Taste of Japan: Sushi vs Sashimi vs Chirashi

Here are all the recipes from our latest cooking class with Paul Young featuring sushi, sashimi, and chirashi! Be the chef of your own sushi bar where you'll prepare a feast with "today's catch" using a variety of traditional ingredients. This feast will also include classic side dishes commonly served at sushi bars. The menu includes:


  • Omakase Sushi Feast (with Tamago)
  • Makizushi (sushi rolls)
  • Tsukemono (Sunomono and other pickled things)
  • Chawanmushi (steamed custard)
  • Sushi Rice
Omakase Sushi Feast (Chef's Choice)
Soy sauce
1 cup, plus more for serving
1/4 cup
Sushi rice
3 cups
Sushi grade raw seafood (salmon, salmon roe, cry-frozen tuna steak, etc.)
Cooked seafood (octopus, shrimp, etc.)
Vegetables (cucumbers, avocados, matchbook carrots, etc.)
Tamago (Japanese rolled omelet)
Nori (toasted seaweed sheets)
Garnish (pickled ginger, wasabi, shiso or mint leaves, seaweed salad, shredded daikon, sesame seeds, chopped chives, etc.)
Warm water (in a medium-sized bowl for wetting your hands)
Soy sauce
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon
Agave nectar
1 tablespoon
Spray Coconut oil
Makizushi California Roll
Bamboo rolling mat wrapped with clear plastic wrap
1 nori sheet (toasted seaweed sheet), about 8" wide x 7" long (but may be cut to shorter length for smaller rolls)
Cooked sushi rice
1 cup (approx.)
Persian cucumber, julienned
Crab stick
Ripe avocado
2-3 wedges
Toasted sesame seeds (black preferred)
For garnish
Soy sauce, pickled ginger, wasabi
For serving
Tsukemono Brine
Rice vinegar
1/2 cup
2 tablespoons
Soy sauce
1 teaspoon
Dashi powder
1/2 tablespoon
Agave nectar
1/4 cup
To taste
Tsukemono Sunomono
Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
Toppings: carrot sticks, crabstick (slivered), cooked octopus (sliced), salmon roe (optional)
Toasted sesame seeds
For garnish
Dried red chile pepper, thinly sliced
For garnish
Other pickled things: substitute cucumbers with daikon, radish, napa cabbage, etc.
Chawanmushi (Steamed Custard)
3 cups
Bonito soup stock powder
3 teaspoons
Soy sauce
1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
Ginger paste
4 teaspoons
To t aste
Raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
Fresh spinach
4 ounces
Boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1/2" squares
Fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
Eggs, beaten
Sushi Rice
Uncooked sushi rice (Japanese glutinous short-grained white rice)
2 cups
3 cups
Rice vinegar
1 tablespoon
Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon
Agave nectar
1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon
Bonito soup stock powder ("dashi powder")
2 teaspoons
Toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons
Omakase Sushi Feast

Serves 1 or more



  • Rectangular serving plates allow the best aesthetic presentation of sushi.
  • When arranging the elements on the platter, place contrasting colors next to each other.
  • Look for opportunities to group or cluster your elements.
  • Try working with angles but align your elements as if they are laying on a grid.
  • Do not crowd the platter; less is more; interesting "margin" space will work in your favor.
  • Always garnish your platter with pickled ginger and wasabi; make use of veggies whenever possible (shiso or mint leaves, seaweed salad, shredded daikon, etc).
  • Always serve sushi with soy sauce in a separate dipping dish.


  1. Make the nikiri shoyu (sushi basting sauce): in a saucepan, combine 1 cup of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of mirin; bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the volume to about half.
  2. Making maguro nigiri (raw tuna): start by wetting your hands in warm water.
  3. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of cooked sushi rice to the palm of your dominant hand and squeeze to form a ball, re-shape the ball into a log; set aside.
  4. Place a slice of tuna in the palm of your other hand, and add a small amount of wasabi (if desired).
  5. Place rice ball on top of tuna; squeeze and re-shape the rice log to conform to the shape of the fish (use your dominant hand's fingers to help).
  6. Turn the finished nigiri over and place it on a serving plate.
  7. Lightly brush the top of the tuna with basting sauce (optional).
  8. Garnish with chopped chives (optional).
  9. Replace tuna with salmon, salmon roe, cooked shrimp, etc (see video).
  10. Optional: when making tako (cooked octopus) or tamago (omelet), wrap each nigiri with a thin strip of nori.
  11. Optional: add overlapping fish slices without rice ("sashimi").
  12. Optional: in a separate bowl, add rice; then make an arrangement of toppings and serve as "chirashi".



Serves 1 roll or about 8 slices

  1. In a mixing bowl, whip the eggs.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the spray oil.
  3. Heat a nonstick skillet, spray with coconut oil; add a thin layer of egg mixture, and cook until the egg has just barely set but is still wet on top.
  4. Using a spatula, gently roll the cooked eggs from one end of the pan to the other until you have a log (see video).
  5. Add oil as needed, pour more egg mixture into the pan, let set, then continue rolling to increase the log size; repeat until the egg mixture is used up.
  6. Remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.
  7. Slice as needed for nigiri sushi.


Makizushi California Roll

Makes 1 maki roll

  1. Prepare a large finger bowl with warm water.
  2. Place the nori sheet on a wrapped bamboo mat (shiny side down).
  3. Wet your hands, then grab a handful of cooked rice and form a pool-ball-sized ball.
  4. Place the rice ball on the nori sheet, then spread it out to form a log.
  5. Split the rice log in half and spread evenly over the nori sheet with your thumbs (press down hard enough to make sure the rice layer will stick together and not fall apart).
  6. Optional (to make an "inside-out" roll): sprinkle sesame seeds on top of rice, then flip the nori sheet over.
  7. Position nori about 1 inch from the bottom of the mat.
  8. Add veggies first, then other ingredients (position stuffing about 1 inch from the bottom of the nori sheet).
  9. Start rolling the bamboo mat from bottom to top (away from you); as the ingredients get covered with the first roll, pause and squeeze the roll.
  10. Continue rolling the mat until you have a log (squeeze again with each rotation to mold the roll into a round log).
  11. Clean up the edges by tucking in the ingredients with the help of your mat.
  12. Wet your knife and cut the roll in half; wet your knife again, then cut the half rolls into quarters; repeat to make 8 pieces total.
  13. Using your mat, squeeze the cut log again to "tighten" your roll.
  14. Transfer to serving place; add pickled ginger and wasabi; serve with a small dish of soy sauce.
  • See video
  • Note: Makizushi rolls can contain almost anything, but the tradition is to use mostly seafood and veggies. Besides toasted sesame seeds, fish eggs are often used for garnish on the outside. Although the ends can be tucked in, you also have the option of having some ingredients stick out of the end pieces.


Tsukemono (Sunomono and Other Pickled Things)

Makes 3-4 servings

  1. Wash and peel the veggies (if needed), slice or cut into bite-sized pieces; coat with salt and let rest for at least 10 minutes or until they sweat.
  2. Once the veggies have been tenderized, lightly squeeze out the salt water, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Make the brine: mix all brine ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Combine veggies and brine in a resealable freezer bag; let rest in refrigerator at least 30 minutes (tip: some veggies like carrots and cabbage may need to be brined for several hours or overnight).
  5. Add toppings and garnish (if desired) and serve.


Chawanmushi (Steamed Custard)

Serves 4

  1. Make the broth: heat water in a saucepan, stir in bonito soup stock powder, and turn off the heat when the powder is dissolved.
  2. Add soy sauce, mirin, and ginger paste; set aside to cool.
  3. Cook shrimp in cold water until they change color, drain and refresh in cold water; set aside.
  4. Parboil the spinach in lightly salted water, drain and refresh in cold water for 1 minute; drain again and wring out any excess water.
  5. Cut the spinach into 1-inch length, divide into 4 portions; set aside.
  6. Quarter the mushroom caps.
  7. Preheat a steamer over high heat.
  8. Add beaten eggs to cooled broth, stir lightly; strain the mixture through cheesecloth.
  9. Pour strained broth into 4 custard cups.
  10. Add equal amounts of chicken, shrimp, mushroom, and spinach to each custard cup.
  11. Using chopsticks, move ingredients around in each cup to make a nice arrangement.
  12. Cover cups with lids (or foil).
  13. Place the covered cups in the preheated steamer, and steam over high heat for 3-5 minutes (until the custard surface turns white).
  14. Reduce heat and steam for another 15 minutes.
  15. Test the custard by inserting a toothpick well into the center of one cup (the custard is done when the liquid flowing from the puncture runs clear).
  16. Serve hot or chilled in a cup.


Sushi Rice

Makes about 3 cups

  1. Rinse the rice in a strainer or colander under cold running water until the water runs clear; set aside.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to a rice cooker, and stir.
  3. Add rice, and stir.
  4. Turn on the rice cooker to "cook"; when rice is boiling (about 5 minutes), open the lid and stir ingredients vigorously (to help prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom); close the lid and let the rice finish cooking.
  5. When all the water has been absorbed, turn off the rice cooker (do not let the rice cooker keep the rice warm); remove the lid and cover it with a damp cloth; set aside to cool to room temperature before using.
  6. Test the stickiness of the rice; wet your hands, scoop up a ball of rice, and squeeze; if the rice does not hold its shape, sprinkle some water on the rice and gently mix. Repeat test.


Note: Leftover rice can be stored in the refrigerator overnight covered with a damp cloth; allow the rice to return to room temperature before using.