Summer has set in for reals here in the Midwest. I’m talking about waking up to 75 degrees with 81% humidity and thunderstorms that roll through with the energy of an angry two-year old. And while we might vehemently complain about the mosquitos, on the bright side, the garden is flourishing and the fireflies are magical.
But more often than not, this time of year we’re in the mood for meals that are light, fun, and easy to throw together. We’re also big fans of dinner in a bowl, and this salmon chirashi bowl is all that and more.
This isn’t technically a real chirashi bowl, which traditionally includes sushi rice topped with sashimi and a scattering of other raw ingredients. This recipe started from one published in the Sunset Magazine not long ago. My son had tried it and was disappointed in it and thought I might play with the flavors a bit.
So after a little research, I put together a fairly traditional marinade for the salmon, and after messing with it a few times, landed on this version which not only gave tons of flavor to the dish, but provided a much-needed sauce for the rice. We loved it, and taster-son concurred. This is good stuff.
Even if July is mild or even cool where you are (hello S.F.!), salmon chirashi is a tasty dinner in a bowl for a lazy summer evening. Here's the recipe...
Salmon Chirashi Rice Bowl
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
1 pound salmon, pin bones removed, skinned and cut into 8 smallish pieces
1 ½ cups uncooked white or brown rice
1 cup chopped English cucumber
1 avocado, diced
several radishes, thinly sliced
1 sheet nori, torn into pieces (optional)
2 green onions, sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
For the marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoons wasabi powder
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup catsup
1 tablespoon Chinese chili paste (or to taste)
Mix together the marinade ingredients. Place the marinade in a Ziploc bag with the salmon, seal tightly and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Cook the rice, and while that is cooking, remove the salmon from the marinade and place on a foil-covered baking sheet that’s been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Save the marinade.
Roast the salmon for 8 minutes.
Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil and then remove the heat and reserve.
To serve, place some rice in each bowl and top with a couple pieces of the salmon. Scatter the cucumber, avocado, nori, green onions and sesame seeds over the top.
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Since I published this recipe in 2011, I found a shortcut to the marinade that works great for a quick week-night throw-together. I just combine the Soy Vay brand of Garlic Hoisin sauce with soy sauce at a ratio of about 3 to 1 and it makes a great marinade for the salmon. If you would like to add some kick to it, you can add sriracha or chili paste.