Chirashizushi ingredient suggestions?
June 23, 2017 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm making chirashizushi tomorrow. Rice, fresh fish, tofu and mushrooms are no problem, but where I live [Ireland, and not Dublin] I don't have access to some of the other ingredients that typically crop up in recipes. Do good substitutes — that are likely to be available in, say, a good Western European greengrocer's — exist for lotus root and kampyo? Alternatively, what are some good Euro-ubiquitous ingredients for chirashizushi?
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Water chestnuts or jicama for the lotus root. Maybe celeriac.

Kampyo is more difficult, maybe Kinshi Tamago with a little sugar added and dipped in soy and sweet sake.
posted by Candleman at 7:12 AM on June 23, 2017

Kinshi tomago is shredded thin omelette--it's relatively easy to make, and is a nice decorative topping.
posted by mishafletch at 7:21 AM on June 23, 2017

Came here to second water chestnuts or jicama for the lotus root. Canned water chestnuts may be all you can find, which would work fine. Failing that, you should be able to replicate the texture with radish (which may have more bite) or a type of crisp apple (which will be sweeter).

For the kampyo, and this is totally off the cuff -- how about reverse-dry fried mushrooms? Get some of the least flavorful, blandest mushrooms you've can find, slice them into thin strips, cook them in a hot pan with a little oil, no salt, no garlic, and no other flavorings. As the mushrooms cook, they'll release liquid. Continually pour most of that off into a jar (because it's delicioius and you should save it!), and you might end up with sort of a spongy, slightly toothsome texture that mimics the texture of kampyo. Toss that in soy sauce, sugar (rock sugar if you have it), and a light oil, and ????????
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:24 AM on June 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Kampyo is the hard one. But chirashi is very free form as I've encountered it, you can use anything that's fresh and tasty! Try whole basil or mint leaves, thinly sliced red radishes (the French kind that get dipped in butter), carrot matchsticks quick pickled in rice vinegar and sugar, blanched asparagus, the list could go on.

The thing about kampyo is that it's a kind of (imo) tasteless gourd that is then dried and then reconstituted in a simmering liquid, which is what gives it some taste. It's really more about the texture. If you can find dried pumpkin, maybe try simmering strips of that in a dashi stock with added soy and mirin? Or perhaps eggplant that you salt, squeeze out the liquid, bake very low and slow so it gets kind of chewy, and then simmer in the flavored dashi? Something with a spongy cell structure that has been desiccated somehow that you rehydrate with a liquid that tastes how you think kampyo should taste. Maybe a fresh squash would work well enough for your purposes.
posted by Mizu at 12:57 PM on June 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Makiko Itoh who writes the blogs Just Hungry and Just Bento is a Japanese woman living in France. She also suggests water chestnut for lotus root (in the comments on a parsley-lemon-salmon chirashizushi bento). This chiarashizushi is smoked salmon and English cucumber. She also uses blanched snow peas. Her pickled radishes--French, not daikon!--might work, as might her parsnip kinpara.
posted by carrioncomfort at 12:33 PM on June 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

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