspired Edibles! I love seeing and greeting new visitors :)

  25. inspirededibles says

    Thanks Kay – it’s a gentle transition into new territory perhaps ;-) I hope you’re having a great weekend!

  26. inspirededibles says

    Hi Amy! How interesting – I must be going to different sushi joints because I don’t think I’ve come across chirashi – lots of lovely and delicious rolled sushi but seemingly not in a bowl.

  27. inspirededibles says

    You know I’m all about simplicity Lisa… thanks so much for your nice compliments; sometimes, I wish I had someone cooking for me too! :)

  28. inspirededibles says

    Thanks France – we had a great visit and it’s very hard to go wrong with food in Montreal… cheers!

  29. inspirededibles says

    I often run out of patience for the tedious in the kitchen too (there’s just so many other things to do with our time…) Glad you like this one :)

  30. inspirededibles says

    It’s a nice way to get your feet wet – and if seaweed is not your thing, you can omit it at first and slowly add-in as you like. Cheers Chris!

  31. says

    Love the simplicity. I randomly have edamame and nori on hand so this may definitely be the impetus I need to guy buy some shirmp! Plus I love the avocado

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