Japanese people are likely to value traditional and seasonal events. An important Japanese festival, Hina-matsuri is upcoming.
Hina-matsuri is a festival to celebrate girls and wish them good health. It is a historic and traditional event where people display dolls called “Hina-Ningyo” for protection from misfortunes and eat specific dishes such as Chirashi-zushi.
Today we are going to introduce the representative menu for Hina-matsuri, Chirashi-zushi and Osuimono (shellfish clear soup).
How to Make Chirashi-Zushi
Chirashi-zushi (meaning "scattered sushi") is a type of sushi which is made with vinegared rice and other ingredients on the top, such as seafood, thinly sliced omelette (Kinshi-tamago), dried seaweed and condiments, and which is served in a wooden rice container called “Handai”. It looks fancy and luxurious, and enriches your table. It is good for celebrations and easy to make. Let’s cook it at home!
Ingredients (4-5 servings)
- 450g of rice
- 600～650mL of water
- 4 Tbsp of rice vinegar
- 1.5 tsp op salt
- 4 Tbsp of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 Shiitake mushroom
- Half of white-fish
- 1 fillet of salmon
- 2 Shiso leaves
- Half sheet of dried seaweed
- Crab fishcake (appropriate amount)
- Tobiko (soy sauce-marinated flying fish roe) (appropriate amount)
Typical ingredients are thinly sliced omelette (Kinshi-tamago), dried seaweed and salmon, but it's up to you what you put in. Generally, fish, shrimps, salmon roe, lotus root and snow peas are used. The ingredients are usually cut into pieces and put on the top.
1. Make thinly sliced omelette (Kinshi-tamago)
Make a thin omelette and cut it into strips. Using a Tamagoyaki omelette pan would be better. Be careful to cook both sides slowly over low heat and not to make the surface get burnt. Otherwise, it won’t look beautiful in the end. As it is thin and likely to tear, it’s good to add a little starch to the beaten egg.
Next, boil the Shiitake mushroom with soy sauce, sake, sweet cooking sake (Mirin) and sugar. Cut the other ingredients including fish into bite-sized pieces.
2. Make vinegared rice
First mix vinegar, salt and sugar to make “sushi vinegar” and leave it for a while. Once they are well mixed, it’s done! As it takes some time, you should prepare it a half day before making Chirashi-zushi.
When cooking rice, adding a tbsp of Japanese sake and a piece of dried kelp would make the rice taste more authentic.
Once the rice is cooked, move it into a Handai. Add sushi vinegar and mix. Be careful not to knead the rice but to mix it in cutting motions with a rice spatula.
3. Put the ingredients on the top
Once the vinegared rice gets cool, put the ingredients on the top, and it’s ready to eat!
How to Cook Osuimono
Osuimono is another typical meal for Hina-matsuri.
Although hard clams are used in general, any shellfish would be ok as long as they are fresh and big. This time we used clams.
Cooking Steps (2-3 servings)
1. Cleaning sand out of the clams
We use 5 clams this time.
As live shellfish can contain sand, you need to clean sand out of them. Put them in 3% salt solution and leave them in a dark location for about 3 hours. Inside of a fridge would be good. Keep them away unwanted stimulus such as noises and vibes in the meantime.
2. Boil the clams
After cleaning sand and wash the clams in running water, put them with 500 mL of water in a pot and turn the heat on. Boil them over low to middle heat, and once they are open, add a tbsp of sake to boil further. Then turn off the heat and season the soup with salt.
It would taste different if you add dried kelp to the water before boiling.
That's all for how to cook Chirashi-zushi and Osuimono, representative dishes for Hina-matsuri. Chirashi-zushi is colorful and looks luxurious, and that's why it is good for celebrations. As some ingredients might be hard to get in your local area, you can replace them with whatever you like. Why don’t you enjoy a Japanese traditional event with traditional cuisine?